Manarola, the hamlet of Riomaggiore, is the second village of the Cinque Terre that you encounter. It can be easily acknowledged because of its setting, with dozens of lovely small houses clinging to the cliff that descends to the sea. The Love’s Trail (Path of Love) famous throughout the Cinque Terre, connects Manarola with Cinque Terre’s Riomaggiore which is another favorite tourist attraction. Today the colorful buildings explain the landscape of the fishermen’s town. The setting of this village to be sure quite unique. Founded during the 12th century, the village likely derives its name from an article of virtu “Magna roea”, a large mill wheel present in the village. Tourists can track the hiking on the hills and vineyards. After that, they can spend a very cozy evening enjoying wines and Italian cuisine. Manarola, in spite of the conspicuous ravines and wild, rugged coastlines is a wanderer’s delight.
Raised at the mouth of the Volastra Creek, Manarola appears to be the oldest of the Cinque Terre villages. Although as likely as not founded in Roman times, the present agreement dates back to the end of the 12th century, when the inhabitants of Volastra – ancient Vicus Olestre – came down from the hills in order to use the natural resources of the sea. Like the other four Cinque Terre villages – Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare – Manarola grew under the Republic of Genoa and experienced a development which was largely agricultural and ichthyic; Sciacchetrà – the delicious local wine – has been famous for its quality since the Roman age and, although now produced everywhere in the area, it has its origins in this village. Prime families in the history of Manarola were the lords of Carpena and the Fieschis, the latter family ruled over the village until 1276 when Genoa officially took possession of it. In order to protect Manarola against the recurrent Saracen attacks, the Genoese almost certainly reinforced the preexisting castle; however, after several incursions, the castle was destroyed, and sadly, very little remains of it. In recent times, the village has become a well-liked tourist destination, particularly during the summer months.
In spite of the fact that your head will tell you that it’s essential to spend some time exploring the eats and streets of Manarola (which you absolutely should!), at first sight of its majestic marina your heart may beg you to abandon all previous plans and simply spend the whole day sitting at the dock of the bay. As looking attractive in photographs as one may expect, this agile harbor area filled with colorful rowing boats becomes the main sunbathing and swimming spot of the village from morning until dusk. Encapsulating why rocks and stone jetties are actually much more enjoyable than getting sand in your crack, it’s the perfect place to spend a lazy day tanning, reading, sea swimming, people watching, or jumping off the rocks.