The Cinque Terre meaning “Five Lands” is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera that comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore which are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The second town along the coast from the east is the stunning Manarola. It is considered to be the oldest of the five towns and with the most vineyards surrounding the town. It is connected to Riomaggiore by the most famous part of the Cinque Terre walking track, Via dell’Amore which translates to “Love’s Trail”. The trail unfortunately has been closed for quite sometime due to landslides, as has the Manarola to Corniglia part of the trail.
Manarola also has many walking trails that surround the town and go through the local vineyards. These tracks are well worth the hike, with stunning views and a close up look at the local wine making production. During the hotter months farmers leave small bottles of water along the trails for the tourists to refresh. Manarola is famous for its sweet Sciacchetrà wine, be sure to stop in at one of Manarola’s many restaurants for a drop of their finest.
On the western side of the town high up on the headland is the local cemetery which is truly a beautiful and peaceful place, you can also connect to the vineyard walking trails from behind the cemetery. Keep in mind to be respectful and quiet while visiting.
Just down from the cemetery heading back east is the famous Nessun Dorma – an awesome little bar and cafe with the best view of Manarola. Enjoy a local wine or spritz as well as their home made pesto. It’s to die for.
Sunset in Manarola is truly spectacular, the warm setting sun lights up the entire town in a beautiful golden glow. It’s a peaceful and surreal time of day and a must to see and photograph.
Part III tomorrow – Corniglia – Vernazza and the Cinque Terre Walking track.