Monday, January 16, 2012

The Colorful Cliff-Side Town of Manarola

Manarola is a small fishing town in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, northern Italy, that spills down a ravine to the wild and rugged coastline at the Ligurian sea. Manarola is one of the five tiny towns in a section of the Italian Riviera known as Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre, which translates to "five lands," refers to five villages that are all connected by a walking path: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

Manarola is the oldest and the second smallest of the towns in the Cinque Terre, with the cornerstone of the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. On the west end, there is a little harbor and on the east side lies the San Lorenzo church and a square where the townsmen meet for various activities. And as most of Cinque Terre, there are vineyards everywhere.

The tiny harbor at Manarola features a boat ramp, picturesque buildings tripping down the ravine and the town's swimming hole. Although there is no real beach here, it has some of the best deep-water swimming around. A ladder up the rocks and a shower are provided for those who love a little adventuresome swimming.

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Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region. In recent years, Manarola and its neighboring towns have become popular tourist destinations, particularly in the summer months. Tourist attractions in the region include a famous walking trail between Manarola and Riomaggiore (called Via dell'Amore, "Love's Trail") and hiking trails in the hills and vineyards above the town.

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Sources: 1, 2

1 comment:

  1. The "Italian Riviera" got its name from the French Riviera next door. When I lived there as a teenager, we looked at run-down Italy next door the same way people in California (where I live now) look at Mexico next door! Thankfully, Italy invested $ in the late 80s and early 90s to make the area more attractive to tourists...

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