Manarola – Cinque Terre
Manarola is an urban jewel of medieval origin, rich in tower-houses of the typical Genoese style, made of stone and built directly on the rock face of the mountain.
Since its origin, the village has grown little by little thanks to new buildings and elevations of existing ones. These new constructions were spontaneously made by people in different historical periods, until the original and characteristic village that you may admire nowadays.
Founded during the twelfth century, the name of the village probably comes from an ancient “magna roea” a large mill wheel still present in the village. The first evidence of the village, dates back to the thirteenth century and it is related to the events of the Fieschi. Subsequently, due to various historical vicissitudes, Manarola lived both under the Genoa’s rule and under the dominion of the neighboring Tuscany.
In the sixteenth century Manarola made strong resistance to the incursions of the pirates who at the time infested the Ligurian Sea.
Still nowadays you may notice as an evidence of that period a lookout tower over the sea and another one in front of the Church, subsequently converted into a bell tower.
The main monument of the village is the church of San Lorenzo, whose construction made by the inhabitants of Manarola and Volastra, dates back to 1338, as written in the memorial tablet on the facade.
The plant of the church has three naves, while the facade is decorated with a rosette of twelve columns.
On the square in front of the church, built with an unusual separate setting, you may also notice the bell tower and the oratory.
The village develops from the cliff overlooking the sea and then up following the stream Groppo (visible only in the upper part of the village) and occupying its banks along the surrounding hills.
The river defines the main axis of the village from which branches off a system of narrow stone-paved alleys (the so called “carugi”)
together with a typical Ligurian stairs’ system, thanks to which you may reach the various houses on the sides of the valley linking the village and the surrounding area with no continuity.
The empty spaces between the buildings and the land immediately behind the houses are occupied by vegetable gardens but especially by terraces with vineyards typical of the Cinque Terre whose inhabitants have always been devoted to agriculture since their origin.
For sure Manarola is the ideal place for walking in fact from there start the path to Riomaggiore, the so-called “Love Street” and other paths along the sea that take to Monterosso. There is also the possibility to go up to Groppo and Volastra and walk the mid-coast paths or walk up till the ridge with the possibility to reach Levanto and Portovenere.
If from the Marina you walk west, up to the rocky promontory of Punta Bonfiglio, you will notice the small cemetery of the village with a breath-taking view of the sea and surrounded by vineyards.
On the front wall of the cemetery are engraved the final verses of the poem Liguria by Vincenzo Cardarelli :
“Open to the winds and to the waves
Ligurian cemeteries! A rosy sadness coulors you
when in the evening, like a decaying flower,
the great light fades away until dying. »
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
Every year on August 10th, a great celebration which involves also the inhabitants of the other villages of the Cinque Terre, is held for St. Lawrence’s day, the patron saint of the village..
In the evening through the streets of the village, is held a suggestive procession culminating with the transfer on a sedan of the statue of the saint on a boat. The boat starts from Palaedo and returns to the Marina.
Then from the Marina the procession continues towards the top of the village, till the houses of Serravalle, where it ends at the church of San Lorenzo.