The small town of Manarola rises up in the valley of Groppo stream. The multicolored houses, made up of the typical Genoese tower houses, overlook each other on the main street, called Via Discovolo, obtained by the surfacing of the waterway.
The village clambers up the leaning out rocky coast, and creates crossroads of many narrow carruggi, which are parallel on different levels linked by irregular slate steps.
Manarola was born from the migration of populations coming from the Vara Valley and from the Roman settlement of Volastra. They moved towards the sea to take advantage of the area resources. Its name probably derives from the Latin Manium arula, which mean “small temple dedicated to the Mani”, but its etymology is still uncertain.
On the top of the village, you find the main square of Manarola, around which you can visit the Oratorio dei Disciplinati and the Gothic style St. Lawrence Bell Tower, which dates back to 1338.
The castle, in the past defensive fortress against the Saracen pirates around which the nucleus of the village was born, through the centuries has been turned into a private residence, but still now it is a well-preserved stony building.
We tell you a curiosity: every year, in Christmas time, on the hill over the village, a stunning bright presepio is set up (the largest in the world), whose handmade characters created by Mario Andreoli, are made up of thousands lights installed on apposite silhouettes, which give the representation a unique charm.
In tourist season, a ferries service links Manarola to the other villages of the Cinque Terre, but Corniglia. In addition, we remind you also that from Cinque Terre, many ferries lead to Porto Venere, in turn, linked to the city of La Spezia and Lerici.
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