As for me, such a lovely and cozy town causes a very special delight – an irresistible urge to get there, to walk through the narrow streets, to visit a small cafe and try a cup of coffee, to feel the warm sun on my face, just idly strolling, unhurriedly enjoying the living…
Meet Manarola – a small fishing town in Liguria, which is in northern Italy. The town is located on a cliff overhanging the wild coastline of the Ligurian Sea. It is one of five cities that make up the Italian Riviera known as the Cinque Terre. These cities are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, connected by a footpath. This pathway is a major attraction, sometimes it is called “Path of Love” – Via dell’Amore.
Such a romantic name has appeared not incidentally. The legend says that during the big drought, the residents of Manarola and neighbor Riomaggiore were forced to use a single remaining source. This was the reason of disputes and hassles. Young people from Manarola raided the creek, the young men from Riomaggiore courageously defended it. The hostile feelings between neighbors deepened more and more. But as in the immortal story of Romeo and Juliet, one day, the creek has connected a couple of feuding settlements, when a young inhabitant of Manarola and a young girl from Riomaggiore met and fell in love. Young people began dating secretly, and after a while the girl became pregnant.
When her parents learned of the girl’s new state, they began to ask about the father of the future child. The girl was frightened, she ran away from her parents towards Manarola, shouting the name of her lover. He heard her voice and ran to meet her. The loving couple met just in the middle between the two villages, but the tragedy happened – they slipped on the rocks and fell into the sea. The bodies of dead lovers were washed up on the opposite shores of the villages, and when people saw them, they were ashamed of their own hatred and connected the settlements by a picturesque path. A small but touching monument was installed on the site of a tragic accident.
Manarola is the oldest and one of the smallest cities in the famous five. In the center of town there is a church San Lorenzo, built in 1338. In the western part there is a small harbor with a parking for boats, to the east there is a square where locals often gather to discuss important issues. As in many other places of Italy, in this part of the country you will see vineyards growing almost everywhere – the future excellent Italian wine! Even in the times of the Roman Empire the local wine Sciacchetrà was appreciated for its magnificent taste. In general, winemaking is traditionally the main craft here, not to mention fishing of course.
Despite the fact that there is no beach – it’s a good place for scuba diving and study of caves and rock crevices. There is a special staircase built for descent to the water. But I believe the main feature and the highlight of the town is in its picturesque colorful houses built right on the slopes of the cliff above the gorge. These wonderful houses are located down the slopes of the rocky coastline of the Ligurian Sea. As multicolored building kit, bright squares delight the eye and attract tourists to make a million photos!