Friday, August 10, 2007

July 2007 - Manarola, Italy - A Fishing Village Lost in Time

After walking along the cliff-hugging Via dell'Amore for about 20 minutes, with nothing but a rocky cliff towering to our right and the sea crashing against it to our left, we spotted a few pastel colored buildings peaking out from behind a rocky promontory. Manarola, the 2nd of the five lands, was just a few minutes away.
Like Riomaggiore, Manarola is a small fishing village built in a ravine between steep terraced hills sloping down to the harbor.
The colorful, characteristic buildings are tightly stacked on top and against each other. We first walked up to the top of town. Halfway there, we stopped for this shot looking down the main street towards the harbor.

Once we reached the top, we spotted the town's church and bell tower in the main square.Behind the gothic church with pointed arch portal and rose window, you can see the terraced hills where the grapes for the two local wines are grown, the Vino delle Cinque Terre and the sweet Sciacchetra.
From the main square, there are spectacular views of the picturesque town, the terracing, the buildings nestled in the ravine tumbling down to the harbor, and the gorgeous Ligurian Sea.

We couldn't resist putting ourselves in that great shot.We loved how colorful, closely constructed, and precariously perched on steep hills all of the buildings were. Even though the Cinque Terre has become a popular tourist destination, Manarola is remarkably unspoiled and authentic, having somehow preserved its original fishing village character.
After wandering around the town for awhile, feeling transported 100 years back in time, we found the trail to the next town and began our hike on a low cliff along the coast. Before rounding the western rocky promontory that protects Manarola's harbor, we caught one last, breathtaking glimpse of this most picturesque town.
Nearing the hotteset point in the day, we applied more sunscreen and continued west towards the next town, Corniglia.

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