Manarola, where people build for the community and you smile even at the cemetery
Manarola was founded in the thirteenth century probably by the people who lived in the town of Volastra, the hamlet you can still visit on the back hills.
In Manarola the railway plays a big role in the life of the town, it almost seems projected over the sea, while the station is a roof terrace. The railway is an important feature of all the Cinque Terre villages, which used to be isolated until the second half of the 19th century when the bold engineering railway work was built.
From the railway station, reach the marina in a few steps. Here a short pedestrian tunnel leads to the starting point of the “Love Path”, a breathtaking road overlooking the sea, built by the locals in Manarola and Riomaggiore to join the two villages, so close and yet so far, separated by a rough coast.
Unfortunately, the path has been closed after the flood that affected Manarola and other Cinque Terre Villages. It will hopefully be re-opened soon.
The main (and almost only) narrow street that crosses the village and goes down to the sea, has restaurants, bars, and shops. The small harbour looks like a Mediterranean natural pool. Looking west, you will be fascinated by the presence of a small cemetery overlooking the sea: strongly wanted and built by locals, the cemetery is one of the most peaceful and beautiful places in the whole area, communicating joy rather than sadness.
If you hike to the upper town, on the way to Volastra, you can visit the small church of San Lorenzo, built in typical Ligurian style.