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Manarola is one of the famous scenic villages of the scenic 'Cinque Terre' coast in eastern Liguria: the fourth if travelling from the north-west, the second if arriving from the south-east.
This lovely village is huddled on and down the sides of a rocky outcrop, with the tall colourful houses leading down to a small harbour and piazza below. Some of the houses on the water side of the village look as if they might slip into the sea at any moment, but have probably looked the same for the last 500 years so I imagine they are not at any risk!
Manarola is often listed by travel guides as one of the most lovely villages in Europe, although I sometimes get the impression the guides concerned haven't actually visited all that many villages, but Manarola is certainly exceptional and would be a contender. Personally I would have said Vernazza, another of the Cinque Terre villages, is slightly more attractive because of its harbour but no problems you are going to visit them both while you are here anyway and they are both listed among the 'most beautiful villages in Italy'!)
The main historic monument of importance in Manarola is the 14th century Church of Saint Lorenzo, with an ancient watchtower and the Oratorio dei Disciplinati close by on this principal square in Manarola..
...but as you would expect it is the ensemble of ancient houses, the harbour cafes and the scenery that are the main attractions rather than any particular historic monument. You can enjoy lunch at one of the fish restaurants in the small square next to the harbour.
There was also once a castle here that was built to defend the village against pirates. The castle is still here and you will see parts of it although it is now converted into private homes.
Be sure to walk a few hundred metres along the small road that heads north-west from the harbour onto a small peninsula for the best 'global' view of Manarola village.
The footpath between Manarola and Riomaggiore (the next village to the east), is known as Lover's Lane (Via dell Amore) and is the most popular and easiest part of the path that travels along the coast between the five villages. Allow about 20 minutes to complete the walk.
It will be the stunning coastal scenery and the other lovely villages of the Cinque Terre that will be the main highlight when you visit Manarola: see the Cinque Terre guide. Manarola is between Corniglia (to the north-west) and Riomaggiore (to the south-east).
Map of Manarola and places to visit
Places to visit near Manarola
See more places nearby in the Liguria guide