Cinque Terre (Manarola) - Momboisse Family Adventures 2019 / Part 2

Monarola Marina 

Our day started off with breakfast in the community room at our Hotel La Spiaggia in Monterosso.  Hearty and filling, just what we needed before a full day of hiking.  

Our original plan was to start our day by taking the boat from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, thus having the opportunity to see all five villages of Cinque Terre from the water.  Unfortunately, the sea conditions were too rough and the ferry was suspended for the entire three days we were in Cinque Terre.

So instead we took the train from Monterosso to Manarola, the smallest of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre and explore that town.    

Trains between the five villages run every 30 minutes or so in both directions for €4. Tickets can be purchased at the time of the ride but with the additional step of having to validate these single ride tickets we opted to buy ahead of time.

We purchased the Cinque Terre Card + Train  before we left the US for €29 per person good for two days. This gave us unlimited train rides, and was also our required pass to hike from village to village.  An added bonus, this pass could also be used as a free toilet pass.  Flash this ticket at most public toilets in Cinque Terre and you get behind the turnstile for free.  That is a saving of €1 per pee!  Bottom line, getting the card ahead of time saved us time and money! 

View of Manarola from Vineyard Walk 

Exploring Manarola 

Monterosso to Manarola is a 10 minute ride.  Exit at the fourth stop and walk toward the pedestrian tunnel.  Here is a google map picture of the train station area from above in relation to the pedestrian tunnel and the actual town of Manarola. 

Manarola Train Station 

As you exit the pedestrian tunnel you will see Ristorante di Aristide.  Turn right here onto via Antonio Discovolo.  

Walk up the street 1/4 mile to the Chiesa di San Lorenzo and the bell tower which is across from the church. You can see the bell tower in the distance in the picture below.

Here is a view of the area from above on Googlemaps.  While you are looking at Googlemaps, see those beautiful vineyards to the left and right?  That is what we are going to walk through a little later on this hike.  

The bell tower, to the right in the picture above, was built in the 14th century on top of the remains of a lookout tower used to protect the village during the raids made by the Saracen. 

According to the white marble plaque on the exterior of the Church of San Lorenzo, this church dates to 1338.  

Though the exterior is Gothic-style, the interior is Baroque-style with a 15th century Crucifix high on the wall of the central nave.  Under the Crucifix is a 15th century triptych with San Lorenzo in the center.  

In every Catholic church we enter, the first thing we look for is the red tabernacle lamp designating that Our Lord Body Blood Soul and Divinity is present.  Sad to say we do not always find them it. Happy to say the red candle was lit here!   Which of course means that Jesus is truly there.  

We are not heading to the trail head for the Vineyard Walk. 

Manarola is surrounded by steep slopes terraced with vineyards, which are communally maintained by villagers. 

As you leave the church head back down the via Antonio Discovolo back toward town.  To your right ahead of you will be the trail head to the Manarola Vineyard.  

The entrance is off to the right.  It has a wooden railing and stone path and is marked with a sign to Volastra and Sentiero.  

This is a moderate hike with gorgeous views.  

A look back at the hamlet of Manarola.  The bell tower is easy to spot in the middle of the colorful homes.

Keep following the path up and up and yes up some more  deep in to the vineyard.  With little automation available out here, the local families have adapted themselves to working the steep hillsides and tending these vineyards mostly by hand.  

Looking out to the tiny Manarola Marina.

This is about the highest point.

As you look down you will see the cemetery that sits out on Punta Bonfiglio. 

The path begins to wind down.  In the picture below we are looking toward Corniglia.  The path along the coast to Corniglia has been washed out.  We will go as far as possible on that path before turning around to walk back to Manarola.

After passing the cemetery, the path continues to wind back down the hill.

This is a Googlemap picture of this are from space.

Somehow we came out from the hill at this gate.  The sign on the gate said Bar with an arrow pointing down the stairs.  We had been trying to find the way to the lookout point at the end of Punta Bonfiglio and this appeared to be in the right direction.  So more stairs down.  

The Bar called the Nessun Dorma was not open.  The view from the area however was spectacular.

Next to the Nessun Dorma is a lovely park.
With more view back to Manarola. 

A few more stairs down to the lookout.   We had come this far, what are a few more stairs.

Once you reach the lookout, if you turn right and walk as far as you can
you come to the trail head for the path along the cliff that leads to Corniglia.  In the picture below you can see how the trail was washed out.

So we turn around and walk back in the direction of Manarola along Punta Bonfiglio.

As we walk we are rewarded with these views. 

The picture below is of Punta Bonfigilia and the Nessun Dorma Restaurant and Bar from the base of Manarola as we made our way back to the train station.

Continue on the path, walk along the sea front where boats are tied down on the walkway.  At the end of the path, make a left turn back into town on via Renato Birolli.

You will know you are in the right place when you see the Planoia Caffetteria and Bar.  Actually these villages are so small, it is really hard to get lost.  And there is always some kind Italian to help with directions! 

Continue up via Renato Birolli and you will pop out at the Piazza Capellini.  

At the end of the Piazza, take the stairs down to the street below. This will bring us full circle and back to Ristorante di Aristide on via Antonio Discovolo and the pedestrian tunnel to the train station.  

Arrivederci Manarola! We are on to Riomaggiore.  One stop by train.  

Next stop Riomaggiore Part 3
Monterosso al Mare Part 1  

All pictures by L. A. Momboisse and R. M. Momboisse unless listed below. 

Interior of Church of San Lorenzo - wikipedia