Manarola has been listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy together with Vernazza. It is a small jewel on the sea of which its inhabitants are justifiably proud despite the occasional natural disasters. When the Libeccio, a wind from the south, blows, for example, the storms can be so violent that the waves reach up to the windows of the houses. But the inhabitants of Liguria who live here, both farmers and fishermen, have braved the elements for centuries. A local proverb expresses it in this way: “The Cinque Terre bend but do not break”.
Punta Bonfiglio offers a special viewpoint, where visitors can follow the walking trail which connects the beachfront with the stairway of Palaedo. Also stunning is the last part of via Belvedere, a trail on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea and ending in a panoramic viewpoint.
The biggest illuminated crib in the world is set up on the hill behind Manarola every Christmas; it is built by a retired railway engineer, Mario Andreoli, who mounts thousands upon thousands of lights mounted on modelled shapes, thus giving the representation its unique fascination. Andreoli creates the illuminated Via Crucis on the same hillside at Easter.
The traditional procession for the feast of San Lorenzo, the town’s patron, is on 10 August.