Picturesque in summer, charming at Christmas when it lights up with the magic and fantastic night-time manger

Manarola looks like the bow of a ship still in the harbour, but about to take to sea. Of the Cinque Terre it is the most poetic one, perhaps because, together with Riomaggiore, it is a terminal of the famous Via dell’Amore (Street of Love).
It is a romantic village perched on a steep promontory of dark rock, with its small harbour between two rock spurs. The colourful tower-houses go down in terraces towards the sea, which here, when it is stormy, creates some particularly evocative scenes.
The waves rise up and submerge the steps of the harbour, the foam rises very high and the saltiness blends with the scents of the Mediterranean maquis, of thyme, rosemary and vineyards.

High up, well protected, there is the square, surrounded by the two oratories of the Disciplinants of Santissima Annunziata or the Azzurri. All around there are terraced hills and dry-stone walls, vineyards and olive groves.
Every year from 8 December to the end of January Manarola lights up with the big manger that occupies a whole hill created by the artist Mario Andreoli, a retired railwayman. This is the biggest lit-up manger in the world: about 300 characters made with poor leftover materials, distributed over 4000 square metres among the vineyards and illuminated by 15,000 light bulbs.