Lens-Artists Challenge #164: Looking Up/Down

Seaside houses in Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy

With an interesting theme by a new host for the Lens-Artists Challenge — Sofia Alves of Photographias — we’re exploring the idea of looking up and down this week. And one of our favorite towns — Manarola — in Cinque Terre, Italy, came to mind. Although we visited on what must have been one of the hottest days of the year during mid-day lunch time, we have fond memories of what we saw both up and down.

In America, one must be something, but in Italy, one can simply be.

Pietros Maneos

Arriving by bus in this quaint seaside down (one of five in Cinque Terre), we were directed by the driver to look up — above the rooftops of the town where views of people and everyday life came into focus: patios with a mishmash of flowerpots, a man working his terraced garden on a steep slope, and laundry out to dry. The way Manarola has been for many, many years.

Laundry day: Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
Laundry day in Cinque Terre

But when we looked down, glimpses of rooftops and walls painted the colors of the Mediterranean — with a touch of blue, blue waters beneath and beyond — unfolded before us, and we prepared to scale the mountainside to enjoy all views.

Ligurian Sea and homes of Manarola
Looking down at the Ligurian Sea from the top of Manarola

As we took the rocky stairs and bridges downward, we could see vacationers and residents enjoying a secluded alcove and refreshing waters.

Seaside swimming at Manarola
Enjoying summertime in Manarola

Boats bound together wished they could join their cousins out at sea.

Boats tethered along the rocks of Manarola's coastline
Looking down on boats of Manarola

When I look down, I just miss all the good stuff, and when I look up, I just trip over things.


Ani DeFranco

From the bottom, we saw what we came to see: boxlike homes in orange and yellow and pink and gray — iconic colors of Cinque Terre that have charmed visitors and residents alike for hundreds of years.

Looking up at houses in Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
Noting the colors, balconies, and shapes of the homes of Manarola by looking up

And when we took in the whole of the town from a bottom rung vantage point, we saw terraces at the top with underlying box homes stacked one against another. Underneath it all, rock walkways led us in and among shops and stalls selling mementos.

Terraced gardens and homes of Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
Looking way, way up at the centuries-old terraces and homes of Manarola

Always remember to smile and look up at what you got in life.

Marilyn Monroe

It’s not until you reach a facing hillside and stand on a stone walkway that you can look both up and down. And that’s where you take your postcard picture, the one you want to remember: people, houses, and terraced gardens above quiet boats in blue waters. Marvelous Manarola in Cinque Terre, Italy.

A final up and down view of Manarola

For more glimpses of ups and downs, check out Photographia from Sofia Alves. There’s lots to enjoy no matter how you view the entries.

Travel upward,

Rusha & Bert

34 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #164: Looking Up/Down

  1. pattimoed

    I really enjoyed your photos of Cinque Terre, Rusha. My photos, taken 25+ years ago with a point and shoot camera were far from stunning!! Yours do justice to the place. Fabulous up and down views.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I do wish we could have been there at early morning or sunset times. We were sweltering in the noonday heat with drops of sweat rolling down under my glasses! I’m surprised I caught anything with my camera! Don’t you wish we could have a few do-overs?

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      So glad you noted the washing. I love to see clothing hung out to dry in the air no matter where we travel! (That may be something else weird about me!) Appreciate your comments on a post about this lovely town.

  2. Amy

    Ah… Cinque Terre, a great choice! I love these images of Manarola. I’m not sure I can walk 5 towns in one day again, sure is nice to travel through your beautiful photos. 🙂

  3. Tina Schell

    An excellent subject for the challenge Rusha. Your images are wonderful, the last is perfection! We absolutely loved Cinque Terre and did the walk through all of the towns from up above but you found much more detail in your approach. The colorful homes so tenuously built on the cliffside gave me the “willies”! Can you imagine living there? And yes, hotter than hot!!!

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I agree that those cliff side homes were a bit scary. Someone told us (but I can’t verify) that the majority of these homes are rented to tourists. The owners live elsewhere. Makes sense after seeing how many people were there to visit. A marvelous experience for all of us!

  4. Toonsarah

    Oh yes of course – the Cinque Terre is a perfect location in which to explore both upwards and downwards! Your beautiful photos took me straight back to our visit some years ago and reminded me of everything I loved about this area 🙂 Thank you!

  5. Sofia Alves

    This is a wonderful, well thought post, where everything works perfectly. I enjoyed travelling with you to Manarola, now I just wish I could retrace your steps myself.

Leave a Reply to pam@ichoosethis Cancel reply