We live in a land where silence is King…

When Gary Burr sang Silence is King, he might have been thinking about Manarola.  It’s the second smallest of the five tiny seaside villages that make up Italy’s Cinque Terre, and is inundated by the tourist hordes during daylight hours. The poor permanent inhabitants must hold their collective breath during each day’s onslaught, but at night peace and a more soothing pace returns to remind them why they stay. By dark-thirty, as they sit on their porches overlooking the Ligurian Sea, sipping wine and talking in low murmurs, the only sound’s the wind and the water far below.  Liguria is a coastal region of Italy, bounded by France to the west and Tuscany to the east.  It has been variously ruled by Romans, Byzantines, Lombards, Franks, Saracens, Normans, Milanese, French (repeatedly), Austrians, Sardinians, and of course the Germans…that’s a lot of national anthems to memorize!  Today, its people are Italians to the outside world, but as you find often in Italy many see themselves more as Ligurians, or even Manarolans.  After all, history has shown them the flags may change, but you still have to go down to the harbor to get the freshest seafood!  Go see the place at night some time…  not so many lights, but they are employed to effect.  (14 September, 2011  Manarola, Liguria, Italy)