Nessun Dorma – The best aperitivo in Cinque Terre

…and one of the best in Italy

Nessun Dorma is the heaven in Cinque Terre. Eat italian food and drink local wine. Have you seen the view from here?


The five villages of the Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso) in Liguria need no special recommendations. It is one of the most photographed places in Italy and receives millions of tourists every year. It is a unique combination of the majesty of nature and man’s effort to subdue it. Multicoloured houses perched on wild rocks, deep blue waters, and steep slopes cultivated by man compose a unique harmony of wild beauty. It is sight that almost brings tears to your eyes when you see it for the first time.


Manarola, the second village you pass after travelling from La Spezia, is perched 70 metres above sea level on a high cliff. As a result, there are many ups and downs and steep, narrow lanes (carrugi). Whenever the sea is rough, boats are towed onto dry land off the main road. Its harbour has a boat ramp and a small piazza built on a rock bridge. Beneath the bridge a stream forms little waterfalls as it flows toward the sea. The Church of San Lorenzo, which is located at the top of the village, was constructed in 1338 in the Gothic Ligurian style and contains a defence tower that served as a watchtower for possible pirate invasions.


The wine bar Nessun Dorma in Manarola is the best place for aperitivo in Cinque Terre (and it is regarded by many as being among the top places in all of Italy). The history of the place is simple, and it started in 2014 when Simone decided to take part in the competition for the management of this public space in Manarola. Much to his and his family’s surprise, Simone won the competition. So, the summer of the same year Nessun Dorma welcomed its first customers. Simone named it after his favourite aria (as sung by Luciano Pavarotti) from Puccini’s opera “Turandot”. After all, the man with the beard, the logo of the bar, is Pavarotti from a sketch based on a photograph from his house in Modena. All the rest is the story of a wine bar that became world famous in the years that followed.


Simple cold appetisers, cheeses, cold meats, salads, and fruits are served on a series of dishes on the Aperitivo Vista Mare menu. The raw materials are all of the highest quality, and they go nicely with a variety of regional wines and fantastic cocktails. The dishes that include bruschetta are the most popular. Particularly the renowned tricolore bruschetta is made with pesto, tomatoes, and stracchino (a typical Ligurian cheese). Furthermore a small assortment of sweet desserts is also available. The flavours and aromas overwhelm your mouth and all your senses with everything being absolutely delicious.

Even though the culinary part alone may have drawn you here, the most stunning view imaginable is included in this delicious feast. In front of you, the Ligurian Sea is crystal-clear on one side and the multicoloured village of Manarola sprawls out panoramically on the other [photo at the top].


The queue at Nessun Dorma is always long, and the restaurant does not take reservations. Thus you have two choices. The first is to reach the entrance, get a ticket from the machine, and wait for them to call you. The second (and our recommendation) is to download the Nessun Dorma app to your phone. Add the number of people you want, and use the the app to get priority. When the wait is below eight people, arrive at the entrance because your turn is approaching.

Nessun Dorma is easily accessible. When you arrive at Manarola’s harbour, take the road that runs parallel to the sea on the right. The bar’s white umbrellas can be seen from above. You will find a little staircase on your right. Climbing it will take you to the entrance of the bar.


In 2017 the founders of Nessun Dorma opened a new space by transforming a historic wine cellar in the church square of Manarola into the Cantina. It is a wine bar exclusively dedicated to the tasting of local wines along with excellent cuisine. The logo of the wine bar is the Princess Turandot from the homonymous opera. Finally, in Nessun Dorma, they give lessons on the preparation of the traditional pesto (Pesto Experience) and they organise tours to their vineyard (Wine Experience).


YES. The things you may have read and heard about Nessun Dorma is true. In every way, it is a unique experience. It is worth it, even if you have to wait a bit to be seated. At Nessun Dorma you will have a gastronomic and travelling experience that you will never forget.