Manarola was built because of the displacement of populations that moved from the Val di Vara to the sea to exploit its resources. Its name derives, perhaps, from the Latin Manium arula, which means “small temple dedicated to the Mani".
Located on a promontory high above the sea, the village develops in the gorge that descends towards the sea, closed between two rocky spurs, hosting a small landing place. Among the five villages is the smallest after Corniglia.
The village is located in the terminal stretch of the Groppo torrent valley. The houses face one another close to the other on the main road, built following the cover of the river and therefore called by the inhabitants U Canâ (the Canal).