The 12th century fortified church of Santa María de Ujué stands on the highest point of the town. It is a fine example of Romanesque architecture, with Gothic additions.
The church originates back to the 9th century when Iñigo Arista ordered a temple to be built next to the fortress that this king ordered to be built. This first pre-Romanesque church was demolished to erect a new Romanesque building in the 12th century under the auspices of King Sancho Ramírez. In the 14th century, Charles II ordered part of the Romanesque naves to be demolished in order to build a single Gothic building. The choir, the undertowers, the crenellated towers and the façades were also built, as well as the church was surrounded by promenades and walls. All of this gave the complex the appearance of a fortress that it still has today. Interred in the church is the heart of Charles II of Navarre.
Manarola is a small town, a frazione of the comune of Riomaggiore. It is the second-smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists, with a population of 353.
Manarola may be the oldest of the towns in the Cinque Terre, with the cornerstone of the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. The local dialect is Manarolese, which is marginally different from the dialects in the nearby area. The name 'Manarola' is probably a dialectical evolution of the Latin, 'magna rota'. In the Manarolese dialect this was changed to 'magna roea' which means 'large wheel', in reference to the mill wheel in the town.
Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region.