The existence of the Fort Risban was first mentioned when it was besieged by the English in November 1346. Edward III of England's troops, finding the defences of Calais impenetrable, decided to erect a small fort to prevent any supplies reaching the town by sea, with a view to starving the inhabitants into submission. Under the English occupation the wooden tower was replaced by a stone structure, the Stone Tower, after 1400 renamed Lancaster Tower, a name often given to the fort itself.
Fort Risban was used by the English forces until 1558 when Calais was restored to France. In 1596, the fort was captured by the Spanish until May 1598 when it was returned to the French following the Treaty of Vervins. It was rebuilt in 1640. Vauban, who visited the fort some time in the 1680s, described it as 'a home for owls, and place to hold the Sabbath' rather than a fortification and let the fortress be altered. In the 19th century the Engineers Corps altered it again. The sea-fortress was dismantled in 1908 but fortified again during World War II when it served as an air raid shelter.References:
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.