Manarola and Volastra never had good access by road, until the beginning of 1978, when the carriage road linking Manarola to Groppo and Volastra was inaugurated.
To meet the needs of the inhabitants, the Town Hall Authorities decided to build a new mule track that starting from Fiesse and, partly following the old path Fiesse-Cantrigiàn, reached Volastra.
The construction work began on 21st August 1906 and ended in July 1907, just in time for the road to beopened on 5th August for the occasion of the ceremony of Our Lady of Good Health held in the sanctuary of Volastra.
To build the road it took 1,859 meters of sandstone curbs, miners worked for 186 days and masons for 200 days, for a total cost of 2,300 lire.Fiesse: word coming from the Latin “Flexus” that means folded, land forming small loops.
Groppo: word coming from the Germanic “Krupp” that means cultivated rolling terrain.
Volastra: word coming from the Latin “Vicus Oleaster”, the land of olive trees.
Manarola: word coming from the Latin “Manium Arula” small area of the hands, as it is considered likely that in Manarola there was a temple dedicated to the souls of the dead.
Or, from the dialect “Manaraea”, formerly “Magna roea”, or “Magna Rota”, big
wheel from a water mill, still existing in the central part of the village (see Mulino
Comandata: every head of the family had to participate two or three times a year in the repairing or reopening of paths and country roads.
The Town Hall and the Province established by law that whoever did not show up at
work, had to pay in cash to the Town Hall the amount equal to the daily wage of a worker.
The town-hall usher had to notify the head of the family the Mayor’s order:
“Mr. ….. is commanded to perform a day’s work to repair the country road located at
….. Kindly present yourself on the day ….. at ….. in the following area ….. bringing a shovel, a pickaxe and a basket. ”
The photos are by André Leuba, Eduard Kopp and Anselmo Crovara kept in the Archives of Memory Anselmo Crovara in Via Aldo Rollandi in Manarola.