Bay of Manerba with San Biagio Island well known as the Rabbits Island.
Manerba was founded, according to the legend, in devotion to the goddess Minerva. Other historians trace the name to the Gauls Cenomani, stemming from the union of the terms mon, leader, and erb, a military zone, idetifying Manerba as residence of the chief of the tribe. A charter of Frederick II dating from 1 November 1221 mentions the territory surrounding the ancient Church of Manerba as Tenense, whence its current name, Valtenesi.
The presence of man in the Garda area goes back to prehistoric times: in the Manerba area are remains of a Mesolithic village, while under natural terrace located in the foothills of the Rocca (castle) are traces of a Neolithic settlement from between 4,500 and 4,000 BC, and an important necropolis dating from the Copper Age.
The Valtenesi saw the construction of several castles starting from the 13th century AD, some of which erected on the ruins of Roman forts. The tower of the castle in the center of Manerba represents the convergence point of a radial pattern that connects the towers of all the municipalities around. This is the oldest castle in the Valtenesi, built in the 12th/13th centuries on the ruins of a medieval fortress and of a settlement dating to the Iron Age, and is firmly anchored on the Manerba cliffs hanging over the southern basin of Lake Garda.