In the 11th and 12th centuries, medieval fortifications were established on these summits, mostly modest, but sufficient to see and be seen. For a long time historians attributed these hilltop villages to the necessity of defending themselves against the Saracens.
In fact it was the local lords who sought to assemble the rural population in these hilltop villages in order to more efficiently tax them and establish a number of monopolies (mills, ovens, etc.). Houses were built in the shadow of the ramparts and remained there until the 19th century when houses were built lower down the slope. Only a century or so later and the hilltop villages are experiencing a rebirth!