The village, which is famous for the excellent peaches and olive oil produced on its land, lies in the foothills of the Sierra de Alhama, near Zafarraya Gap, on gently sloping terrain which descends into the Velez region, with La Viñuela Reservoir providing its surroundings with an attractive touch of color.
Its municipal origins date back to 1761, though the village was partially destroyed by the 1884 earthquake. Its only monument of note is the Neomudejar-style San Isidro Church.
A multitude of archaeological remains have been found in the municipal area, notably those from the Palaeolithic period at Cerro de Alcolea hill and the paintings in Marchamonas Cave.
Relics from the Lower Roman Empire have also been discovered.
In Arabic times, the village's sulphorous waters were famous for their medicinal qualities; proof of this are Vilo Baths, which were still in use until the 19th century.
Periana acquired municipal status in 1761, when San Isidro Labrador Chapel became a parish church and the village ended its dependence on Riogordo.
Another episode in the village's history, remembered with sadness by its older inhabitants, was the major tremor which occurred on Christmas Day 1884; with its epicentre in the Sierra Tejeda, it devastated most of the north of the Axarquia region, with Periana the village worst affected by what became known as the Andalusian Earthquake, with 58 deaths and the destruction of large areas of the urban area. Chronicles tell us that the task of providing rescue and assistance for the victims was extremely difficult. On 10 January 1885, King Alfonso XII visited the site of the catastrophe, showing concern for the plight of its inhabitants and helping to obtain aid with which to lighten the burden of the economic ruin which had befallen many local people practically overnight.