ELBA ISLAND LOCATION
the beauty of elba
The magical countries
EXPERIENCE THE VILLAGES OF ELBA ISLAND
Have you ever experienced the thrill of a sunset in Capoliveri? Or have you ever dined at a seaside restaurant in Marina di Campo to enjoy a gourmet dinner, satisfying both taste and sight? Or would you like to get lost among the Fortresses of Portoferraio? Elba Island is a kind of paradise on earth with a landscape and natural heritage more unique than rare, with many folk traditions and legends related to the area.
Although Elba is a “tiny” island, it consists of as many as 7 municipalities. The towns of Elba Island have unique characteristics and offer our visitors history, culture and much beauty. Countries just a few miles apart have based their lives on completely different economies, customs and traditions. You may notice differences, for example, in the preparation of typical dishes and also in the dialect, which, depending on the area, changes: that of Rio is reminiscent of Spanish, that of Pomonte is reminiscent of Corsican, and that of Portoferraio has Tuscan influences. Did you know that Elba Island even has its own flag? It is white with a transverse red stripe on which three golden bees stand out. The Elban flag is linked to the history of Napoleon, who was in exile on our island for 9 months. There has been much debate about the significance of the bees, linked either to the industriousness of the Elbans or to the Merovingian dynasty, with which the emperor hoped to forge a link. There is a world of stories, curiosities and flavors just waiting to be discovered. Are you ready to go?
THE CITY OF COSIMO DE MEDICI
Portoferraio is a city of very ancient origins, and its walls, built in the 1500s by Cosimo de Medici, who called the city Cosmopoli, are a work of high engineering and and extraordinary beauty. It owes its name to the iron and mines that made its fortune
of the island in the 19th ce Its port was in fact used to transport metal from Elba to the mainland. The center of Portoferraio consists of narrow streets, scenic little squares, and historic monuments. Portoferraio, like the rest of the island, is wonderful to visit throughout the year and is considered the island’s capital, here are the major services and activities and it is here that most ships from the mainland dock (the other port is Rio Marina). Above the historic center is Fort Stella, named for the characteristic star shape of its walls. The fort houses one of the oldest lighthouses in Europe. From here you can admire Portoferraio’s dockyard and see the Villa dei Mulini, winter residence of Emperor Napoleon, from above. Forte Falcone, located at the highest point of the city, certainly represents the most powerful Medici fortification Inside the Linguella complex, there is an archaeological museum, where artifacts and amphorae dating back to Etruscan times are on display. In front of the city’s dock, on the promontory of the Caves, archaeological excavations have unearthed the remains of a large Roman villa, with parts of decorations and mosaics from the Hadrianic period. Near Portoferraio, in Magazzini, stands the small church of Santo Stefano alle Trane, original in its architectural forms. Several attractions can be visited in Portoferraio: the Vigilanti Napoleonic Theater; the Linguella Archaeological Museum, the Foresiana Picture Gallery, the Misericordia Church, and the English Fort. Under Napoleon Bonaparte’s 9-month stay in exile in 1814, Portoferraio and all of Elba experienced their heyday.
MARINA DI CAMPO
A COUCH AT THE BEACH
Imagine a long golden beach and behind it the town with all the services: this is Marina di Campo, one of the most popular resorts. You will discover a small town full of life, full of stores where you can store, restaurants with seafood specialties, good pizzerias and in the summer season
the waterfront with the evening market, every Wednesday instead in the main parking lot you can visit the traveling market of Elba Island. Its 1300-meter-long beach is the longest on Elba. Want to admire the Gulf of Marina di Campo in all its glory? Head up toward San Piero and Sant’Ilario, two picturesque villages famous for their ancient granite quarries. The old town, with its pine forest and watchtower, has developed around the small fishermen’s harbor, where you can see colorful wooden boats with their nets and palamits. The town has a recent history, in the past it was a marshy area, later between 1600 and 1700, the process of formation of the town of Marina di Campo began around the harbor watchtower, which is the oldest building dating back to the 11th century along with the small church of San Gaetano, located in an inner street near the harbor. Marina di Campo is home to the Town Hall of the Municipality of Campo nell’Elba, and there are local craft and produce stores and supermarkets. The historic center is largely closed to traffic and around the main streets of Via Roma and Via Marconi you will find the main clubs, bars, restaurants and businesses. Marina di Campo is home to the Aquarium of Elba, considered one of the most complete Mediterranean aquariums in existence.
THE TOWN OF LEGENDS
If you only have one night to spend on Elba, Capoliveri is definitely the town you need to visit! It is now one of Elba’s most characteristic towns , rich in history, charm and legends. Lose yourself in its alleys, with small craft stores and clubs, go to Matteotti Square, the central point of the town where you can have an aperitif, breathing in the charm of the typical medieval village.
Among the various legends related to the village of Capoliveri is the “Legend of the Innamorata” and it tells the love story between Lorenzo, from a noble family, and Maria, from humble origins. The two lovers were meeting on the Innamorata beach when, on July 14, Lorenzo arrived early on the beach. Mary, from above, saw a corsair ship leave and the body of her beloved agonizing at sea. Destroyed by grief, Maria decided to throw herself into the sea, from the rock called the Ciarpa. According to legend, after 100 years, Spanish nobleman Domingo Cardenas saw the shadow of the maiden, and since then, every year Maria is remembered by lighting a thousand flashlights on the beach, which was renamed “dell’Innamorata” for this reason. Capoliveri is also famous for the Grape Festival, celebrated every year in September/October. The village is divided into four wards, and a historical reconstruction of a moment in village life comes to life, and after three days of festivities, the most beautiful scenery is awarded. An atmospheric festival that speaks of ancient traditions and wine that deserves to be seen! Worth visiting is the Sea Museum inside which is housed the exhibition “The Wreck of the Pollux- Shipwreck in Capoliveri,” here you can admire the magnificent artifacts that were on board the ship, such as gold and silver coins, gold jewelry and small porcelain statues that belonged to the passengers. A few kilometers from Capoliveri is the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie, which houses the painting of the Madonna del Silenzio, a jewel of 16th-century art; this sanctuary, however, can only be visited on special occasions.
A TERRACE OVERLOOKING THE SEA
Porto Azzurro is considered the “living room of Elba” because of the beauty of its waterfront and square. The waterfront is a kind of refined living room, surrounded by stores, bars and restaurants. The square is inspired by the sea, and a fishing net was chosen as the main theme for the pavement to pay homage to the seafaring people who live in Porto Azzurro and Elba Island.
The square and the waterfront are the real meeting point of the whole country, in summer they host the various music and entertainment events, the promenade has two large fountains with water features and benches. The downtown is full of narrow alleys, narrow streets and majestic buildings as Fort San Giacomo, a fortification commissioned by Filippo III of Spain. Legends are also attached to Porto Azzurro, one of the most characteristic ones being that of the treasure of Porto Azzurro. History tells us that Ferdinando IV King of Naples wanted to secure his most precious objects and works of art, he had them loaded onto a ship heading north, but the ship, which we called Polluce, sank in the roadstead of Porto Azzurro. Since then so many tales of the shipwrecked people talking about the sunken wonders, there were many recovery attempts but they failed. Porto Azzurro, an ancient fishing village, owes its name to the 1947 municipal administration that decided to give the town a more touristy name; in fact, it was once called Portolongone. The center of the town is Matteotti Square, one of the largest and most beautiful squares on the island. From here you can admire the marina, which in summer hosts majestic yachts and in winter is bustling with fishing boats and small craft. Inside the village you can see the parish church dedicated to Our Lady of Madonna del Carmine and the Oratory of the Sacro Cuore di Maria, dating back to the 18th century. Not far from Porto Azzurro, on a rocky outcrop that can be reached on foot, is the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Monserrato, built at the behest of Spanish governor Pons y Leon, who wanted to reproduce on Elba the famous sanctuary erected near Barcelona.
THE NOBLE SOUL OF ELBA
Marciana Marina, with the stunning backdrop of Mount Perone and Mount Jupiter, is an important marina with boats and yachts and one of the most picturesque views on Elba Island. It is a small hamlet with attention to detail and high quality restaurants,
Where you can enjoy great food and wine. Definitely Marciana Marina is perfect if you love good food and tranquility. Its origins have evidence dating to the Etruscan and Roman periods. As you stroll along the waterfront, you can admire the town’s two historic symbols: the Pisan Tower, built in the 12th century for sighting and defense against pirate raids, and the Cotton, the town’s oldest and most picturesque hamlet. Originally characterized by fishing activities, today with goiters lying on the slipway and houses climbing the rocks, it is definitely something unique. If you are in Elba on August 12, our advice is not to miss the celebrations for the patron saint of the country, when, in honor of the town’s patron saint, St. Clare, an event is held every year that draws the whole island, with its Pyro musical show that has no equal all over the island.
Rio in Elba
THE ELBAN MINING CENTER
Rio in Elba is one of the oldest villages on the island and, like the other towns on the eastern side of Elba, belongs to the mining tradition. It has never developed touristically as a mining hamlet and is ideal for spending an afternoon discovering minerals.
It is located on a hill 180 meters above sea level and has a typical medieval urban layout, with narrow alleys and stairways ending in picturesque little squares. The town has origins in the Etruscan period that made it the mining center of the island until the deposits were closed in late 1981. The Civic Archaeological Museum of the Mining District of Rio nell’Elba displays a large amount of minerals; there are more than 700 pieces that come from different parts of the island. Also of interest is the old Public Washhouse, which is located just before reaching the village. It is an iconic place, which has marked the life and culture of the place for years. Women went to the washhouse to do laundry and socialize, men worked in the mines or farmed the fields, and there they stopped to wash. Near the ancient “Grassera,” a medieval village destroyed by Turkish pirates in the 1500s, along the road to Nisporto and Nisportino, are the Orto dei Semplici, which preserves various Elban plants, and the Hermitage of Santa Caterina, a small 16th-century shrine.
ELBA'S HIGHEST COUNTRY
Marciana alta, at 375 meters above sea level, is the highest village on Elba and one of the oldest. It is a characteristic village with a small square overlooking the sea and Marciana Marina.
It is a lovely area characterized by slow pace of life. The territory of Marciana is characterized by lush and unspoiled nature, the presence of the reliefs among other things manages to shelter from the summer heat. By visiting Marciana you can breathe in a stress-free lifestyle in tune with nature. The historic center of the village retains its medieval layout, which makes it unsuitable for automobile travel: the narrow streets are in fact narrow and paved with granite, and there is a great deal of stairway climbing to the highest part of the village. On the highest part stands the majestic Fortress, with a series of structures joined together to form a protective wall. From Marciana it is worthwhile to reach Poggio, another mountain village nestled among chestnut forests. A short distance from the village you will find a place connected to Napoleon Bonaparte’s presence on Elba Island: the Napoleon Spring, famous for its healing and beneficial properties.