Elba in History
Elba in History
The island of Elba is the largest of the islands in the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy. A little paradise that offers a unique natural beauty that only a few other tourist destinations in the world can match. An island that is rich in history and testimonies and which has been inhabited by many population groups.
Elba has been inhabited since prehistoric times and was considered a strategic area for control of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was exploited and dominated by the Ligurians, who called it “Ilva”, followed by the Greeks, who renamed it “Aethalia”, and then it was the turn of the Etruscans, who of all the population groups exploited the wealth of their iron mines the most. Elba later passed into the hands of the Romans, who settled there for several centuries and used the granite of the Monte Capanne to erect important monuments that still exist across Europe, such as the Colosseum and the Phanteon. It was also during this period that people began to appreciate Elba wine, which was exported along the Italian coast and as far as Rome.
In the Middle Ages it was dominated by the Pisans and then by the Appiani and the Medici. The Medici left indelible traces especially in Portoferraio. The fortress was named Cosmopoli in honor of Cosimo de Medici. The Spaniards also left important traces such as the fortress of San Giacomo and the Forte Focardo in Porto Azzurro.
Eventually Napoleon Bonaparte stayed there and ruled the island of Elba from 1814 to 1815 for 9 months and 23 days. He left numerous memories that are now used as a museum, such as in the Palazzina dei Mulini, in the Villa of San Martino and in the old churches of Portoferraio.