If you love culture, then Elba is the perfect place for you to take your vacation. It is an island surrounded by a rich and beautiful sea that flourishes from its mineral and agricultural wealth. Elba has always been a crossroads of different people, each of which has left tangible traces across the thousands of years of history. Many of these traces are yet to be discovered. In fact, there are many opportunities to contribute to the archaeological research currently being conducted on the island.
There is nothing more beautiful than indulging in the pleasures of Elba, all you have to do is choose which ones. Are you interested in the prehistoric periods? Then head to Monte Capanne, the massive face of granite on the western part of the island, and check out all the different hiking trails that will inspire and stimulate you. Not only will you get your fill of prehistory, the natural beauty and landscape is astounding. Are you interested in more recent history? If so, take a trip to the Etruscan walls on the coast above the town of Procchio. Marina di Campo and Portoferrario are also great locations to indulge in history. Do not forget the Roman villas at Claudia and the caves of Portoferraio and Agrippa Pianosa. Here, you will really get a taste of the ancient opulence of the island.
And what about the historic religious buildings? You can discover the first Marian churches in Elba. Also, do not miss a visit to the churches that are dedicated to exotic saints such as the Madonna del Monte church in Marciana and the Santa Barbara church in Rio Marina. Make sure to admire the paintings of the veiled Virgin depicted in miraculous works such as "Delle Grazie" in Capoliveri, which is attributed Michelangelo Marcello Venusti. Also fascinating is a visit to the Shrine of the Black Madonna of Montserrat, built by the Spaniards in Porto Azzurro. It is on top of a hill surrounded by the Karst valley, which is such a beautiful valley that Napolean also fell in love with it and often took trips there himself.
Relive the ancient history of Elba with wonderful and inspirational history. For example, take a tour of the Spanish forts of the XVII Century, which conclude with a special visit to the Cala di Mola. This fortress was one of the most important in protecting the island and witnessed many of the wars that took place here. If you prefer a more beautiful testimony to the Renaissance, you must not miss a trip to the Medici walls in Portoferraio. Do not miss the ancient town of Cosmopoli and the nearby homes of Napoleon while you are in the area. The Villa dei Mulini in Portoferraio was Napoleon’s "rustic" country residence, and his other residence was in San Martino. This home was beautifully decorated by the great Vincenzo Antonio Revelli from Turin.
There are many places on the island where you can breathe the art of Elba. If you take a trip across the Salita Napoleone, the rose stone staircase in the historic center of Portoferraio, you can reach the former barracks De Laugier. Today, the barracks have become the cultural center that is home to the Pinacoteca Foresiana and its permanent collection of 800 pieces of artwork. It is also easy, and wonderful, to get lost in the small villages of the island. They will give you the opportunity to rediscover the art of Elba and those famous artists who have made it known worldwide. For example, the legendary - and bohemian - painters of the Dunes that brought so much good attention to Elba. They are artists of a different trend and state of mind who have camped since the 50's on the wild beach of Procchio. This stunning beach has continued to give them the desire and inspiration to represent the splendor that is Elba. At one point, they were even joined by the great painter De Chirico.
There are many contemporary artists who also live here in Elba. Upon request, you can visit their studios. You can then talk with them over coffee or a glass of wine and discover an unknown world of creativity spawning from the beautiful Island of Elba. Oh, and if you feel like taking a swim between a museum and an Atelier, don’t worry: there is always a beach close by.