Mineralogy and mines
Experiences of Territorial Culture

Mineralogy and mines

Elba, a small strip of land in the middle of the sea, with an unobtainable mineralogical variety.

With more than 200 mineralogical species, traced and cataloged over centuries of research by the world's leading scholars and mineralogy enthusiasts, this island boasts more than one-twentieth of the planet's minerals found on its small territory. Anyone who is interested in geology and minerals will sooner or later come across the name of Elba.

Discovering the Elban mining variety. Whether samples from the mines on the eastern slope or the fabulous pegmatite crystallizations on the western slope, no museum in the world can be called complete without Elban samples. If you, too, would like to try your hand at following in the footsteps of the crystal hunters, you will be spoiled for choice: geologist's hammer in hand and a bag for your collection, this will be the initial equipment for the guided tours to discover the old iron mine work sites of Rio ( Rio Marina) and Capoliveri. Here, accompanied by expert guides, you can unearth samples of hematite, pyrite, limonite, malachite and many more to display in your personal collections.

For an even more exciting experience, there is also the chance to explore the "heart of the earth," diving with helmet on your head and "compasses gone wild," into the underground tunnels of the Ginevro magnetite mine, the only tunnel mine still open to visitors on the island.

On the western side, on the other hand, the mineralogical capital is surely San Piero, the realm of centuries-old generations of granite stonemasons, where tourmalines and gems from the pegmatitic strands of Monte Capanne await you as the main attraction, and you can take part in many exciting excursions on the subject of granite mining and utilization.

Where to start, then? To become a "miner for a day," you need only go to one of the museum visitor centers available to you on the island of Elba: in Rio Marina (a hamlet of the municipality of Rio) with the Mineralogical Museum of the Elba Mining Park and guided tours of the Basin and Valle Giove quarries; in Capoliveri with visits to the Museum of the Old Workshop and the Vallone and Ginevro Tunnels; and finally at MUM, or the Mineralogical and Gemological Museum of San Piero to discover the wonderful world of granite.

Travel notes

Iron mines

Mining Park

Workshop Museum

Calamita Mines

Mines of Rio Marina

Strategic location for the large amount of hematite and limonite immediately identified by the emperor as soon as he landed on the island as a strategic-military axis.

Location: Rio Marina

Paolina Beach

The beach is named after the islet a few meters from the shore, itself named after Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister who, according to a legend (probably created by a tourism entrepreneur in the 1960s) loved to sunbathe on these rocks.

Location: Marciana

San Martino Villa

Designated as a summer residence, Napoleon purchased the property from the Manganaro family in 1814, with the intention of transforming it into a comfortable and refined abode that would have nothing to envy from Parisian residences.

Location: Località San Martino (Portoferraio)

Mulini Villa

Built in 1724 by Grand Duke Gaston de’ Medici, it was Napoleon’s city residence during his first stay on Elba Island.

Location: Portoferraio

Sanctuary of Monserrato

It was built as a sign of gratitude in 1606 by José Pons y León of the Dukes of Arcos, Spanish governor of Naples and first governor of the square of Longone (part of the state of principals). In September 1814 Napoleon, accompanied by Pons and Bertrand wanted to visit the sanctuary.

Location: Località Monserrato (Portoazzurro)

MUM Mineralogical Museum

While the Elban economy today is based on tourism, the fact remains that the people of San Piero and the west coast (Pomonte) have also lived and continue to live off their granite and marble

Location: San Piero in Campo

Port and Tower of Marciana Marina

Visit the harbor where Maria Walewska landed and the armed watchtower visited by Napoleon himself in 1814

Location: Marciana Marina