The art of an island, melody for the soul
Experiences of Territorial Culture

The art of an island, melody for the soul

Ancient picture galleries, rich art collections, events dedicated to music and local and international artists: Elba is an island permeated by art in every corner.

Plastic arts. The Pinacoteca Foresiana is located in the splendid building dedicated to Napoleonic officer Cesare De Laugier, founded in 1562 by Cosimo I with the intention of making it the headquarters of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen. The collection was donated to the municipality in 1914 by Mario Foresi, an intellectual from Elba, and was opened to the public in 1924. The paintings, prints, and splendid art objects have been divided into twelve themed areas, including nineteenth-century painting, sacred or mythological subjects, and Elban landscape views. Among the artists in the collection you will be able to admire the Florentine Macchiaioli artist Telemaco Signorini, the Renaissance artist Francesco Morandini, the portrait painter Antonio Ciseri, a painter of historical and religious themes, as well as the Leghorn-born Llewelyn Lloyd, who since 1907 began an assiduous frequentation of the island, buying the Casa dei Melograni in Marciana Marina in 1913. Famous are his Elban landscapes (among them "The village after the flood," presented at the Venice Biennale in 1909).

Elba's precious ceramics. Just outside Portoferraio, on the road leading to Villa San Martino (Napoleon's summer residence), you can discover Italo Bolano's Museum of Ceramics. This open-air complex was built in a 10,000-square-meter park with as many as thirty art installations inside. The artist's intent is to provide a place for the public to hold performances, readings and various performance arts. In short, a crossroads where one can "express" culture in all its possible manifestations, perfectly in tune with the lushness of the vegetation that adorns the environment.

The island's must-see musical events:

The Intonation Festival has as its "epicenter" the Hermitage of St. Catherine, in the municipality of Rio. The place was rediscovered by German artist Hans Georg Berger in the early 1970s, was then restored, and for the next two decades became the center of international cultural attendance. Since 2010, Intonation has been a Festival of Ancient and Contemporary Music, which intends to follow the path already traced by Berger. In conjunction with the concerts held in the church and outdoor space, they also hold music workshops for professional artists or even younger people. The festival takes place every year between June and July.

The Elba Festival Isola Musicale d'Europa, the second event to be marked on the calendar, was founded in 1997 by George Edelman (artistic director) and conductor Yuri Bashmet, intent on proposing within the classical and jazz music circuits a time for great musicians of the international sphere to meet and compare notes. Often the concerts are real workshops in which to fine-tune ideas to be reproposed later off-island. Programs range in different repertoires, from classical to modern music. Most of the concerts take place in the Teatro dei Vigilanti, in Portoferraio. The festival takes place between late August and early September.

These musical events, because of the quality of the musicians and the beauty of the picturesque venues that host them, are truly enriching for the eyes and the spirit.

Travel notes

Foresian Art Gallery

Museum of Ceramics

Vigilanti Theater

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