Gorgona was known in antiquity as Urgo, Gorgo and Orgòn although this derivation has nothing to do with the Gorgons of Greek mythology: it is, in fact, a Sardinian-derived suffix of pre-Roman origin. We also know that Islamic sailors in the 16th century used to call it ''Island of the Chestnut Trees'' (Kestaneli Ada).
The first frequentation of Gorgona dates back to the Neolithic age, a time to which the oldest finds recovered in the southern slope of its territory are dated, and it seems likely to assume a use as a port of call even in Etruscan times, given its strategic position within the trade routes. The Roman period is evidenced by the presence of imposing masonry incorporated in modern buildings, but more information is related to the late ancient period when, starting at least from the 5th century, the presence of monks is testified (Rutilius Namazianus in 416 mentions monastic communities also in Gorgona). The monastery of St. Mary and St. Gorgonius was at the center of many important events in the history of Christianity , such as the recovery of the remains of St. Julia after her martyrdom in Corsica in 450 or the visit of St. Catherine of Siena. Gorgona's fate followed that of the other islands of the Archipelago, becoming the object of pirate raids that led to its temporary abandonment in the 9th century until it entered the Florentine orbit. There followed various programs of fortification and installation of monastic communities, which, however, never took shape as stable elements of the territory. It was Pietro Leopoldo in the 18th century who promoted a program for the inclusion of agricultural workers in Gorgona, and it was one of these families, the Citti, who built the village of Cala dello Scalo, a base for what became their main economic activity, fishing. From 1869 part of the island was designated as a penal colony. The island's only inhabited center is located at the small harbor of Cala dello Scalo, from which a series of beaten-earth roads also lead to the island's monuments of interest, notably Torre Vecchia (Pisan), Torre Nuova (Medici) and the Church of San Gorgonio. Villa Margherita, the current penitentiary, is built on Roman remains.
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.
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.
Built in 1724 by Grand Duke Gaston de’ Medici, it was Napoleon’s city residence during his first stay on Elba Island.
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.
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
Visit the harbor where Maria Walewska landed and the armed watchtower visited by Napoleon himself in 1814