The sentinel of the eastern slope with an iron heart and an Etruscan soul


The small town of Rio is perched atop a hill about 170 meters above sea level on the northeastern side of the island. It is certainly one of the oldest towns in all of Elba: its origins date back to the Bronze Age. The area preserves numerous traces of its ancient past: these include archaeological relics and shipwrecks from different eras, to be discovered accompanied by an experienced guide.

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Rio, famous for its iron mines dating back to Etruscan times, was the mining heart of the island.

A wide variety of minerals, the Rio People's Collection, is on display in the local Mining District Archaeological Museum. Other places of historical and cultural interest are the Volterraio Castle, the imposing fortress in the vicinity of the village, the Parish Church of SS. Giacomo and Quirico, the Hermitage of Santa Caterina, the Elban Orto dei Semplici, and the Church of the Holy Trinity, known as the Church of the Padreterno. Also part of the municipal territory is the islet of Cerboli, a naturalistic gem of the Tuscan Archipelago.

Just a short walk from the historic center is the charming, recently restored Fonte dei Canali, formed by five mouths and fed by a rich spring. Instead, next to the Canals you will have the opportunity to visit the Public Lavatories, a striking structure with a trussed ceiling and large windows. Fed from the same source as the Canali, the wash houses were used until the 1980s.

Between the Fonte dei Canali and the Lavatoi Pubblici, it is also possible to visit the Rio Park House, open from April to October, run in collaboration between the Municipality of Rio and the Tuscan Archipelago National Park: the facility, in addition to being an information point on the flora and fauna of the area, also organizes free guided walks, nature excursions or specific events related to the Walking Festival. Absolutely unmissable experiences to explore the area in its most hidden corners and breathe in the magical Elban atmosphere.

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