Besides the natural aspects the islandshows many signs ofa past rich inhistory. Elbahas been inhabitedsince ancient times forits richness inmetals. The ironin particularmade the wealthof the Etruscan peoplewho knew how toexploitthe valuableore deposits. The Romansquarriedgranite,and so theRepublic of Pisa didin the Middle Ages, defending the islands ofTuscanyand becoming richwith the resources of the Archipelago. Elba, situated in acentral location in thenorthern Tyrrhenianandso rich inraw materials, wascovetedby thegreat European powerswho have tried toconquer it. The Grand Dukeof Tuscany CosimoI de' Medici was thefirst to realizeits strategic valueand fortifiedPortoferraio. The Medicean ambition was followed by the Spaniards who createdthefortress ofPortolongone, nowadays Portoazzurro, while therest of the islandwas left includedtheprincipalityof Elba and Piombino, ruled by the Appiani. It will takeonly Napoleonthento unify such adivided island.
These are justsome of the importanthistorical events that haveleft tangible evidences and monuments on Elba. AntonelloMarcheseis ready toguide you to discovera rich andunexpected historyforsuch a small island.
If we are equipped with a camera, and it is often not necessary to have professional equipments, we can document the natural wonders of the island. For more than 30 years Antonello Marchese has been documenting nature and the landscapes of Elba. There are numerous publications realized by him or reporting his images and texts.
You can cross the scrub watching, especially in spring, the blooms of many Mediterranean shrubs that color the hillsides of so many hues and shades, or walk through the woods to learn about the varieties of tree species that form the green mantle of the island of Elba.
|Moving quietly and carefully, you can see the many forms of life that inhabit the island natural environment: small, colorful insects greet our steps, along with many species of birds that frequent the scrub, the rocks, the woods. In wetlands it is possible to observe toads and frogs. There are many other discoveries that await us if we look at nature with care and respect.
|It's possible to visit the mines and ancient quarries searching small samples of minerals and crystals that can be collected and kept, to discover at the same time extraordinary landscapes created by intense and millennial mining activities, together with the wonders of mother Nature that has endowed the island of an unsuspected geological and mineralogical treasure.