“I could do everything before I saw Elba” – this famous English palindrome (“Able was I ere I saw Elba”) speaks perfectly about the island, equally amazing as the phrase itself, from any side. Elba Island is a real pearl of the Tuscan archipelago. An ancient history rich in events and changes of rulers, including the exiled Napoleon, who in a few months perpetuated the name of the island. A halo of legends and myths, among which is the search for the Golden Fleece by the Argonauts on the Elbe. Ancient fortresses, majestically rising above the cities of extraordinary beauty. Pine forests, picturesque mountains, lush gardens, enchanting coves, golden sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. All this has been captivating the guests of Elba for many centuries in a row – an island that must be seen in order to be forever bewitched by its charm.
Elba is the largest island of the Tuscan archipelago and the third largest (224 km²) island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia. Elba is located 20 km from the mainland, opposite the city of Piombino. The coastline of the island is 147 km, its main town is Portoferraio, the highest point is Monte Capanne. Elba is located near the border with France – just 35 km to the west lies the island of Corsica.
The Elbe has a mild Mediterranean climate, with rather hot and dry summers – for example, the average temperature in July is + 24.3 ° С, and mild winters – in January the average temperature is + 9.3 ° С. The water temperature in the sea in July-August warms up to 25-27°C.
It is difficult to find a Mediterranean island with a history as eventful and changing rulers as the centuries-old history of the Elbe. The first mention of the island dates back to the times when history was intertwined with myths and legends. The fate of the Elba, in addition to the amazing beauty and pleasant warm climate, has always been determined by two factors: its strategic position in the Tyrrhenian Sea and the mineral wealth of its island territory. Jason stopped here in search of the golden fleece, and the emblem of the capital of the island – the city of Portoferraio – adorns the image of the ship of the Argonauts. For the Etruscans, the bowels of the island were an inexhaustible source of wealth, and iron mining became one of the foundations for the prosperity of their civilization. The Romans also highly appreciated the iron mined on the island and the healing mud of Elba, and the Greeks, because of the fire that burned during the smelting of iron, called the island Aethalia – “flame”. Then Elba was raided by barbarians and Saracens, but in the XI century came under the influence of Pisa. From the 14th century, for two centuries, the island was owned by the Appiani family, the rulers of the city of Piombino, and in 1548, Cosimo de Medici, on the ruins of the Roman city of Fabrizio, built the Cosmopolis fortress – the current city of Portoferraio. In 1603, the city of Port Azzuro was captured by Philip II of Spain, who built two fortresses there, and in 1802 Elba came under French rule. Undoubtedly, the history of Elba is inextricably linked with the name of Napoleon I Bonaparte, who, after the Treaty of Fontainebleau in 1814, was exiled to the island as the sovereign of Elba. At the same time, the former emperor of France was declared Emperor of the island of Elba. Napoleon was on the Elbe for 9 months and 21 days, and during this time he introduced a series of economic and social reforms which improved life on the island. In 1815, Napoleon fled the island and returned to France in order to become Emperor of France again for the famous Hundred Days.
After the Congress of Vienna, Elba passes to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and in 1860 becomes part of the Kingdom of Italy.
Today, Elba is a magnificent resort and a beautiful island, which is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. The fertile lands of the island endow its inhabitants with selected products, ships loaded with famous local wines depart from the ports of Elba to the main cities of the Mediterranean, and numerous archaeological, historical and architectural monuments testify to the rich past of the island.