The history of the Island of Elba

Do you know the history of the Island of Elba? Often, especially when talking about places to go and have a holiday, the cultural and historical side is considered secondary. Taking a holiday on the Island of Elba and staying at the Hotel Acquamarina will give you the chance to explore the cultural side of our pearl of the Tuscan Archipelago too. Where do you want to start from?

Ancient Elba

The settlements on our island have given rise to 7 municipalities that really have a lot to tell. Many more than others. This is the case of Marciana, the true centre to aim for if you want to explore the ancient history of the island of Elba. Some very important finds from ancient times have been found here. They certainly are the proof to the fact that Elba was already inhabited in the Bronze Age. In the early 20th century, the island was the subject of many archaeological studies. Marciana is just over 20 kilometres from our hotel and can be the right destination to explore in the morning and then enjoy a swim in the afternoon.

Etruscans on Elba wrecks from the Roman era , the Middle Ages on Elba

The Etruscan civilization is the one that undoubtedly left many traces on our island. Many municipalities on the heights were born thanks to the Etruscans. The Necropolis of Casa del Duca in Portoferraio is one of the most significant places in terms of Etruscan history on the Island of Elba. Not to be forgotten is the Hellenistic Necropolis in Capoliveri.

Do you practice diving and are you thinking of taking a holiday on Elba? Book with us and ask us to tell you all about the Roman wrecks on the seabed around the island. They are among the most important testimonies of the Roman Age on the Island of Elba and proofs to the already strong commercial vocation of our territory.

The Middle Ages were a very turbulent time for our island, but, as we know, out of turbulent times come many beautiful things. The island of Elba was invaded by barbarians, the Ostrogoths to be precise. As if that wasn't enough, the Longobards also arrived, but they left their mark in some of the island's place names. In the 9th century the Saracens also arrived. Symbols of the Middle Ages in Elba are the watchtowers left by the Republic of Pisa, as well as some fortresses. Go to the Tower of San Giovanni or the Fortress of Marciana: observing the island from above is always a beautiful sight.

And then came Napoleon , he twentieth century and the two World Wars

The years from the 10th to the 19th century saw all sorts of conquests and events on the Island of Elba. One of the reasons for planning a holiday on our beautiful island is, without a doubt, the memory of Napoleon Bonaparte's presence. The French emperor arrived on 4th May 1814 and stayed for 10 months. Did you know that, during that period, he was actually the ruler of our island? He was not just an exiled guest. The Palazzina dei Mulini and Villa San Martino in Portoferraio are the places to visit to remember Bonaparte's stay on Elba.

What happened next? At the beginning of the 1900s something happened that changed the destiny and the economy of Elba: an important iron and steel company started building blast furnaces in Portoferraio. In those years, geologists realised how much our island could supply raw materials to the steelworks. The Second World War brought heavy bombardment in September 1943. The island was occupied by the Germans and liberated in 1944 by French forces.

Nowadays, it is tourism that drives the island's economy. The Hotel Acquamarina is ready to welcome you and show you all the beauty of the island and its very important cultural side.