The Roman villa in Le Grotte
Open every day from April to October: 10.00-12.00 and 15.30 - 18.30
During the rest of the year it can be visited by appointment.
SP26, Località Le Grotte
57037, Portoferraio, Isola d'Elba (LI)
Tel. +39 0565 1933589
An incredible archaeological area overlooking the Gulf of Portoferraio which, with its sumptuous terraces and crystal seas, allows visitors to imagine the opulence of a villa built for the wealthy aristocracy in the early Roman empire. The Villa in Le Grotte has been the subject of a long research project conducted by the University of Siena in collaboration with the Tuscan Archaeological Superintendency and the Municipality of Portoferraio, which has led to the creation of one of the most significant and exciting archaeological areas of the Tuscan Archipelago.
The view which greets visitors entering the gate of the archaeological area is breath-taking: a large garden surrounded by a portico – now no longer standing – with a view across the Gulf of Portoferraio. This dramatic entrance gives visitors an understanding of the true meaning of opulence and indulgence in the Imperial Roman era.
The path winds its way through a series of terraces which descend towards sea level, where the many residential rooms are located. Complexes of this type were used as genuine residences dedicated to reflection and relaxation, but there were also rooms for the production and storage of foodstuffs, especially wine.
In nearby San Giovanni, there is actually the oldest section of the complex, which was built as an independent villa at the end of the 2nd century BC.
One of the most important archaeological sites of the whole archipelago, with an incredible view across the gulf of Portoferraio
In the 1st century BC, when the wealthy Valerii family began to expand the complex, they decided to use the original section for production, and put their slaves to work there.
Visitors shouldn’t be surprised to learn that this large, luxurious villa was even visited by the famous poet Ovid, shortly before he was exiled.
Full 5 €
Reduced 3 €
(valid for 7 days) For entrances to the Falcone / Fortresses, Pinacoteca and Roman Villa delle Grotte:
Full 12 €
Reduced 10 €
Family (min. 3 pers.) 10 €
Visitors can book guided tours with archaeologists.
The archaeological park offers a wide range of activities based around the historical, cultural and naturalistic values of the Villa and the Rada di Portoferraio walk. These include workshops and lessons for school groups, excursions across the hill to the small village of San Giovanni, following the cultural route known as the "Cammino della Rada".
The archaeological park has a reduced visiting route which is disabled-friendly, but it does not have any further disabled facilities.
How to get there
From Portoferraio take the provincial road to Porto Azzurro then turn left after about 5 km (be careful as you will reach the top of the hill after a long straight stretch of about 2 km) and you will reach a large clearing where you can park. Note that footwear suitable for rough terrain is required.
You can get to the archaeological site by bus, enjoying a 50% reduction on the entrance fee.
You can walk from San Giovanni along a section of the Cammino della Rada.
To Learn More
Nel 2019 nasce il progetto Dream LAND per dare nuova vita alla ricerca archeologica nell’Isola d’Elba, partendo da quello straordinario monumento archeologico rappresentato dalla Villa romana delle Grotte. Fine ultimo è la digitalizzazione delle informazioni di scavo e la trasformazione dei dati scientifici in prodotti per la fruizione collettiva:
The Museum System in Portoferraio
Villa of San Martin
The Roman villa of Linguella
NAT LAB Museum
Linguella Archaeological Museum
History, Archaeology, Fortress