A French steamship which sank in the 19th century off the island of Elba and the story of the precious jewels, gems and ancient coins found on board. Learn about the incredible adventure of these submerged treasures, and how they were recovered, in this small museum in the heart of the historic centre of Capoliveri.
The Maritime Museum of Capoliveri, inaugurated in April 2014 in the restored premises in Via Palestro, houses the exhibition “The Polluce disaster – Shipwreck at Capoliveri” curated by the Tuscan Superintendence of Archaeology and the Municipality of Capoliveri. This exhibition tells the story of the shipwreck of the Polluce, a steamship built in France in 1839 which sank on 17 June 1841 off the coast of Capo Calvo.
The ship’s entire cargo was lost during the disaster, despite the efforts of its owner, the famous Genoese shipowner Raffaele Rubattino, to recover the precious artefacts. The treasure remained on the seabed until the year 2000, when some British treasure hunters managed to unearth part of the sunken treasure by means of a scam. On the pretext of recovering the wreck of a British merchant ship, the “Glean Logan”, which sank during the First World War, they provided the coordinates of the Pollux wreck, obtained a search permit and found part of the sunken treasure. Fortunately, the treasure was recovered before it was auctioned on the British market and the remaining treasure was subsequently brought to the surface.
Precious jewellery, gold coins and curious objects await you in this small jewel of a museum, guarding treasures from the deep!
The Maritime Museum houses the precious cargo of the Polluce, which was lost in the 1841 shipwreck and recovered between 2000 and 2005. Inside the museum you can admire the magnificent and valuable exhibits which were on board the vessel. These include ship’s documents, letters and various goods, as well as a large number of everyday objects from the time, such as tableware, cabin fittings and on-board objects. Together with all these objects, the real “treasure” of the Polluce is also on display! Visitors can wonder at the large cargo of gold and silver coins which was on board the steamer, together with beautiful gold jewellery, ornaments and small porcelain statues.
Various educational activities and workshops are regularly organised at the Maritime Museum.
The museum has an entrance suitable for people with disabilities and there are no architectural barriers inside.
The museum has audio guides in different languages, but the texts of the panels are only in Italian.
The explanatory video of the museum is only in Italian.
How to get there
The building is located under the central square of Capoliveri, Piazza Matteotti, and can be reached from the ancient Via Palestro.