Linguella Archaeological Museum
Open every day:
- From 1 to 12 June: 9.30-13.00; 15.30-18.30;
- From 13 June to 11 September: 9.30-13.00; 17.00-22.30;
- From 12 to 25 September: 9.30-13.00; 15.30-18.30;
- From 26 September to 2 November: 9.30-13.00; 15.30-18.30.
Piazzale della Linguella 5, 57037 Portoferraio (LI), (Comune di Portoferraio)
The Civic Archaeological Museum was established in 1981 in the majestic Linguella Fortress and offers visitors an incredible journey across eleven centuries, as they explore the exceptional finds unearthed during excavations on Elba itself and in its waters. The archaeological area takes in the collection housed in the ancient Salt Warehouses, the Roman villa in Piazzale della Linguella, which provided some of the exhibits in the museum, and the Linguella Tower overlooking the bay of Portoferraio.
The story of the Museum begins in the 8th century B.C., when the Etruscans, Carthaginians and early Greek settlers found a perfect trading crossroads on the island of Elba. As you walk past the initial exhibits in the museum, you will find bronzes and Punic, Phoenician, and Etruscan amphorae, showing how the sea connected the different populations, rather than dividing them.
A real journey through time through the archaeological finds from all over the territory, in an exceptional location surrounded by the sea.
It is no coincidence that Elba, the beating iron heart of Etruscan metallurgy, was long fought over in the Mediterranean, even attracting the Greeks from Syracuse who briefly managed to conquer Elba in the mid-5th century BC. Controlling the largest mining basin in the Mediterranean required a solid defence system even then, and in the Museum you can see remains from the hill fortresses of Procchio and Castiglione San Martino. These fortified Etruscan settlements, dating from the 5th to the 3rd century B.C, were located in strategic points to control both the sea and the land. Through detailed information sheets, the Linguella Museum allows visitors to understand how scientific research has shed light on the construction of these structures, the characteristics of their inhabitants and their ways of living, working, praying and even eating!
By the 3rd century BC, Roman power was no longer containable, spreading to Elba by force of trade rather than the sword, and diluting Etruscan culture. The shipwreck of Montecristo on display in the Museum provides a fascinating example of early Western globalisation, with the Greek-Italic amphorae of Sicilian production and the black-painted cups from Campania showing an increasingly dominant Roman culture in the Mediterranean.
A key powershift in the Mediterranean took place after the Roman victory over Hannibal, the Carthaginian general, in 202 BC. The Mediterranean was now firmly Roman, including its hematite jewel, Elba, and the process of cultural homologation and commercial expansion was complete. The shipwrecks of Sant’Andrea and the necropolis of Capoliveri provide evidence of the great exportation of Roman products, including amphorae of wine and oil and red-painted kitchenware from Arezzo which was prized from Northern Europe to Africa between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD.
It was at this time that a new socio-economic system based on villa estates was born and developed in Italy. These large residential and productive complexes on Elba were also used for otium, a Latin word referring to time spent in recreational and intellectual pursuits. The opulence of these villas can be clearly understood after viewing the floorplans and the remains from the two key Roman villas, Villa delle Grotte and the Villa della Linguella, used between the late Republican and early Imperial ages, which are on display in the museum,.
The last finds on display in the Museum come from the shipwrecks at Chiessi, Punta Cera and Porto Azzurro, which date from the Imperial age, when products imported from the provinces began to outnumber those made in Italy. This process was first identified through an examination of the contents of ships’ holds dating from the end of the 2nd century B.C., while by the 5th century A.D, Roman ships were carrying North African wine, oil, perfumes, imported pottery and foodstuffs from all over the provinces, bringing with them new styles of eating, new customs and possibly also new tastes.
Linguella FortressThe Civic Archaeological Museum was established in 1981 in the majestic Linguella Fortress and offers visitors ... Info
Full € 5.00
Reduced € 3.00 (children 9-18 years, university students, over 70, groups of min 15 people)
Full € 15.00
Reduced € 12.00 (children 9-18 years, university students, over 70, groups of min 15
Family € 10.00 per person (minimum 3 people)
Unfortunately, the Museum does not currently have any aids for people with disabilities and is not accessible for people with reduced mobility.
How to get there
Walk along the Medici docks, in Calata Buccari, and reach the Fortezza della Linguella at the end of the promenade that runs alongside the port. The entrance to the museum is after the gate, on the left.
To Learn More
- ALDERIGHI et alii 2103a= ALDERIGHI L., BENVENUTI M., BURACCHI A., CHIARANTINI L., DINI
- A., FIRMATI M., MILANESI M., PAGLIANTINI L., QUAGLIA L., 2013, Elba centroorientale: gli insediamenti antichi di Monte Moncione e Cima del Monte, in Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, Firenze, pp. 67-83.
- ALDERIGHI et alii 2013b= ALDERIGHI L., CAMBI F., FIRMATI M., MILANESI C., PAGLIANTINI L., 2013, Portoferraio (LI). Località San Giovanni: campagna di scavo 2012, in Notiziario della Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Toscana, Firenze, pp. 478-480.
- CAMBI F., CAVARI F., MASCIONE C., 2009, Materiali da costruzione e produzione del ferro. Studi sull’economia populoniese fra periodo etrusco e romanizzazione, Bari.
- CAMBI F., CORRETTI A., PAGLIANTINI L., c.d.s., AITHALE. Per una ripresa della ricerca archeologica all’isola d’Elba, in Atti del XXVIII Convegno di Studi Etruschi ed Italici (Bastia-Aleria-Piombino-Populonia 2011).
- Pagliantini L., 2019, Aithale, l’Isola d’Elba. Territorio, paesaggi, risorse, Bari.
- ZECCHINI M., 1978, Gli etruschi all’ Isola d’ Elba, Portoferraio.
- Zecchini M., 1982, Relitti romani dell’isola d’Elba, Lucca.
The Museum System in Portoferraio
History, Archaeology, Fortress