Napoleonic Places

Mill Building


- Monday 1st May 9-13.30
- Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and holidays from 9.00 -13.30
- Monday and Thursday 14.00 - 18.30
- Closed: Tuesday, January 1st, December 25th.


Piazzale Napoleone, Portoferraio, Isola d'Elba

In this city residence Napoleon attempted to recreate, in a short space of time, the atmosphere of his court, in the hope of receiving a visit from his mother and his sister Pauline. Today it houses relics, furnishings and furniture from his time spent on the island, as well as a section of the interesting library which the Emperor brought with him and then donated to the Community of Portoferraio.

The task of adapting the military premises of the Palazzina dei Mulini for use as a residence was given to the architect Paolo Bargigli. In addition to the demolition of some military buildings, which was necessary to create an Italian garden, the work included the construction of a ballroom on the main floor, the renovation of the adjacent theatre and the transformation of the former prison into a stable.
A few months later, Napoleon – who had personally overseen not only the architectural design but also the choice of decorations and furnishings – moved into the small palace, decorated by Antonio Vincenzo Revelli from Piedmont, the official painter of the Elban court, and furnished with refined furniture and fittings.

Today, it houses relics, furnishings and furniture from that period as well as part of the Emperor’s interesting library, which was later donated to the Community of Portoferraio.
Despite the brief length of his exile on Elba, Napoleon still prioritised a rich library; therefore, in the space of a few months, he put together a collection of no less than 2378 volumes. In addition to his first selection of books, composed of 186 works personally chosen from the two libraries of the castle of Fontainebleau the night before he left France, many books were added by his uncle Cardinal Fesch, from purchases made in Livorno and other Italian cities and from volumes belonging to the Corps of Engineers, stationed in the building before his arrival.
The volumes coming from Fontainebleau, recognisable by their fine leather bindings bearing the imperial coat of arms, in some cases came directly from the Bourbon patrimony, and best reflect Napoleon’s interests. According to the inventory kept at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, history is the dominant theme of the collection, from classical Greek and Latin history to the ancient and modern history of France, and the history of Corsica, Napoleon’s native island. There are also many works of literature, from the Greek classics (Hesiod and Homer) to Latin authors (Virgil and Ovid) and the complete works of Voltaire. Theatre also occupies an important place, with both comic (the comedies of Molière, Regnard and Dancourt) and tragic (Racine) productions.



€ 5.00 intero
€ 2.00 ridotto


Timetabled entrance. Visitor slots start from the opening time and last 50 minutes. At the end of the hour, visitors need to leave the museum for the visitors of the following slot.

The Museum System in Portoferraio