Ancient stories of granite and age-old trades intertwine with some of the most spectacular white sandy beaches on Elba. A rich territory which also includes the fascinating little island of Pianosa, which was once the site of a maximum-security prison and is now an uncontaminated oasis, where enchanted coves and houses eroded by the salt-marsh tell the incredible story of the area.
The municipality of Campo nell’Elba extends from the Gulf of Lacona to Pomonte. Marina di Campo, the main town, was once a fishermen’s village stretching along the wide sandy bay. Today it is the main centre of the municipality and one of the most popular destinations during the summer. On the western end of the bay of Marina di Campo stands an imposing tower, built as a defence system.
Today the whole area has excellent hotel facilities and offers tourists the possibility of choosing between a lively holiday on the coast or a quiet, secluded stay in the picturesque inland villages of San Piero or Sant’Ilario. The seaside hamlets of Cavoli, Seccheto, Fetovaia and the island of Pianosa are also part of the municipal district. In the municipality of Campo nell’Elba there is the airport of La Pila, which connects the island of Elba with several Italian and European cities.
The hamlet of Sant’Ilario, situated on a hill at 207 metres above sea level, with the gulf of Marina di Campo in front and the mountains behind, is one of the oldest and most characteristic villages on the island. In Sant’Ilario visitors can admire the parish church of S. Giovanni, a sacred Romanesque building dating back to the 12th century.
Un territorio rigoglioso, che vanta alcuni fra gli arenili più spettacolari dell’Elba e che include anche l’affascinante isola di Pianosa.
Along the road to San Piero, visitor will find the Tower of San Giovanni in Campo, an important Pisan monument which dominates the surrounding landscape. San Piero towers over the granite plateau of Monte Capanne, 227 metres above sea level. Here visitors will find the famous quarries, rich in minerals, which caused Elba to be known as the “treasure trove of granite.” San Piero is also home to an important religious sight, the Church of San Niccolò, and the MuM, the Luigi Celleri Mineralogical Museum, which is a great place to learn about the variety of minerals from the area and is also the starting point for treks and adventures along the Granite path and many other trails to discover the secrets of the island.
The Island of Pianosa, located to the south-west outside the bay of Marina di Campo and clearly visible from the coast, has a very ancient history which dates back to the Neolithic period. In Roman times, the island was the place of exile of Postumius Agrippa, nephew of Augustus, who built the large maritime residential complex that is still partly visible today.
In the twentieth century, the island was home to a maximum-security prison, which closed in 1998, and today it is possible to visit this enchanted oasis through guided excursions which explore the rich island territory.
Thanks to an agreement between the Tuscan Archipelago National Park Authority and the Municipality of Campo nell’Elba, the Museum of Geological and Archaeological Sciences of Pianosa Island, located in a section of the former prison, has recently opened to the public, allowing visitors to explore its centuries-old history.