Elba is the largest of the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, the largest of the seven pearls that legend has it made up of the necklace lost by Aphrodite and which gave rise to the islands of Tuscany. It is the third largest Italian island (22,350 hectares), and is 10 km from the coast of Piombino, 40 km from Capraia and 50 km from Corsica. It is administratively divided into seven municipalities: Campo nell'Elba, Capoliveri, Marciana, Marciana Marina, Porto Azzurro, Portoferraio and Rio.
Its triangular shape is crossed by a ridge of mountains and hills that culminates in the western summit of Mount Capanne, 1019 meters above sea level. It is precisely its unique conformation, green with woods and meadows, combined with the richness of its subsoil, where there is a concentration of ferrous hematite, that led to the island being at the centre of very early exploitation dynamics. Located at a Mediterranean crossroads, Elba witnessed the alternation of Roman and Etruscan power, and was then subjected to continual pirate raids during the Middle Ages.
During the Renaissance, Cosimo de’ Medici, realising its strategic importance, launched the grandiose project to build his ideal city, renamed Cosmopoli, near what is now Portoferraio, and later, after entering the orbit of the Principality of Piombino, became famous throughout the world as the site of Napoleon’s first exile.
Such a complex history, summed up in a few lines, can be explored in the various museums scattered around the island, for an experience which combines the beauty of the landscapes with important cultural aspects.