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Useful information

USEFUL INFORMATION

The Island of Elba is the third largest Italian island after Sicily and Sardinia and is the largest in the Tuscan Archipelago.It has recently become part of the Tuscan Archipelago's National Park together with the islands of Pianosa, Capraia, Montecristo, Giglio and Giannutri.

Elba has a coastline of 147 km: its main mountain (Monte Capanne) is 1019 metres high, accessed via pathways or by a panoramic cable car.Measuring 224 square km, the island is situated 10 km from the mainland with an excellent ferry boat service taking only one hour from Piombino to Portoferraio (the island's main town). Elba has approximately 30.000 inhabitants, of these, 11.000 live in Portoferraio. The island is divided into 8 administrativemunicipalities.It has an asphalt road network of 160 km and 80 km of panoramic macadam roads.

The climate is particularly mild with an average annual temperature of 15 to 16 degrees; the average temperature in winter is about 10 degrees, 14 degrees in spring, 23 degrees in summer and 17 degrees in autumn.The average water temperatures: in April 19 degrees, in May 20.2 degrees, in June 24.1 degrees, in July 26.8 degrees, in August 27.3 degrees, in September 25.5 and in October 23.1 degrees.

Already in ancient times Elba's destiny was always determined by two factors: its strategic position and the richness of its mineral resources. Due to these characteristics, it was often the object of conquest for the various powers along the Mediterranean.For the Etruscans and the Romans Elba represented an inexhaustible source of riches and the iron from Elba contributed to the prospering of its civilization.

During the Medieval period Elba was dominated by Pisa.
The remains of some important and striking defensive structures testify to the importance of possessing the island.The Appiani Lordship followed, as did the attentions of Cosimo de Medici, who built "Cosmopoli" on top of the ruins of the Roman city of Fabricia - now the capital Portoferraio - and had it surrounded with the impressive walls that saved the inhabitants from many pirate raids.The Spaniards settled in Porto Azzurro and they, too, constructed some impressive fortresses - San Giacomo and Focardo.

In more recent history, the period that made this island famous and placed it on the world map was the brief exile of Napoleon, who stayed here for 9 month and 23 days prior to his 100 days adventure which ended in Waterloo.Bonaparte left a significant mark of his short reign: Important reforms and buildings like his townhouse "Villa dei Mulini" in Portoferraio and his impressing summer residence "San Martino" - both are today museums and can be visited.

The island first opened to tourism soon after 1950 but has managed to preserve its coastline, flora and fauna thanks to its local administration and inhabitants.A tiny airport services the island, permitting only small planes to land from a few privileged European cities. Most visitors arrive by car, others by train travelling to Piombino Marittima station which is very close to the ferry landing place.