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Isola d'Elba e Aecipelago Toscano
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Tuscan Archipelago >> History
"From the Roman Period to the "Signorie"
The Etruscan civilisation started to be overshadowed by the rise of Roma in the 3rd century B.C. The remains of military fortresses built to defend the territory are visible all over the archipelago. The Etruscan civilisation started to be overshadowed by the rise of Roma in the 3rd century B.C. The remains of military fortresses built to defend the territory are visible all over the archipelago.
From the Prehistoric Era
to the Etruscans
From the 16th Century
to Napoleon
Today and the Penal Settlements
In 67 B.C. a Roman law tried to put to end the incursions of pirates in the Mediterranean and enhanced the of the mines of Elba as the iron was used to arm the ships that affronted the plunderers. In the meantime the granite caves on Montecristo were used to extract the green stone which adorned the Patrician houses on the mainland. With the end of the pirating the extraction of minerals also ended and flourishing trade harbours along the coastline were founded. The islands exported vine, dried fish, precious stones and agricultural products. Luxury villas of the Romans started to be built, some of them got to the archipelago because they had wanted to, others were confined on behalf of the Roman emperors who wanted to get rid of people who had created problems at home. This is the case of Agrippa Postumo who was deported to Pianosa by the emperor August, his uncle, as Agrippa hated the emperors family. Giglio and Giannutri became property of the descendents of the mad emperor Nero, but also Capraia, Gorgona and Elba have marvellous Patrician villas. When the terrible persecutions of Christians started in Rome, many Christians were deported to the islands of the archipelago. The victims of the imperial deportation built catacombs and hermitages for the monastery life which was extended to other parts of Europe from the Tuscan islands. The monks on Capraia built a small convent and the church of Santo Stefano Protomartire in Piano in order to satisfy their spiritual life. This example was followed by others on Montecristo and Gorgona. In 500 the Pope Gregorius the Great used Gorgona as a place for confinement and penitence for monks who had been too restless and more interested in other pleasures than the spiritual pleasure. The monastery of San Mamiliano on Montecristo remained a vital centre of the monastery life until 1500 when it was sacked by the plunderer Dragut who took the big treasure. The writer Alexandre Dumas was so fascinated by the story that he wrote about the search for the plunderer in the famous book "The Count of Montecristo". After a long period of decline, coinciding with the incursions of the barbarians in the whole peninsula, the archipelago starts to re-flourish when, around the X century, it becomes part of the Marine Republic of Pisa which decides to extract minerals again. A period of economic prosperity begins on Elba and Giglio thanks to the metallurgical activities. The prosperity also involves the smaller islands as they are located along the main trade routes. But the peace did not last long. With the rise of Genoa and its conflicts with Pisa for the supremacy of the Mediterranean the archipelago is the centre of battles and violence. The final battle in Meloria in 1284 is a total disaster for the Pisans and the islanders, who had been loyal to their governors. A new decline begins which from the XIV and the XV century led to a famine and subsequently almost all inhabitants left the islands. The archipelago then became property of different kingdoms and governors, that decided to sell it to the best offerer, until, in 1500, new bloodbaths started, as the strategic location of the islands always led them to be in the centre of the plans of politicians and European kings.

Photos from APT Tuscan Archipelago and Mediaweb srl.
Villaggio Innamorata Isola d'Elba
Prenotazione on line Traghetti Isola d'Elba
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