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Tuscan Archipelago >> Economy
he biggest economical efforts made by the Italian government go back to the period just after the end of the World War II with the launch of the construction and the infrastructure as a substitute for the closing of the iron and steel factory in Portoferraio. But the intents were not always appropriate. Today the economy of the Tuscan islands is based on the tourist sector, apart from the parts of the Archipelago forbidden for visitors which have become sanctuaries for research and protection some years ago. The services and the activities connected with the tourism are without any doubt the spring of the development of the Tuscan archipelago and the principal income for its inhabitants. The management of the accommodations, the restaurants, the businesses and the services that are offered to the tourists not only makes the holiday pleasant but also fills the islanders' pockets.
The tourism has become a real industry on the biggest Tuscan islands, though, fortunately, the intense construction activities of the 70's ended in time and did not manage to cover these marvellous sites with cement. Even where the tourism sector has gained land the islands have preserved the landscape and the typical architecture, avoiding the construction of a never-ending number of residence-houses which would have made all parts of the archipelago look the same. Yet the bars, restaurants, hotels, tourist villages, night-clubs, discos and play-grounds, built to satisfy all tastes and any extravagant need of the visitors, are the pumping heart of the Tuscan islands. But the tourism on the islands open for visitors is not the only important sector. The shipyards represent a flourishing industry due to the fact that boats are the main transportation. The farming has recently regained vitality, after having been almost abandoned during the first years of the 20th century. The vine-pest that destroyed all wine-yards, the emigration and the division of property, the illusion of easy-earned money from the extraction of minerals determined the abandon of the farming on the islands, except for Montecristo where the farm industry has never existed due to the rocky ground. Here the fishing industry has always been the main activity. The upswing of the agriculture, in particular on Elba and Giglio, is partly due to the mass-tourism as the wine production has increased thanks to the big demand for wines during the summer months. So it is possible to say that the tourism has favoured the wine production. A consortium for the Elba wine was founded some years ago in order to meet the demand. The Consortium represents almost 70% of the Doc grapes produced on the island and is now working on a different wine itineraries known as the "wine roads" for the visitors who prefer a holiday on the countryside with wine and food. Another important economic activity for the Tuscan archipelago is the fishing sector, but this sector lost some of its importance during the first years of the 20th century as a consequence of the over-fishing. Already during the Romans, some Patrician villas had fish-ponds, and the fishermen from Giglio and Elba were famous in the Thyrrenian sea for their fishing of anchovies which were preserved under salt. The invasion of fishermen from other ports caused a reduction of the blue fish shoals close to the coastline of the Tuscan islands and a significant drawback for the industry which had been the most important one for the islands until then. The Elban fishermen were famous for their skill in fishing tuna.The tuna-boats had up to 100 people on board at a time, but recently even these brave old salts have had to give up the fishing and chose other activities as the presence of tuna has decimated in the Tuscan water during the last years due to over-fishing. The Elbans are known for their ceramics. The only tools they use are their hands and the lathe, respecting the tradition. But the artisans design new shapes in order to meet the demand from the interior decorators who can find accents made of precious refractory clay and volcanic clay that resist cold without breaking. The outcome of these terracotta jewels depend on the elegance of the decor and the artisans' taste regarding colours. Unique and inestimable products with some small defect that shows that it is hand-made.

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