To quote Plinio il vecchio The Island of Good Wine, and this explains the many ships carrying amphoras full of wine, many of which can be admired in the Archeological Museums in Portoferraio and Marciana. These, along with amazing findings the sea has brought in, tell the story of ancient sailings. The magnificent patrician villas in La Linguella, Le Grotte and Capo Castello were built in some of the island's most beautiful gulfs, and even today are places of absolute bliss.
During the Middle Ages it was Repubblica marinara di pisa's turn to exploit the iron mines and granite deposits in Elba: indeed most of the columns in Piazza dei Miracoli were made from skilled stone-cutters from San Piero. There is much proof of the Pisan presence too: the elegant Romanesque churches and the San Giovanni in campo Tower, built on a giant granite rock, but above all the majestic "Fortress" in Marciana and the Volterraio castle, standing on guard to protect the mountains and the sea.
The Medici arrived in 1548: Cosimo I built the fortified town of Portoferraio, considered a military gem. The harmony between sea, land and architecture was so perfect that the new town was given the name of strong>Cosmopoli, "heart of civilization and culture, a perfect example of balance and rationality". Immediately afterwards the Spanish settled in Porto Azzurro and built not only the majestic Forte San Giacomo, today a prison, but also various chapels, as well as the suggestive santuario di Monserrato, set on a high "dolomitic" mountain.