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Visita il Mugello, culla dei Medici, a due passi da Firenze e le bellezze toscane

Visiting Tuscany



Towns of the area

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Inhabitants in 1991: 11.042

It is the capital of Elba; its territory extends for 47,78 square kilometres on a promontory and along the gulf of the same name, and comprises also the Island of Montecristo. Historic capital it was named city by Ferdinando II in 1637.

Of Roman origin with the name of Fabricia, destroyed by the Saracens and revived in VIII century as Feraria, from the year one thousand, it belonged to Pisa until 1399 when it constituted (with the rest of Elba, Pianosa, Montecristo and the Piombinese territory) the Lordship of the Appiani. The basis of the further development of Portoferraio, whose harbour and defensive vocation is written in its extraordinary orographic and morphologic character, was the surrender sanctioned by Emperor Carlo V in 1548, to Cosimo I de’Medici. This gave immediate rise to extensive fortification works there and Cosimo then re-baptised it with the name of Cosmopoli; other works were undertaken by Ferdinando II and subsequently by Cosimo III. During the course of the XVIII century the square of Portoferraio played an important role in the strategies and treaties of the great European powers. After the brief interlude of the English domination (1796-1799) it passed to the French State; but the period of greatest celebrity was from May 1814 to February 1815 when it was the residence of Napoleon and capital of the little Sovereign State of Elba. It then became in 1815 a part of the Grand Duchy. During the Fascism it was the centre of strong opposition to the regime, particularly among the steel workers; and during the German occupation it contributed to the liberation war with the activity of an autonomous partisan nucleus.

Places to visit:
Palazzo Comunale, known also with the name of Biscotteria, because of the bread ovens therein. It was built in 1562 and visibly remodelled in the 1800s.
Palazzina dei Mulini and Villa San Martino, elegant constructions adapted for Napoleon’s stay, forming the National Museum of the Napoleonic Residence.
Bastioni Medicei, imposing defensive barrier constructed by Buontalenti in 1558.
Forte Stella, stately 1400s construction, now occupied as a private house.
Civil Museum of Archaeology, hosts a collection of underwater and island finds, datable from VIII century B.C. to the late Imperial era.
Cathedral, XVI century construction, it was enlarged in the successive centuries. It is entitled for the Nativita of Maria.
Church of the Misericordia, erected in 1582 and remodelled in 1700s, has a small museum of Napoleonic relics annexed to it.

Historical info reproduced upon authorization of Regione Toscana - Dipartimento della Presidenza E Affari Legislativi e Giuridici
Translated by Ann Mountford

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