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Elba Island & Tuscan Archipelago.
Area/Bike Park

Elba Island & Tuscan Archipelago.

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Elba Island & Tuscan Archipelago.

Page Type: Area/Bike Park

Location: Livorno, Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 42.59928°N / 10.55411°E

Trail Type: Cross Country, Downhill, Mountain, Cyclocross, Trials, Touring

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter


Page By: chaberton

Created/Edited: Jun 29, 2013 / Jun 29, 2013

Object ID: 287525

Hits: 7999 

Page Score: 72.08%  - 2 Votes 

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Region: Tuscany
Province: Grosseto and Livorno
Common: Campo Elba, Capoliveri, Marciana, Marciana Marina, Porto Azzurro, Portoferraio, Rio Marina, Rio nell'Elba; Capraia Island, Giglio Island, Livorno.

Mountain Community of Elba and Capraia.

Year of Establishment: 1996, expanded in 1997.
Size: 17,694 to 61,474 hectares on land and sea.

Altitude: Sea level to 1018 m of the mountain huts (Isola d'Elba).
Location: It is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea and composed by the seven major islands (Elba, Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Giannutri and Gorgona) and smaller islands.

The seven islands

of the Tuscan Archipelago are characterized by extremely diverse natural environments due to a rather complex geological history: Capraia has volcanic origin, Gorgona is formed by metamorphic rocks, sedimentary rocks Pianosa and accumulation conchiliferi that contain marine fossils, sediments Giannutri limestone and dolomite, Montecristo is entirelygranite, as nearly the entire island of Giglio, while Elba is the most diverse in terms of geomorphological and includes in the western part the Monte Tabernacles, the highest peak in the eastern part of the Archipelago and the mining areas rich in iron that so characterized the history and economy of the island.

Golden sunset.
Marina di Campo

The headquarters.

The Tuscan Archipelago National Park located in the former of tuna Enfola. What remains visible today is only the Arsenal that characterized the complex of tuna Enfola.

Constituted the main body of the building where they held some stages of the processing of tuna and winter were deposited boats, nets and cables that made up the whole trap.

The front of the Arsenal and adjacent areas, including a small chapel, the warehouse and the cabin directed, have suffered over the years continued deterioration and changes.
Since 1999 he has been put in place a process of restoration of the former tuna dell'Enfola. In 2010, the last completed redevelopment work and safety of the entire structure.
The long process of historical recovery of the building was completed with the grant to the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, which neither took possession flat in the month of March.

Getting There

The island of Elba is accessible throughout the year with an hour by boat from the port of Piombino (LI). From here the maritime connections reach Portoferraio, the main port of the island, Rio Marina, Porto Azzurro and cable. You can also reach the island by plane, stopping at the airport located in La Pila, in the municipality of Campo nell'Elba.

The island of Giglio is accessible throughout the year with an hour by boat from the port of Porto Santo Stefano (GR). From here the maritime connections reach Giglio Porto, the main port of the island. Access by car to the island is restricted during the summer.

The island of Pianosa is open since 1998, when the prison was closed, but it is still in progress its transformation after 150 years of prison life, so the visits are limited and guided walks.
To reach the island of Pianosa throughout the year, we start every Tuesday from Rio Marina with ferries Toremar.

To visit the island of Montecristo is necessary to obtain a specific authorization joint between State Forest and Park Authority. It should be noted, however, that the island is accessible in a quota to a maximum of 1000 people per year.

Portoferraio Harbor
Portoferraio Harbor

Birth of the Tuscan Archipelago

The islands of the Tuscan archipelago are composed of various types of rocks: igneous, both intrusive (granite, porphyry and granite veins aplitici) and effusive (basalts and rhyolites), sedimentary (limestone, sandstone, etc..), Metamorphic (phyllite, gneiss, marble, etc..) in addition to the famous clusters of iron ore minerals of the eastern part of the island of Elba.
These rocks show particular aspects that relate to their various and distant areas of origin, giving us the tangible proof and overlapping movements that have enabled the creation of the Tuscan Archipelago. We may coincide with the beginning of the history of the Archipelago that geological period called the Triassic Period (230-240 million years ago), although in reality the metamorphic rocks that form the peninsula Magnet, Isle Elba, is a fragment of the African continent dated about 570 million years.

As a result of divergent movements, inside the globe, suffered a progressive thinning of the lithosphere until it reaches the break, which defined the formation of two large plates: the proto-European and proto-African with a central sea: the Tethys, distant ancestor of the Mediterranean.

The complex interaction between these two masses, with the alternation of divergent and convergent movements, led to the birth, first, the Alps and, then, the northern Apennines which is closely linked to the birth of the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Over the past 10 million years, at the same time to a period of extensional events, to a depth indicative of about 20 - 30 Km, occurred the phenomena of melting of some rocks and magmas, derived from them, ascended to the surface. These magmas, escaping, led to a series of volcanic eruptions that formed the basic structure of the island of Capraia (between 9 and 4.5 million years ago). In other cases, the magma remained trapped at a certain depth within the earth's crust, where it cools slowly, originated granitic bodies that outcrop at present: the Monte Tabernacles (Elba), Island of Montecristo and Giglio Island.

In combination with these magmatic events, developed remarkable phenomena that affected metamorphic rock formations existing and led to the current configuration of the island of Gorgona.

Giannutri, formed by calcareous-dolomitic sediments, is very similar to the mountains of the nearby Apennine chain. During the Quaternary (from about 1.5 million years ago to the present), the whole archipelago was affected by phenomena of marine transgression and regression associated primarily to fluctuations in sea level due to glacial and interglacial periods. In particular, in the late Pliocene Tuscan sea regressed markedly and surfaced, the last of the islands of the Archipelago, Pianosa, a platform without qualification, consisting of sedimentary rocks and accumulation conchiliferi. In the late Pleistocene (about 125,000 years ago), during the so-called Tyrrhenian transgression, the sea came up to 15 meters above the current level and the Archipelago was enriched with the islands of Piombino, Argentario and the magnet, which broke away from the rest areas of the island of Elba.
During the Würm glaciation (about 75,000 to 11,000 years ago), the sea level dropped to 100 meters below the current level and the Elbe, connected to the mainland, became a peninsula jutting out to Corsica with two headlands, one to the south , who joined with Pianosa and Africhella, the other to the north, which stretched as far as a few miles from Capraia. In the Archipelago, remained as islands Capraia, Giglio, Giannutri, Montecristo and Gorgona. After the culmination Wurmian the sea returned slowly to climb up to reach the current level, returning to the sea and its seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago.


The Park includes the seven islands of the Tuscan rafts scattered in the Tyrrhenian Sea have become the cradle of a great variety of natural environments, each with a unique and original from the point of view of geological and wildlife and plant. The Park also includes many marine areas around the islands for a total of 567.66 square kilometers Elba is the largest island with an area of 233.50 sq km, 21.20 sq km followed by Giglio, Capraia 19.30 sq km, 10.40 sq km Montecristo, Pianosa 10.25 square kilometers, Giannutri the southernmost 2 6 square kilometers and Gorgona in the end, the smallest and Northern Europe, with an area of 2.2 square kilometers.

The islands are made up of igneous rocks, lavas and sediments indicate that the complex geological origin in the later stages led to the formation of the Archipelago. The Mediterranean brings together many different habitats which houses rare species of flora, some plants are even endemic, peculiar to individual islands. The fauna is also presenting unique endemic and rare as the rarest gull of the Mediterranean Gull course, protected by European directives for the high conservation value. Even the delicate and rich marine environment is protected and, for the large presence of marine mammals, was istiutito the Cetacean Sanctuary, which in addition to the sea Archipelago encompasses a wide area of the Tirreno.

Capo Poro
Capo Poro


The waters of the Tuscan represent the largest marine park in Europe. Its waters are characterized by a wide variety of habitats. The great biological diversity of the Archipelago is due, also, to the diversity of the coastline and the seabed off the coast of Giannutri limestone granite cliffs to the south of Giglio and Montecristo by volcanic rocks of Capraia,
through the diversity of beaches on Elba north to get back to the limestone rocks of Gorgona, a myriad of plant and animal species are best suited to settle the seabed. In the tidal zone, firmly anchored to rocks, limpets compete for space with the dog's teeth, while at the limit of low tide, lives tomato seafood, biological indicator of unpolluted waters.


The geological history of the Tuscan starts from 230 to 240 million years ago, although the rocks that make up the peninsula Magnet Elba are a fragment of the African continent at least 400 million to 500 million years old. In the formation of the islands of the magmatism and volcanoes have played a major role. The Capraia volcanic originated, about 9 million years ago, a series of eruptions, visible to the beautiful Cala Rossa, on which stands the Tower of Zenobito.
Gorgona is formed by rocks of metamorphic origin that have affected pre-existing formations. Montecristo is entirely granite, as well as almost the entire island of Giglio. Still different the genesis of Pianosa, without qualification, consisting of sedimentary rocks and accumulation conchiliferi that contain marine fossils. The jagged rock Giannutri is a fully formed from limestone and dolomitic sediments, with origins similar to the findings of the nearby Apennine chain.

Mediterranean Thicket.
Mediterranean Thicket.

The island of Elba is the most diverse in terms of geomorphology. It presents mountainous in the west with the massif of Tabernacles, the highest peak in the archipelago (1018 m) and dominated by the mountains in the eastern part of the Top of Mount Magnet and, where crop gneiss and marble. The flat central area, most populated, and is composed of alluvial clays, sandstones and limestones. The areas of the Elbe consist of granodiorite and granite are due to rise to the surface of two large intrusive magmatic bodies, get cold within the earth's crust. The development day of the West has generated the massif of Tabernacles, thereby exposing our observation its pegmatitic veins with the beautiful crystallization of tourmaline, aquamarine and quartz. The eastern magmatic body is almost completely remained at a greater depth, covered by shales and limestones.

On Elba east are found the famous iron ore that both have marked the history, the economy and the landscape of the island. The island of Elba is one of the most important and famous places mineralogical and historical mining of the world: "... not only the lands of iron ... but the whole Elba ... Mineralogical Museum is a great outdoors. " And micaceous crystals of pyrite in Rio, the ilvaite and magnetite magnets, the polychrome tourmaline and beryl of St. Peter and St. Hilary, as many of the about 150 mineral species identified in the island, are exhibited in major museums nature of the world. In the museums of mineralogy at the Universities of Florence and Pisa, as well as in museums Tonietti in Rio Marina and Ricci in Rio Elba, you can admire the extraordinary specimens of many species mineralogical Elba: minerals of copper (azurite, malachite, cuprite , chrysocolla), iron (hematite, magnetite, ilvaite, limonite and pyrite), those of the pegmatites (tourmaline, beryl, quartz, orthoclase), as well as other minerals such as garnet, gypsum and calcite.

This extraordinary cultural and scientific heritage has been enhanced with the establishment of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago. UNESCO has added the mining areas

in Elba provisional list of geological sites of World Heritage: "to protect and enhance what inalienable human and non-renewable and exhaustible resource for those tourist activities which today form the economic driver of the Archipelago" . Virgil, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus and other classical authors have described the activities in the iron mines and quarries of granite Aethalia of Greek and Roman Ilva. To this day, albeit with mixed success, continued mining in mining areas and in the area of the granite, indelibly marking the landscape, history and traditions of this small but wonderful piece of the planet.

In the past Islands flogged by Pirates!
Watchtower against the Saracens.

Camping & Red Tape

Elba Camping

Giglio Camping

Capraia Camping


NONE on the Elba Island.

SPECIAL restrictions fot the presence of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago on the islands of Montecristo and Pianosa.


Golden sunset.In the past Islands flogged by Pirates!Beautiful island,  back you to being!The Archipelago<font color=red>MONTECRISTO</font> The Neverland!Portoferraio HarborThe Rock of the Eagle.
Giglio IslandCapo PoroMediterranean Thicket.Gorgeous architecture.