The history of Elba is link to its iron deposits. The ones located on the island are some of the most ancient exploited deposits in the world. The first one to begin to exploit the mineral reserves of the territory were the Etruscans, but even Greeks used to know well the resources of the island that they used to call Aethalia “the sooty island”.
Starting from the XI century the mines belonged to various states that conquered the island of Elba: Pisa, Piombino, Napoleon Bonaparte and the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
The mines of Elba have been active for centuries until 1950 when, after the appearance of the international competitors and of tourism, they started to close one after the other.
Today the mines have been transformed into an open air museum. Particularly interesting to visit is the Mineral Park of Rio Marina, the most ancient mine of the island. The park is accessible only if accompanied by a guide leading visitors to discover the lunar landscapes, the red sands and the rest of the structures of the mine.
Not to be missed is even a tour in Capoliveri towards the Mines of Mount Calamita, the largest deposit of magnetite in Europe. Here is possible to visit the Galleria del Ginevro, a gallery that develops underground for over 50 m. When it has abandoned, the mine had been exploited only for a third and experts think that the deposits can still be present underground up to 250 m.