Portoferraio

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The Napoleonic chapter from 1814 and 1815 pushed Elba and its capital Portoferraio into the centre of international attention. Napoleon took residence in the highest part of the township, near Fort Stella, a position from where he could dominate the township, the port and the open sea. The Napoleonic palace, named also Villa dei Mulini, is a simple construction, in following with Tuscan style, which the Emperor left relatively unchanged. The central part was heightened and a Ball Room was created, nearby a building was transformed into a small theatre. To this day a few objects of art, furniture and documents relating to the Napoleonic period are still preserved in the Palace. One of the most important objects it contains is Elba's first flag and the Emperor's personal library, donated by him to the township. Nearby the church of Reverenda Misericordia where a service is held every year on the 5th of May in suffrage of Napoleon. The museum attached to it contains amongst other things his funeral mask and other personal belonging of the French Emperor; most of which were donated by Prince Anatolio Demidoff. The Teatro dei Fortunati, subsequently named dei Vigilanti, was also built by Napoleon on the site of the former church of the Carmine. Napoleon's summer residence, villa San Martino, 5 km from Portoferraio was adapted by Prince Demidoff in the middle of the 19th century when he added a grandiose gallery to it. Portoferraio has many important beaches and a diverse coastline that ranges from rocky promontories and inlets of sand to smooth white pebble beaches, namely Le Ghiaie, Capo Biano, Enfola, Biodola and Scaglieri.