The town of Rio Marina overlooks the Strait of Piombino, directly facing the Tuscan coast, and is the centre of the Island of Elba’s mining tradition. For thousands of years, its economy was based entirely on the mining and shipping of iron ore and it is only recently, with the closure of the mines, that it has turned its attention to tourism. However, the remains of this prosperous past can still be viewed and enjoyed today.
The life of the small town, framed by a landscape of hills with distinctive iron-red colours, focuses principally on the area near the harbour which, dominated by the Appiani or Clock Tower, shelters the town beach, with its brilliant colour contrasts produced by the black haematite sand. The community has considered it only fitting to conserve and promote the mining heritage and the hard work of the miners who shaped its history, and a visit to the Parco Minerario, or mining park, is not to be missed by visitors to Rio Marina: the Mineral Museum, in the town’s historic centre, is the first port of call, followed by guided tours, on foot or on the charming little train, of the zone’s main mining areas.
Cavo, the section of the island’s coastline closest to the mainland, is also in the municipality of Rio. Although small, it is an attractive village with good amenities and a long beach of white shingle sand, running all around the town’s gulf. Like Rio Marina, Cavo is a port used for ferry services to and from Piombino; they are the only alternatives to Portoferraio.
The quiet beaches of Cala del Telegrafo and Cala Seregola are along the road from Cavo to Rio Marina. Ortano and Capo d’Arco are well-developed holiday locations to the south of Rio Marina.
Not to be missed ….
Religious celebrations, fireworks and many other events are organised on 16 August each year to mark the feast day of San Rocco, patron saint of Rio Marina.