Rio nell’Elba, which clings to the slopes of Mount Capannello in the north-eastern part of the island, is one of its oldest towns. Ideal for tourists looking for a peaceful holiday, it also offers the opportunity for cultural enrichment. With its many historic and cultural sites, the area is an open book, recounting its past to visitors. In the town’s main square is the Parish Church of S.S.Giacomo e Quirico, which dates from the period of Pisan rule over the island, and has a Renaissance façade. A little further north, fed by the XVI Century Fonte dei Canali spring, are the “Lavatoi”, the washing troughs used by the local women for their laundry until the middle of the last century. Nearby are the Casa del Parco, the Visitors’ Centre offering information about the treasures of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, and the Museo civico archeologico del Distretto minerario, which displays many of this zone’s amazing mineral resources.
Further from the town, visitors will find many other places of historic interest, such as the Sanctuary of Santa Caterina, with the adjoining Orto dei Semplici, a botanical garden that conserves plants native to the Tuscan Archipelago. On the way to Cavo, along the “La Parata” road, there are the remains of a the abandoned town of Grassera, now a total ruin. In the other direction, along the scenic road to Bagnaia, the Castle of Volterraio stands on an outcrop about four hundred metres high. Accessible on foot along a steep unpaved track, it is worth a visit above all for the spectacular view of the Gulf of Portoferraio.
Tourism came late to this part of the Island of Elba, mainly because the mines continued in operation until the early 1980s. Today the main holiday and seaside resorts are Nisporto and Nisportino, tranquil locations ideal for those in search of an absolutely relaxing holiday.
Not to be missed ….
… the feast day of St James, the town’s patron saint, is celebrated on 25 July. The occasion is marked by events and fireworks every year.