The guardians of the past: history and art museums
Museums and collections constitute the most valuable legacy of every community, an important link with the past, with a taste for beauty or everyday life, indispensable for understanding the present and planning the future. Elba’s museums reflect the island’s chequered history: the oldest traces of the island’s inhabitants up to the Etruscan period, are preserved in the Antiquarium, in Marciana, with objects recovered from ancient wrecks, and examples of granite working. The Museo della Linguella is located in Portoferraio, near the Roman villa and Medicean storehouses, and houses exhibits recovered from the sea or from excavations: objects from the Bronze Age, the Etruscan and Roman periods, as well as from the important villas of Pianosa and Capraia.
The Archaeological Museum in Rio nell’Elba includes exhibits from the Copper Age to the late Etruscan period, paying particular attention to the history of mining activities. The Pinacoteca Comunale or Municipal Picture Gallery in Portoferraio, most of which was donated by the Foresi family, houses important works of art from the 16th- 19th centuries, by artists such as Borgognone, Salvator Rosa, Guido Reni, Ciseri, Benvenuti, David and Michetti, as well as great 19th century landscape painters like Fattori, Nomellini, Cannicci and Signorini, who found the perfect light for their paintings on Elba.
The Valle delle Ceramiche or Valley of Ceramics, near Portoferraio, is an open air museum dedicated to the artist Italo Bolano. Other interesting places of culture are the Museo della Civiltà Contadina or Museum of Rural Culture in Marciana, the Centro Culturale De Laugier or De Laugier Cultural Center in Portoferraio, with its rich library, the large building in the Parco Minerario or Mineral Park and the Museo dei Minerali or Mineral Museum in Rio Marina.