Exscursions in the Tuscan Archipelago
Тhe Tuscan Archipelago is a chain of islands between the Ligurian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea, west of Tuscany, Italy. The archipelago contains the islands of Gorgona , Capraia , Elba (the largest island of the group), Pianosa, Montecristo , Giglio , and Giannutri; all of which are protected as part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. The islands' proximity to several major cities has made them a favourite tourist location. History and literature has ensured that most people are familiar with the islands of Elba and Montecristo.
The archaeological findings testify the presence of man on the islands of the Tuscan archipelago since the prehistoric era and the Neanderthal man called “musteriano” lived here already 50000 years ago, except for the islands of Giglio and Giannutri which were colonised only 7000 years ago. The findings made on the islands of Elba, Capraia, Gorgona, Pianosa and Montecristo reveal that the inhabitants did not navigate. This could seem strange, but is comprehensible if we consider the fact that there were no island at that time. Elba, Capraia, Gorgona, Montecristo and Pianosa were a long peninsula which broke up in small islands during the Neolithic era, becoming the Tuscan archipelago. About 2000 years B.C the “rinaldoniani”, navigators and warriors arrived to the islands from the part of Bolsena. They knew how to use metal and invaded the islands in search for copper mines. Still today, in the Cave of San Giuseppe in Rio Marina on the island of Elba, we are able to see the places used to bury people and there are about 50 skeletons preserved here. On Pianosa there are some artificial wells which were built by the rinaldoniani.
During the period which proceeds the rise of the Etruscan civilisation the Ligures and other peoples from south of the Apennines probably visited the archipelago, but it is only when the Thyrrenians come that the islands begin to be part of the history and the closeness to civilisation. The Etruscan came to Tuscany around the VIII century A.C. and extended their influence of their culture and civilisation without using their force and wars.The Etruscans were refined artists, knew about astronomy and hydraulics, founded big and important cities, were used to luxury villas and created a writing alphabet and mathematic signs. It is during this period that the exploition of the mineral resources on Elba and Giglio starts which gave the Etruscan the iron necessary to manufacture goods. But as the centuries went by, the underground mineral extraction on the biggest islands of the Tuscan archipelago served other purposes than the simple need to manufacture precious ornaments, such as the economical consolidation and the political expansion. As the Greeks rammed and sacked the Etruscan ships full of precious metals, the Etruscan decided to transport by land through Lazio and Campagnia. This is how the famous “iron road” is born and that guaranteed that the iron got from Populonia to the Middle East in less than one month and along its course, also opened the way for the culture and civilisation of the Thyrrenians. After that the Etruscan together with Carthago had defeated the Greeks, the iron road became even longer thanks to the integration of Corsica, and the Tuscan mineral arrived to the north of Europe.


Map of Tuscan Archipelago
National Park of Tuscan Archipelago
Capraia, Eastern coast
Giannutri, Casa Romana
Giunnatri, underwater
Pianosa, view
Giannutri, Lo Spalmatoio
Giglio, port
Gorgona, village
Capraia, view
Giglio, lighthouse
Montecristo, Cala Maestro