NAPOLEONE AND ELBA ISLAND -
The isle of Elba is well noted in
Italy and the world over for it's natural beauty, and its
richness of mineral ores found beneath the surface, Its
notoriety is also bound to a name: Napoleon Bonaparte. Elba
represented a place of brief exile for Napoleon where he
reigned as Emperor for less than a year between 1814 and
1815 before escaping.
From there he went on to fight the battle of Waterloo and
after defeat was further exiled to the British island of
St. Helena in the middle of the Atlantic.
Elba was suddenly found
at the center of worldwide attention in April 1814 when with
the Treaty of Fontainebleau Napoleon was exiled to the small
island and given the title of Emperor and rule over the small
land. Receiving sovereignty over the island Napoleon conducted
himself in a way that suggests he intended to live out his
days as ruler.
This is supported by the detail in which he decorated his
residences, the efficiency of his army and the strict protocol
he imposed on the court.
All over Elba
there are signs that attest to the frenetic activity that
governed his ten-month course as ruler of his Elban empire”.
Amongst these we can document the mining activity, the projected
steel plant, the organization of new hospital structures
or improvement of older ones, care and selection over the
vineyards, and the introduction of unusual horticulture
such as olives and potatoes, all of which improved livability.
But it is at Portoferraio where the best conserved and concrete
testimony to Napoleon's presence on Elba is visible. (May
3, 1814 – February 26,1815)