Eremo S. Caterina
Places of worship

The churches on Elba Island

A tour of the island’s most historic churches

Church of Santo Stefano

The church of Santo Stefano, also known as ‘alle trane’, is today the most noteworthy example of religious Roman architecture on Elba island. Many Roman artefacts have been unearthed in archaeological digs around the church. The building itself dates back to the second half of the twelfth century. The church has precisely placed ivory white wall hangings. The church has highly simplistic iconography and a single nave which at one time was protected by wooden beams.
: Le Trane (near Magazzini), Portoferraio

Church of San Michele

This church at Capoliveri dates as far back as the first half of the twelfth century and is one of the oldest examples of Roman architecture on the island. This was the most artistically accomplished of Elba’s Romanesque churches. The ruins that remain of the church today include the perimeter walls, the façade and the apse. From these ruins it’s possible to imagine how the church once was, with a single nave like the island’s other churches. Local stone with a pinkish hue was used in the precise walling.
Location: S.Rocco, Capoliveri

Church of San Lorenzo

This church echoes the iconography of the island’s other Roman churches. It consists of a single rectangular nave which ends in a semi-circular apse. The church has an unusually long floor plan. Many stylistic elements in the church’s interior mirror those of the church of San Giovanni in Campo. The walls, both inside and outside, have regular granite decorations which decrease in size as they go up. At the top of the church’s façade are the remains of an imposing bell tower. This church is situated along the road that connects Marciana Marina and Marciana.

The church of San Giovanni in Campo

The church of San Giovanni in Campo is situated along the coast from Mount Perone, overlooking the small towns of San Piero and Sant’Ilario. It is one of the largest Roman churches on the island. It’s possible to date the church to the second half of the twelfth century. The church reflects many of the same elements as the island’s other Roman churches such as a rectangular nave ending in a semi-circular apse. The whole building is covered in granite decorations. The façade is of particular interest as it is framed by two angular pilasters and topped with a well-preserved bell tower.
It is situated on the road which connects Marina di Campo and Monte Perone.

The Church of Santi Pietro e Paolo in Campo

The Church of Santi Pietro e Paolo in Campo in the small town of San Piero is one of the most significant Roman religious buildings on Elba island. It shares many stylistic similarities with the church of Mensano which has helped historians to date it to either the end of the twelfth century or the start of the thirteenth. There are two naves in the interior which make the church of particular interest.
Location: San Piero

Santa Caterina Eremo (Hermitage)

There was once a village called Grassera not far from Rio, on the slopes of Mount Serra. Nothing remains of the village now as it was progressively destroyed by pirate raids in the mid-sixteenth century. The only building still standing and preserved today is the Santa Caterina Hermitage. The University of Siena has carried out some archaeological work in the area and fragments of ceramics have proved the existence of the village near the hermitage.
The hermitage often hosts art exhibitions and is home to the fascinating Orto dei Semplici, or medicinal herb garden.
Beaches and scenery whose inherent magnetism sways ships
Capoliveri, the main town in the southeastern part of Elba Island, is a charming town perched on terraced ridge of Monte Calamita. Its name and origin date back to the Roman period: Caput Liberi is Latin for Liberus' Hill, meaning sacred to Bacchus, and since ancient times has been a land of vineyards and fine wine. ...