|Where it is||between Portoferraio and Rio nell'Elba|
|How to get there||Coming from Portoferraio, follow the road for Porto Azzurro, after about 6 km turn left heading for Magazzini / Bagnaia, then after about 1,5 km turn right for Rio nell'Elba (the road is narrow and windy so be very careful). Keep going until you see an open space on your left; a dirt track goes up to the Volterraio Castle (at present it is unsafe so it is not open to the public).|
The Volterraio Castle, the most ancient fortification on the Island of Elba, can be seen from the ferry as you come into Portoferraio. There are doubts as to the origins of its name: some say it comes from the Etruscan word Vultur (vulture), others say it comes from the Volterra area, place of origin of the architect Vanni di Gherardo Rau who was in charge of the reconstruction work in the Xlll century.
The first part to be built was of Etruscan origin; it was enlarged in 1281 by the Pisans who used it solely as a military defence and in 1440 it was made stronger. It is one of the few fortresses in Elba never to be raided by the Turkish pirates who sacked Elba on more than one occasion. In the ten years of the frequent attacks from 1544 to 1554, many locals sought refuge and protection inside the heavy walls of the Volterraio castle; thanks to its strategic position that means it can be seen from almost any part of the Island, it will always be a watchful eye that protects the whole island.
Although it has been bought over by the Tuscan Archipelago National Park the castle is in very bad condition; however, if you are very careful, it is worth the effort of walking up to the top of the hill where it stands, not only to see what remains of its magnificent walls, but also to admire the unique and breathtaking view of the gulf of Portoferraio.