Strange as it may seem, despite its mere 223,50 square kilometres, the Island of Elba is divided into seven communes (that up till 2017 were actually 8) reminding us once again that up till a few years ago Elba was nothing more than a cluster of single towns,each very different from the next, each with habits, customs and economy all of its own.
Take San Piero and Marciana for example, only a few kilometres one from the other, but each with a completely different life style and economy: the former has an economy based on granite extraction, the latter, a mountainous town surrounded by chestnut trees, has always based its economy on agriculture, woodcutting and sheep farming; and what about the huge difference between Rio, a mining town, Porto Azzurro, a Spanish outpost, and Portoferraio, the main town whose walls gave hospitality to Cosimo de' Medici and Napoleon.
Even today the differences between one town and another can be clearly seen in their customs, their food and in their dialects, making the island even more fascinating and exciting.
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