Administration of Elba and its seven Communes

Population and areaStrange 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.

Some interesting facts

  • The Island of Elba has a population of about 32.000, 12.000 of whom in the sole commune of Portoferraio.
  • The biggest commune is that of Portoferraio while the smallest is Marciana Marina measuring only 5,86 square kilometres.
  • The Island of Pianosa is part of the commune of Campo nell'Elba, while the Island of Montecristo is part of the commune of Portoferraio.
  • The biggest beach on the Island of Elba is in Marina di Campo, while the beach of Bagnaia is "contended for" by Portoferraio and Rio nell'Elba.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte was the first to unify the communes under one flag on the Island of Elba.
  • In February 2011, the Category Associations of the Island of Elba got together and formed a Committee in favour of the regional law that would make the eight communes into one for all the Island of Elba. After the petition had enough signatures, a referendum was held on April 21st and 22nd, but 60,35% voted against a single commune so things stayed as they are.
  • In 2017 the Mayors of Rio Marina and Rio nell'Elba organized a referendum so the two Communes could be made into one. The result of the referendum was approved by the Region on January 1st 2018, and since then the Commune of Rio became official.

Campo nell'Elba

The varied, high quality holiday accommodation makes this ancient sea town one of the island's most important holiday resorts
Sant'Ilario, tiny Medieval town on the hills, with a beathtaking view of the gulf of Marina di Campo, on the Island of Elba.

San Piero
San Piero is a tiny town set on granite at the foot of Monte Capanne, part of the commune of Campo nell'Elba.


The small commune of Capoliveri, high up on the hills, is today one of Elba's liveliest and most characteristic towns, rich in fascinating history.


Marciana is a hillside town 375 metres above sea level, and is one of the oldest towns, rich in history and archeology.
Quiet and peaceful ancient hillside town surrounded by chestnut trees and with a breathtaking view of the sea below.

Marciana Marina

With its picturesque places, narrow, granite streets and pastel coloured houses looking out onto the sea, it is one of Italy's smallest communes.


Portoferraio, main town on the Island of Elba, has very ancient origins and has always maintained its Renaissance beauty.
Bagnaia, right on the beach at the furthermost point of the gulf of Portoferraio, is half part of the Comune of Portoferraio and half that of Rio.

Rio nell'Elba

Famous for its iron mines that date back to the Etruscan period, Rio nell'Elba was the mineral centre on the island until the ores were closed down.

Rio Marina

With the closure of the iron mines that made it the "Iron Capital", Rio Marina is now a flourishing beach resort.
Cavo is a fully equipped beach resort, and the nearest place to the mainland.

Porto Azzurro

A lively, welcoming town with clear Spanish origins, at the foot of a promontory in the wide inlet on the eastern side of the island.
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