The history of the Island of Elba and that of its mines are one and the same thing. As far back as the VIII century BC the Etruscans became rich and powerful exploiting the great amount of iron on the island. The smoke that came out of the furnaces the Etruscans used to melt the iron covered the entire island in a sooty cloud, and this explains why the ancient Greek sailors called Elba Aethalia (sooty).
From then onwards, generations of miners spent most of their life digging deep down under the ground just to bring enormous amounts of natural beauty and richness up to the surface. At the time it was their only source of income, today it is a a wonderful source of information, a collector's item.