The Church of San Michele, in the Commune of Capoliveri, was built in the XII century during the Pisan rule, and from an architectural point of view was and is one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Elba. Along with the Church of San Giovanni in Campo, the Church of San Lorenzo in Marciana, and the Church of San Giovanni di Ferraja, it was granted the title of Parish Church.
The building is dedicated to San Michele who, according to the biblical legend, led the heavenly bodies against Lucifer; it sits in a valley far from the the town centre, on the road that connected Capoliveri with the port in Mola.
Today the remains of the Church are very different to what the original building was like, in that only the apse and part of the walls, built using pinkish-white hand cut bricks, are still intact. The Church probably had only one nave, and the roof consisted of wooden beams. The bell gable, typical of the Romanesque period, was on the facade, and was adorned with round arches resting on pilasters and shelves.
As far as its history is concerned, after Pope Gregorio XI's exile in France, he was on his way back to Rome to re-establish the papal seat there once again, but at one point, due to bad weather conditions, he had to interrupt his journey and this made him decide to hold a mass in the Church of San Michele. In the XVI century, when the island underwent several pirate attacks, the whole building ended up in ruins, and much of what remained was used to build a small cemetery.
For the whole of the 1900s it was left at the mercy of the weather, which contributed in worsening the state of the Church, and it was only in the early 2000s that the Romanesque parts underwent some renovation that partially brought back some of their original beauty.
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