The only Romanesque Church in Elba that is open for worship and religious cerimonies

On the road to Bagnaia you will come to a small road on your right that is surrounded by fields and vineyards; once at the end, you will go uphill, trees and olive groves all around, and eventually come to Le Trane, where the tiny Church of Santo Stefano sits (this name comes from the "Latrani", the community of people that once lived there).

This holy building, overlooking the breathtaking view of the roadstead of Portoferraio and the Piana dei Magazzini, dates back to the second half of the XII century, and is dedicated to Santo Stefano, the first Christian to give his life to Christ as deacon of the Church of Jerusalem.

The Church was built in creamy white, light brown ashlar bricks of albarese limestone, and is still in such good condition that the typical Romanesque-Pisan architecture can still clearly be seen: a single, rectangular nave with a semi circular apse at the end, on a longitudinal axis facing east-west; sad to say, the bell gable, once part of the original structure, has crumbled and is now in ruins.

The style of the facade on the other hand is somewhat different to typical Romanesque architecture in that it has three round, blind arcades resting on pilasters, and they themselves also sit on trabeated pilasters. The Church is unique in its kind also thanks to the exterior design in white marble, in some way in clear contrast to the somewhat plain and simple interior.

The Church suffered many pirate and barbarian invasions between the XVI and the XVII centuries, and in 1554, after Barbarossa raided it, it was left completely in ruins.

At one point some devoted believers decided to do some renovation work, but in the mid 1700s, due to prolonged extremely bad weather, both the roof and the entire building were severely damaged, and once again the ruins lay untouched for many years. It was only in the last decades of the 1900s that further renovation work was carried out on the Church, and this has not only brought back its original beauty but has enabled it to be open to the public once again.

Today, it is the only Romanesque Church on the Island of Elba that is open for worship and religious cerimonies.

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Chiesa di Santo Stefano alle Trane