The fortress of Giogo, or Giove, sits at the top of a hill on the road between Rio nell'Elba and Cavo, and you can get to it very easily by following a short path through a wood of holm oaks and lush, Mediterranean bush.
From the fort the view is absolutely stunning, with a panorama that goes beyond the stretch of sea between the Island of Elba and Piombino, where the tiny islands of Palmaiola and Cerboli stand out, as far as the promontories of Populonia and Argentario, as well as the eastern side of Elba and the Island of Giglio.
There are different beliefs as to the origins of the name of the fort: one legend says that the name giogo comes from the latin word iugum, because of the "sadle shaped" geographical conformation the fort sits on, while another says it is probably linked to the god Jupiter, and that a temple was built for him at the top of the hill.
Despite the fact that some theories from the XVIII and XIX centuries say there was once an older building, the fortress itself was built in 1459 by the Appiani, and is today a clear example of a military building from the late Middle Ages.
The fort had an important control function as regards the sea traffic and the mines, but it was also used as a shelter for the inhabitants of the nearby town of Grassera (a mining town on the Island of Elba dating back between the XIII and the XIV centuries) that in 1534 and 1553 suffered a lot of damage on behalf of the Turks led by Barbarossa and Dragut.
During the Spanish dominion in the XVII century, the building again suffered severe sackaging, first by the French and then by the Austrian troops, leaving it it ruins.
Today the building is in a state of neglect, and there is nothing left of the marble coat of arms of the principality of the Appiani that used to stand above the main door.
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