|Where it is||between Portoferraio and Rio nell'Elba|
|How to get there|
Coming from Portoferraio, take the road for Porto Azzurro, after about 6 km turn left in the direction of Magazzini / Bagnaia, then about 1,5 km further on turn right for Rio nell'Elba (the road is narrow and windy so be very careful). Keep going until you see a large open space on your left where you can park your car; (about 50 metres farther along) from here, there is a dirt track that goes up to the Volterraio Castle.
|Guided tours||Download the calendar of guided tours at the Castello del Volterraio, scheduled from September to January.|
|How to book a tour||Compulsory booking. Tuscan Archipelago InfoPark Office 0565 908231 - firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ticket prices||Full price 20 euros - reduced 10 euros for the over 65 and for residents from the Tuscan islands - reduced 5 euros residents over 65 - free for children up to the age of 12 and for resident students up to the age of 19. The price includes group transport and entrance fee with an official Park guide.|
Clearly seen even from the ferry as you enter the port in Portoferraio, standing at a height of 394 metres on the mountain bearing the same name, the Volterraio Castle is the most ancient fortification on all the Island of Elba.
There are doubts as to the origins of its name: some say it comes from the Etruscan word vultur (vulture), others say it comes from the Volterra area, place of origin of the architect Vanni di Gherardo Rau who was in charge of the reconstruction work in the Xlll century.
The first part to be built was of Etruscan origin; it was made bigger in 1281 by the Pisans who used it solely as a military defence and in 1440 it was made stronger. It is one of the few fortresses in Elba never to have been raided by the Turkish pirates who ransacked Elba on more than one occasion. In the ten years from 1544 to 1554, many locals sought refuge and protection within the heavy walls of the Volterraio Castle; thanks to its strategic position, which means it can be seen from almost any part of the Island, it will always be a watchful eye that protects the whole island.
Although it was bought over by the Tuscan Archipelago National Park in 1999, the castle lay in complete ruins for a long time.
In January 2016 the first steps in its restoration were finalized in an attempt to make the fortress safe as well as give some of the architectural elements a new lease of life, like the main entrance, the path round the battlements, the tower with its footbridge and the chapel. At the beginning of November 2016 futher steps will be concentrated on the completion of the archeological diggings and the old tracks up to it will be cleared and improved.
The Castle has been open to the public since March 2016 and can now be visited once again. The second part of the renovation work will probably mean the castle itself and the near-by small church will be closed for about a month and a half from mid January onwards.
It is well worth the effort of walking up to the top of the hill where it stands, not only to see what remains of its magnificent walls, but also to admire the unique and breathtaking view of the gulf of Portoferraio.
Volterraio Castle has a hexagonal shape. The oldest parts of the castle are the defense walls around it and the square shaped tower that was used as a watchtower. Thanks to a sort of signal system from the watchtower it was possible to communicate with the other towers in the surrounding area as well as with some along the coast of Tuscany.