Dating back to the I century BC, it was a luxurious villa that dominated the gulf of Portoferraio

Where it isPortoferraio - Loc. Le Grotte
How to get thereAbout 5 km from Portoferraio, to the left of the road for Porto Azzurro.

Dating back to the I century BC, the Roman Villa in Le Grotte is the only one of the three pleasure villas discovered on the Island of Elba not to have undergone building work "on top of it" over the centuries.

Left and forgotten at the end of the I century AD, while the extension work on the Linguella Roman villa was being carried out, between 1799 and 1801 it was considered of strategic importance for keeping the artillery battery during the war between France and the Reign of Naples.

Thanks to excavations between 1960 and 1972, how the villa is structured is very clear: built entirely in opus reticulatum it opens out across a central axis consisting of a large rectangular tank surrounded by a peristilium; it had three large gardens, one of which ran along the wall facing the coast, with a scenic view of the gulf of Portoferraio, a hortus conclususwith frescos on the walls, a part for the dominus and for the domina, another part for the thermal baths with calidarium and frigidarium.

The wash areas, that is the cryptoporticus, the water tanks and the store rooms went well over where the road is today, with a small jetty made of granite in the area below for those who arrived at the villa by sea.

In 2014 several archaeological remains were found both in San Giovanni and in the Roman Villa itself, and this leads us to believe that the the Villa probably belonged to Marco Valerio Messalla of the ancient Valeri family.

Some seals on amphoras and doliums (large, round terracotta containers used for transporting wine) were also found, with inscriptions on them made by a slave, and they bear the name of both the owner of the doliums and of the wine inside them.

This theory is also backed up by some historical details like the writings of Ovid, in which he declares that this ancient villa on the Island of Elba belonged to the Valeri family.

Opening times

from April 24th to June 12th and from 2nd to 31th October
Friday, Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 a.m to 1.00 p.m. and from 3.30 p.m. to 7.10 p.m.
from June 1st to August 27th
every day from 9.30 p.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 4.20 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
from 28th August to September 31th
every day from 10.0 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and from 3.30 p.m. to 7.10 p.m.

During the time of the re-opening of the archaeological excavations in San Giovanni you may take part in a guided visit to the Villa in Le Grotte in the areas that are in some way connected with the excavations. but prior booking is compulsory.

It is possible to visit the site of the Roman Villa in Le Grotte at other times in the year but only if you have booked beforehand, and on request, take part in guided tours,and educational and personal visits will also be organized.

info & ticket prices

Whole 4,00 euros reduced 3,00 euros (children from 6 to 18, students, elderly over 70, associations with which an agreement has been stipulated, bus tickets), free of charge for children under the age of 6, the disabled, and for residents in the communes of the Tuscan Islands.
Further reductions for couples, families and groups.

Villa in Le Grotte
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Villa romana delle Grotte