The secret places of Elba Island: the ancient Romanesque churches

Romanesque church, Elba IslandSingular naves, semicircular apses, small bell towers: this was the common structure of almost all the Romanesque churches on Elba Island. Small churches built usually in the area of Monte Capanne, from which came the construction material. Churches today are some of the secret places of Elba Island.

San Giovanni Battista – The 3: 1 ratio of the aisle, three windows in the apse and in the side walls: the number three is a constant reference to the Holy Trinity. The church of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist), in Sant’Ilario in Campo, was also used as a hermitage until the mid-nineteenth century.

San Niccolò – Where now is the church, once there were the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to Glauco. San Nicolò in San Piero in Campo, is the only parish with two aisles, with two circular apses and belfry. Changed several times during its history, inside are kept several frescoes by Catalan school perhaps dating back to the fifteenth century.

San Michele – In the proximity of Capoliveri. Church of Lombard origin, is among the oldest of the island, and today there are only the apse and part of the perimeter walls.

San Quirico – The remains of this church are close to Rio nell’Elba, where once stood the city of Grassera, razed by Turkish pirates.

Santo Stefano alle Trane – In the Magazzini area in Portoferraio. Of the several Romanesque churches of the island, this is the one still used today as a place of worship. The church is decorated with small heads, animals, flowers and decorative plants.

San Lorenzo – Church by the irregular plan, was partially destroyed in 1554 during a raid by Turkish pirates. It is located near Marciana.

San Frediano and San Bartolomeo – Two churches on the way up to Monte Capanne, along the western ridge. The low walls are the only remains of the buildings.

San Felo and San Mennato (or Bennato) – Two Romanesque churches on Elba Island, located in the eastern part of the island. The first is located in Rio Marina and the second near Cavo. Today there are just some visible remains left.


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