It seems that it had to close in a hurry, without even having time to put the machinery back in place. Everything has remained exactly as it had been left in 1981, when thelast mine iron ofElba island. Forty years ago.

An industrial archeology scenario made up of rusty skeletons and broken tracks. Wrecks resting on a corner of paradise with breathtaking views. Here and there are still overturned carriages, ancient tracks, remains of locomotives, pipes, cables and broken racks. As if not even 'time' had had the opportunity to adapt and had been overwhelmed by erosion in spite of itself.

And then the imagination runs, imagine railways and steam trains, equipped wharfs, cable cars, power stations. At the time, tourism did not exist and the miners moved as they could. Some came from Portoferraio. On foot or with donkeys. As Enzo Marchetti, born in 1929, who in the forties, seventeen years old, woke up every day at 3 am to walk to the Ortano mines by 6 am, the starting time of the work shift. Then there was also to go home.

Enzo, who passed away last year at the ripe old age of 90, then managed with great sacrifices to buy motorcycle. It was his pride. “I cared more for her than for my mother”, he proudly told. When he arrived in the square a Portoferraio, for fear that they would touch it, he took it home, a small apartment of 50 square meters where six lived. He would take her arm and go up a steep flight of stairs to Vicolo dell'Oro at number 8.

"A strong man, a rock," - confides his niece Alessia Datti - “that when he went to work as a workshop mechanic for Mr. Lorenzi's company, the garage for city buses in Portoferraio, he lifted buses and minibuses. Once they saw him lift a Fiat 500 to help a person who had ended up under it. Everyone remembers him with affection, when I meet his friends or acquaintances and introduce myself as the niece, daughter of the younger sister, I see their eyes shine, remembering the goodness of soul of a rude but not gruff man ". Words that touch the heart of Alessia's, spoken with affection and a thread of emotion.

In 1981, after three thousand years of intense exploitation, the mines were closed. It seems abandoned. Not that there was more iron, only that Italsider, the dealership, was more convenient to buy it elsewhere.

Yet the extraction was always interested in everyone, first the Etruscans and the Romans, then the Pisans and the Genoese. In the Renaissance to Cosimo I de 'Medici and finally, ça va sans dire, the most famous exile of all time, Napoleon.

The plants had been among the most modern in Europe, full capacity was registered between the end of the XNUMXs and the end of the XNUMXs, precisely in the time of Enzo. When the Portoferraio steel plant opened, the blast furnace for cast iron and steel. It had been forty years of hard work in the plants for the extraction and treatment of ferrous materials. Hematite, pyrite, magnetite and limonite. Today the colors of that epic remain.

Punta Calamita in Capoliveri, Rio Marina and much of the eastern part of the island represent an open-air mineralogical park. Lunar landscapes framed by dream beaches.

additional info: Another Elba Tours