So it is defined the peninsula of Capoliveri, the largest coastline of Elba island, that heads the small village on a terrace of Monte Calamita. Not only because of its characteristic finger shape stretched in the blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, but also and above all for the wild nature of this area of the island, secured over time by the mining activity, continued until the mid-eighties, which placed this area outside the tourist destinations.
The wilderness peninsula
What is breathing here is a time suspended between miles of coast characterized by small creeks surrounded by a lush Mediterranean scrub that moves to the crystalline sea thanks to the currents that constantly convert the waters, sunny cliffs, beaches, bays and coves, handkerchiefs of gravel and tongues of whitewashed.
In the territory of Capoliveri rises Mount Calamita, rich in mineral deposits. At its feet, to the sea, stretches the Calamita Peninsula, a true landscaping and naturalistic gem and unchallenged realm of the gulls that nest here and named the Seagulls Coast, where caves and arenas are set amongst the most striking of island, some of which are accessible only by sea.
We have had the privilege of being able to bathe in the wonderful waters of some of these coves immersed in the green and lapped by the sea pines of the Tenuta delle Ripalte, at the extreme tip of the peninsula of Capoliveri. We talk about the post in #Sognidoro all dedicated to the Tenuta https://www.cittameridiane.it/en/tenuta-delle-ripalte-natures-language/ and the magnificent experience of being housed in the nineteenth century agricultural village, formerly hunting reserve among the favorites of the King of Spain.
The Calamita Peninsula owes its name to the iron magnetite of which it is rich: the mineral was extracted already in the Etruscan and Roman times. The abundant presence of magnetite throughout the area fueled the popular legends that attributed the causes of the wreckage to mineral that attracted the metal parts of the ships, causing them to strike inexorably against the cliffs of Punta Calamita. Certainly, in these places still today the needle of the compass is greatly disturbed.
The ore was historically extracted open-cast, but since the 1960s, when a large underground vein was discovered, began the excavation of the Ginevro tunnel, which continued until 1982, the date of the closure of the mine.
Today you can enjoy this lunar landscape, marked by the deep and glistening reddish excavations through the guided visit to the Mine of Calamita (info and reservations: +39 393 9059583 – +39 0565 935492 – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.minieredicalamita.it), which is accessed from the road on which is located the interesting museum on the mining history obtained in the old workshop.
From the dusty track it descends to the coast where the material was worked on which old rusty excavators are lying at the foot of the slopes of the rocky nature. In the beach below blocks and hematite slags, pieces of sulphuric and yellowish pyrite, ocher, limonite rocks, green pebbles with epidod microcrystals, azure, malachite and chrysocolla tell about the geologic history not only of the island but of the whole planet.
The Ginevro gallery drops down to -52, but the open section of the public is at 6 meters below sea level. Walking in the heart of the earth and in the darkness of the tunnels, wearing the suitcases and torches to observe the many interesting phenomena from the geomorphologic point of view, and the environments in which the miners’ life is still blowing is an experience that we surely feel to advise to complete the image of an island so rich in minerals to be called the “Pluto Chest”.
Another peculiarity noted in the Rio Marina mining area and in the Calamita Peninsula is the red ponds, brown spots in the intense green of Elba’s nature. More or less extended depending on the season, they have a color that ranges from dark red to violet with yellowish shades, which vary depending on the time of day. The shades are given by the ferrous component of the soil that is rubbing in the water.
We suggest a particularly demanding journey to discover this phenomenon, the one that creeps between the Mediterranean scrub, glimpsing on the turquoise sea and the black sand also of iron origin, towards the Laghetto di Sassi Neri: the lake, the water sweet, it was formed to fill the mining well of the mine above, from which adularia, goethite, magnetite, pyrite and tourmaline were extracted.