The Caprili of the Island of Elba
The Caprili Elbani as a reminder that sheep farming has been an important activity in western Elba since ancient times.
The people who in the sub-Apennine period (1100-900 BC) populated the slopes of Monte Capanne in large numbers, scattered in small villages , were devoted to sheep farming and weaving.
As shown by the 1868 census, the highest concentration of sheep on the Isola d’Elba was found on the south-western slope of Monte Capanne with a consistency of 3,036 heads out of a total of 5,122.
The caprile was the structure used for sheep farming: it consisted of a circular enclosure in dry masonry, 60-70 cm high, used for shelter for the flocks and from the domolito or grotto where the tools for the preparation of ricotta and cheese were kept and the shepherd sheltered from the weather.
Also made of drywall, with a circular section, equipped with a small door and of a small window, the domolith was covered by a false vault made with rounds of stones progressively projecting inwards.
The technique of the stone dome
The technique, which shepherds handed down from father to son, was widespread in a vast area that goes from Ireland to the island of Malta, from Spain to Greece, where shelters were built in stones of the same type called: clochan in Ireland, cabane near Marseilles, bunjia in Dalmatia, crot in Switzerland, girna in Malta, kazum in the Istrian peninsula, mantarah in Palestine.
The Caprili and the domolites of Elba
I caprili still present in our area they represent the memory of the world of shepherds “who, numerous until a relatively recent past, animated and made our mountain alive with their flocks when the valleys, from Filicai to Mure, from Macinelle to Moncione, from the Grottaccia in Vallebuia they echoed with their calling whistles and the bleating of the wandering grazing animals”.
The ways of the shepherds, combining different itineraries, allows you to visit 11 caprili of different shapes still in a good state of conservation but sometimes far from the usual routes and therefore little known. The caprile are: Chiusa Borsella caprile, Pernocco caprile, Chiuso dei Bovi, Pietra Murata caprile, Tozza al Protano caprile, Macinelle, caprile of Collaccio Basso, caprile of Collaccio Alto, Grottino della Guata, caprile of Tozz’i Carletto , caprile dei Tre Cerri.
A detour to the itinerary is worth a visit to the Caprile La Capanna di Marco, which can be reached by following the paths of the Vie del Granito: it is located in the Grottarelle locality near the ancient granite quarries.
Distribution of goats
Boulder to Guata (Quata)
Main Caprili of Elba:
Chiuso dei Bovi (Piana al Canale – San Piero)
Caprile del Collaccio Basso (Piane al Canale – San Piero in Campo) with a domolith
Caprile delle Macinelle (Piane al Canale San Piero) with two domolites made by the shepherd Mamiliano Martorella (1898-1973) around 1930
Caprile di Chiusa Borsella (San Piero in Campo) built by the brothers Giuseppe and Pietro Montauti
Caprile del Col di Paolo (San Piero in Campo)
Caprili del Sughereto (San Piero in Campo)
Caprile della Ficuccia (San Piero in Campo)
Caprile dei Tre Cerri (San Piero in Campo) with a domolith attributed to the shepherd Mamiliano Martorella (1898-1973)
Caprile di Pernocco (San Piero in Campo) with a domolished
Caprili delle Piane del Canale (San Piero in Campo)
Caprili di Pietra Murata (Piane al Canale – San Piero) with a domolith attributed to the shepherd Mamiliano Martorella (1898-1973)
Caprile di Tozza al Pròtano (San Piero in Campo) with a domolith
Caprile della Tozz’i Carletto (San Piero in Campo) with a domolith
Caprili di Olimpo (Pomonte)
Caprili dei Campitini (Pomonte) with a domolith
Caprili del Monte Orlano (Pomonte)
Caprili del Frate (Pomonte)
Caprile del Colle Popoino (Pomonte)
Caprile del Barione (Pomonte) with a domolith attributed to the Martorella family
Caprile di Tramontana (Pomonte) attested from 1820
Caprile della Forca (Seccheto) with a domolith made by the shepherd Giuseppe Galli (1901-1977)
Caprili della Forca Bassa (Seccheto)
Caprili delle Piane alla Sughera (Seccheto)
Caprile della Calle (Seccheto)
Caprile di Cote Làpida (Seccheto)
Caprile delle Gro ttarelle (Cavoli)
Capanna di Marco (Cavoli) which takes its name from the nineteenth-century landowner Marco Palmieri
Caprili del Tròppolo (Chiessi) with a domolite attributed to the shepherd Oreste Anselmi (1886-1964)
Caprile di Campo al Castagno (Marciana) made by the shepherd Edoardo Ricci (1898-1990)
Caprili di Capepe (Marciana) with a domolith
Caprile di Natalino (Marciana) attested from 1840, with a domolith
Caprile della Stretta (Marciana) with a domolith
Caprili della Tabla (Marciana)
Caprile della Tavola (Marciana)
Caprile del Monte Perone (Poggio)
Caprile of Montecristo (Poggio)
Caprile delle Panche (Poggio) attested from 1820
Caprile del Ferale (Poggio) with a domolite attributed to the shepherd Aristide Martorella ( 1892-1963)
Caprile del Monte Corto (Poggio)
Caprile della Nivera (Poggio)
Caprile del Malpasso (Poggio)
Caprile del Monte Perone (Poggio)
Caprili of Monte Maolo (Poggio)
Caprile della Settima (Poggio)
Caprile delle Puntate (Poggio)
Caprili of Monte Tambone (Capoliveri) with three domoliths (one of which destroyed) attributed to the family Martorella