Geology of Elba Island

The geological peculiarity of the Island of Elba

The richness and variety of Elba’s mineralizations, linked to the extraordinary geological landscape, have made the geology of Elba famous all over the world, and Elba’s samples of hematite, pyrite, tourmaline are present and excel in all mineralogical museums . On Elba, a dozen minerals were found in nature for the first time, including ilvaite, which takes its name from the ancient name of the island, Ilva.

At the Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa, we find an area specifically dedicated to the minerals of the Island of Elba, the vast majority of the museum’s samples come from the pegmatites of San Piero in Campo and from the mines of Rio Marina.

Small Island with multitude of rocks

In the approximately 200 sq km of the Island of Elba a multitude of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks coexist in a complex way. While sedimentary and metamorphic rocks dominate the central and eastern part of the island, the western part is made up almost entirely of the monzogranite intrusion of Mount Capanne, with an almost perfectly circular perimeter. A second “granite” stock is found in eastern Elba, where it emerges in a very narrow stretch in the Mar di Carvisi ditch. The Tuscan magmatic rocks are part of the context of the Apennine Orogeny. These are processes that took place in the post-orogenetic phase, in chronological succession from west to east: starting from the 7 million years of Elba monzogranite we reach the Quaternary effusions of Monte Amiata.

Geological Map of the Island of Elba

The new Geological Map of the Island of Elba, it was elaborated with a scale of 1:25,000 on the basis of data collected within the CARG project of the Geological Survey of Italy (ISPRA), the Tuscany Region and the University of Florence, through a shared editorial project.

The new resolution of the map makes it possible to enhance the details of the survey, at the same time making the Island of Elba more clear and immediately legible from a geological point of view, even for a non-expert audience.

The Geology of the Island of Elba the history of the iron deposits cultivated for over 2000 years by the Etruscans and Romans

The Island of Elba has been famous since ancient times mainly for its iron deposits, known and cultivated for over 2000 years by the Etruscans, the Romans and numerous subsequent populations. The discovery of the first specimens of polychrome tourmaline, which testify to the existence of gemmiferous pegmatites, dates back to the end of the 18th century.

The Island of Elba is located in the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea between the Tuscan coast and Corsica and is considered the westernmost outcrop of the northern Apennine chain. The geological history of the Island of Elba takes place in the same way as the Apennine chain.
The clash between the Sardinian-Corsican block and the Adria is the engine that will cause the groundwater to stack up.
It then followed from the recent extensional phase that characterizes the whole Tyrrhenian basin. The island of Elba is affected by the ascent of two large plutons: the Monte Capanne pluton and the
Porto Azzurro pluton.

183 minerals identified on the island and 11 discovered for the first time on Elba

Tourmalines - San Piero - geology of the Island of Elba
Tourmalines – San Piero

To date, 183 minerals have been identified on the Island of Elba. A number that rises to over 250 considering the disquisitions, which sometimes accompany the definition of mineralogical species and their varieties. In agreement with the International Mineralogical Association (IMA), eleven minerals were identified for the first time on Elba, two of which, ilvaite and elbaite, recall their type locality in the Latin name (Ilva) and in the current one.

Elba is one of the most important geological centers in Italy and Europe

During the 19th century the territory of Campo nell’Elba (and in particular the villages of S. Piero and S. Ilario on the eastern slope of the monzogranite pluton of Monte Capanne) became one of the most important classic mineralogical localities in Italy and in Europe. This is due to the discovery of a large number of magnificent mineralogical specimens, mainly with polychrome tourmaline crystals associated with various pegmatitic minerals. Scientific research, conducted on specimens from both historic museum collections and new field research campaigns, has made it possible to identify a good number of species belonging to the tourmaline supergroup on the Island of Elba.

The Geology of the Island of Elba, a Museum and Laboratory

In 1835, Emanuele Repetti, in the second volume of his Physical Geographic Dictionary of Tuscany, wrote:

The island of Elba could rightly be called the most abundant mineralogical cabinet in Tuscany. This is the site where it seems that nature has wanted to bring together surprising phenomena in a small diameter, and such as to constantly recall her lovers, driven and enticed, not only by the singular geognostic constitution of these mountains, but also by the wealth of mines, and from the precious and varied crystallizations of the many minerals, which group together in those rocks and combine in beautiful shapes.

(Repetti, 1835).

The first geological map of the Island of Elba

In 1841 M. Studer published the first geological map of the Island of Elba in black and white, while we had to wait until the 1880s for Bernardino Lotti (1847-1933), at the time engineer of the Corps of Mines and later president of the Italian Geological Society, carry out
the first detailed survey of the entire Island of Elba.

In the explanatory notes, the great Tuscan geologist Bernardino Lotti defined the island as: «A great open-air mineralogical museum» (Lotti, 1886).

Hematite, rhombohedral crystals, mineral from the Island of Elba - Elba geology
Hematite, rhombohedral crystals, Rio Elba mineral in Elba Island

Mineralogical Museum and Cabinet; museum and laboratory we would say today. Definitions have never been happier. The Elba Museum – Laboratory extends from the eastern coast, where its famous iron ore deposits are found between Rio and Calamita, to the western one, dominated by the powerful granite mass of Monte Capanne, with the famous pegmatitic veins of S. Piero and S. Ilario and the spectacular exposures of his thermo-metamorphic ring in the cliffs of Pomonte and Punta Nera.

Mineral Iridescent Hematite from the Island of Elba - Elba geology
Mineral Iridescent Hematite from the Island of Elba

Magnificent crystallizations of hematite and pyrite, iridescent limonitic aggregates, tiny crystals of ilvaite, prase quartz and garnets; exceptional pegmatitic aggregates of tourmalines, quartz, orthoclase, lepidolite, beryl, pollucite and zeolites, are the best-known excellences of Elba mineralogy, yesterday as today, the object of a vast and valuable market.

The Elba minerals present in the Naturalistic Museums of the World

The minerals of Elba are present in the most prestigious naturalistic museums in the world, studied in hundreds of scientific works and described in numerous works, the geology of the Island of Elba is mentioned in a didactic and informative nature (D’Achiardi, 1873; Carobbi and Rodolico, 1976; Tanelli, 1995; Orlandi and Pezzotta, 1996; Tanelli and Benvenuti, 1998).

Niccolò Stenone (1638-1686) the natural scientist, Danish by birth and Tuscan by adoption, to whom the prodromes of modern geological and crystallographic knowledge are linked, visited and studied the iron mineralization of the Island of Elba. They were reasonably the peculiar hematite crystals of Rio, «the angular bodies of iron», as he indicates them in his De solid intra solidum naturaliter contented dissertationis prodromus strong>, which contributed to the enunciation of the principles which would later become the first law of crystallography: the «Law of the constancy of the dihedral angle between the homologous faces of the crystal» (Casella, 1986).

A law that opens up our knowledge of the structure of matter, and from which we benefit today in many scientific and technological fields.

The Geological Discoveries of Elba, minerals discovered for the first time on Elba

Ilvaite, mineral from the Island of Elba - Elba geology
Ilvaite is a calcium silicate, present in the masses of skarn that from Santa Filomena di Rio to Capo Calamita,

Ilvaite is a calcium silicate, present in the masses of skarn that accompany the iron deposits from Santa Filomena di Rio to Capo Calamita. It was discovered over two centuries ago and the story of its name can be taken as a classic example of the intertwining of science and politics. At first, in full Napoleonic splendor, it was given the name of “jenite” in honor of the battle of Jena won by Napoleon in 1806. After the star fell, it was called “lievrite”, in memory of M. Lelievre, considered by some its discoverer. But at this point the questions arise, since others believed that the paternity of the discovery belonged to F. de Bellevue, and still others to D. de Dolomieu. All famous transalpine geologists.

Ilvaite typical of the geology of the Island of Elba

Elbaite is a variety of tourmaline, which takes on different colors depending on the chemical composition.  The mineral takes its name from the island of Elba.
Elbaite is a variety of tourmaline, which takes on different colors depending on the chemical composition. The mineral takes its name from the island of Elba.

Dolomieu in particular is remembered in the name of the calcium and magnesium carbonate, dolomite, and in the name of our Dolomites, which are mainly formed from this mineral. Returning to the calcium and iron silicate, agreement on the name was reached, calling it ilvaite, in memory of its type locality.

Then follow the “discoveries” of elbaite (group of tourmalines), bonattite, dachiardite, minguzzite, pollucite, uranus polycrase, rubicline, up to the definitions, in these first years of the third millennium, of rhiomarinaite and cesium ramanites and rubidium (;

Elban collection over 6000 samples in the Mineralogy section of the Natural History Museum of Florence

A small appendix and a small preview. As we will see better later on, two-thirds of the more than 6,000 samples that currently make up the “Elban Collection” in the Mineralogy section of the Natural History Museum in Florence derive from two historical collections formed at the end of the 19th century by Raffaello Foresi (1820-1876), a man of culture from Elba and Florentine by adoption, and Giorgio Roster (1843-1927), professor of hygiene at the Royal Institute of Practical Higher Studies and Improvement of Florence – today University of Studies – and Elba by adoption (Tanelli, 2010).

To the Elbani Raffaello Foresi and Giorgio Rosterd the discovery of new minerals

Beryl Rosterite variety characterized by the presence of cesium, with colorless or pale pink crystals.
Beryl Rosterite variety characterized by the presence of cesium, with colorless or pale pink crystals.

Two events of mineralogical nomenclature are linked to Foresi and Roster. At the end of the 19th century, by studying the pegmatite minerals of Campo, a “substance” was identified, considered a new mineralogical species, and to which the name of “foresite” was given in honor of Raffaello Foresi (Pullè and Capacci, 1874).

Subsequent research eliminated foresite among the new minerals, documenting that the “new substance” was a mixture of stilbite and cookeite. In the Campo pegmatites, a variety of beryl was also identified, rich in lithium and cesium, with a tabular habit and colorless to yellow-pink chromaticity, called «rosterite» (Grattarola, 1880).

Rosterite from S. Piero’s «Filo La Speranza».

In 1908, the great Russian scientist VI Vernadsky (1863-1945), one of the founding fathers of geochemistry and geo-ecology identified in the granite pegmatites of Lipovka in the central Urals, crystals of beryl rich in cesium and lithium, naming them vorobyevite in honor of the Russian mineralogist VI Vorobyev.

Rumors say that Grattarola’s work had escaped him, even if, the same rumors add, Vernadsky, after graduating from the University of St. Petersburg in 1885, had gone to the University of Naples to follow the teachings of the famous mineralist Arcangelo Scacchi (1810-1893), in whose Miscellanea the publication of Grattarola is still present. Almost a century after Grattarola’s work, x-ray diffraction shots on the same samples he studied validated rosterite as a variety of beryl (Carobbi and Rodolico, 1976).

Rosterite, Beryl rich in cesium

Recently, in a study on the structural characteristics of the beryl variety rich in cesium and lithium, the name of vorobyevite was again launched (Yakubovich et al., 2009). With this name it is indicated in the pages of, but since, as we know, the devil makes pots but not lids, the
mineral, in the same web pages, is illustrated by a splendid photo of a colorless crystal and tabular of «true» rosterite coming from the «Filo La Speranza» of S.Piero. The fact also remains that it was Vernadsky himself in 1914, studying the variegated tourmalines of Elba, who called «elbaite» – rumors say as a remedial gesture – the lithium tourmaline, present as a valid mineral in the IMA list (Ertl , 2008).

Igino Cocchi in 1871 published his beautiful work on the geology of Elba

The first modern studies on the geology of Elba and the drafting of the maps that summarize its lithological and chronological characteristics date back to the early 1840s. In 1871 Igino Cocchi (1827-1913), professor of geology at the Institute of Higher Studies in Florence and member of
R. Co-interested Administration, which at the time managed the mines of Elba, publishes its beautiful work on the geology of Elba, accompanied by a polychrome geological map of the eastern area. Then followed the works of Bernardino Lotti in 1884, to then arrive at the map drawn up in 1969 by the geologists of the University of Pisa and the one currently being published, taken over by the geologists of the University of Florence (Tanelli, 2007).

Monte Capanne Rock spur
Rock spur, Monte Capanne, Elba Island geology

The geological history of the Island of Elba

The genesis of the open-air museum of Elba

The splendid crystals of the pegmatite geodes that del Capanne, as well as the shiny crystals of oligisto and pyrite of the iron deposits of Eastern Elba, are the product of peculiar minerogenic phenomena, developed in the late phases of magmatism and tectonics which between 7 and 5 million years ago, at the transition between the Miocene and the Pliocene, it affected the island. However, their history, in particular as regards the iron deposits and the masses of skarn associated with them, it is possible that it begins around 250 million years ago, at the transition between the Permian and the Triassic.

There are various scientific clues which lead us to believe that the first origin of the Elba iron deposits is associated with the Permo-Triassic phenomena, precipitated as muds of iron oxy-hydroxides, mixed with clays and quartz pebbles, above the rocks of Pangea, along the “African” coasts of the Tethys.

Ancient Elba Pangea Paleozoic rocks

Studying the geology of the Island of Elba we find these formations of ancient Pangea in the Palaeozoic rocks of the «gneiss» of Calamita, in the porphyroids and porphyritic schists of Ortano and in the carboniferous schists of Rio. Subsequently, the iron muds were covered by carbonate, sulphate and silicate sediments, and underwent those metamorphic, tectonic and orogenic phenomena, which affected the Tethys area between 60 and 10 million years and led to the formation of the Alps before and after ‘Northern Apennines then; of which Elba represents the extreme western offshoot.

Once the structural arrangement of the upper Tyrrhenian Sea had therefore been defined, around 7-8 million years ago there was the ascent of a magmatic mass of predominantly granite composition, and its emplacement within crustal levels at a depth of the order of some kilometres.

The mineralogical associations of Elba were formed

The geology of the Island of Elba «Capanne thermometamorphic ring»
The geology of the Island of Elba «Thermometamorphic ring of Capanne», derived from the heating of the minerals that made up the rocks enclosing the magma.

From the slow cooling of this magma and from the metamorphic, pegmatitic and hydrothermal phenomena associated with it, the mineralogical associations were thus formed during the geology of the Island of Elba which, after the removal of the covers due to tectonic and erosive causes, we find today in form the granodiorite mass of Monte Capanne, the granite porphyries, the euritic masses, the pegmatitic and aplitic veins that accompany it, as well as the mineralogical associations of the so-called «Capanne thermometamorphic ring», derived from the heating of the minerals that made up the encasing rocks the magma. Around two million years after the consolidation of the granite pluton of Capanne, in the subsoil of Porto Azzurro there was the ascent of a new granite mass, now outcropping in a limited area in the Buraccio area.

The metamorphic, metasomatic and hydrothermal actions linked to this magmatism are associated with the phenomena of mobilization and recrystallisation of the iron masses of western Elba and the formation of skarn silicate accumulations which accompany them in Santa Filomena di Rio and in Calamita (Tanelli, 1983 ).

Great mineralogical museum of Elba

The showcase dedicated to the Elba mineral collection Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence - Geology of the Island of Elba
The showcase dedicated to the Elba collection Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence

Having outlined therefore, the consistency and genesis of the «grandiose Elba mineralogical museum» let us see how the Elba Collection of the Mineralogy section of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence was formed, which shows the value geology of the Island of Elba. A collection recognized, in terms of number and quality
of the samples, as the most important and best representative of the «Elba Museum».

Particular minerals of the island of Elba

In 1825, in Florence, for the types of Attilio Tofani, a work was printed entitled: «Minerals particular to the island of Elba: found and collected by Signor Giovanni Ammannati, lieutenant of the RR. Chasseurs of the 1st Royal Ferdinand Regiment, described by Profess. Doctor Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti». Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti (1755-1826) was the son of Giovanni (1712-1783) and father of Antonio (1785-1856), the triad of great Tuscan naturalist scientists who worked in the Florentine Studies, in the Royal Museum of Physics and Natural History of Florence and in the Pisan Athenaeum for large
parts of the 18th and 19th centuries (Cipriani and Scarpellini, 2007).

Giovanni’s masterpiece remains his monumental «Reports of some travels made in different parts of Tuscany»; Antonio, a distinguished botanist, directed the Giardino dei Semplici in Florence (currently the Botanical Garden of the Natural History Museum), and was the husband of Fanny Rocchivecchi, the Florentine noblewoman to whom Giacomo Leopardi dedicated his poems of the Aspasia cycle.

Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti writes, how Lieutenant Ammannati had been «guided by a virtuous genius to know the beauties that Nature has generally scattered on the said Island and who took care to have excavated, and to collect, and thus make these singular beauties, which he found in a granite mass in a broom in S. Pietro in Campo in a place called Grotta d’Oggi, in a fund or possession belonging to the very reverend priest Mr. Raffaello Pisani ».

And so, among other things, a surname is encountered for the first time: Pisani, which in the figures of the Elbans Spirito Pisani and cap. Giuseppe Pisani, contributed in the 19th century to collecting and collecting minerals from Elba, as well as that Gio.Batta Pisani who was godfather of Luigi Celleri, the «Elba mineralogist» to whom the findings of many of the samples in the Foresi and Roster collections can be traced (Tanelli, 2007).

Ilvaite, Spessartine, Melanite, Octahedral Garnet, Polychrome Tourmalines, Ferro Oligisto, Petalite, Pollux, Beryl.

- Geology of the Island of Elba - Quartz in xlli covered with a crust of limonite.  Rio Marina, Elba (From the Catalog of the Elba Foresi Collections.
Quartz in xlli covered with a crust of limonite. Rio Marina, Elba (From the Catalog of the Elba Foresi Collections.

In the second half of the 19th century, Raffaello Foresi, in about twenty years showed us a large part of the geology of the Island of Elba, collecting thousands of samples of minerals from Elba. A special collection of that «little sanctuary of nature», as he writes in a printed letter to Igino Cocchi published in 1865. And he continues: «And they bear witness to this (I am talking about it without beating so as not to be infinite) the series of rich ilvaite of crystallographic varieties, the very clear specimens of spessartine and melanite, the octahedral garnet, the polychrome tourmalines, the multiple forms and hybridizations of iron oligisto, the castor [or PETalite] and the pollux perfectly crystallized, and two varieties of beryl, which out in this way they differ from the others of beryl known up to now» (Foresi, 1865).

At the Ponticello the Foresi Museum

On February 20, 1873, in a building located a hundred meters beyond «Il Ponticello» which crossed the narrow stretch of sea which at the time made the city wanted by Cosimo de’ Medici an island within an island, the Foresi Museum was inaugurated. In the museum, Raphael had exhibited not only the collection of minerals, but also that of remarkable lithic and metallic artifacts collected in Elba, Pianosa and Montecristo which, for the first time, documented the prehistoric and protohistoric frequentation of the islands of the archipelago.

The minerals of Elba at the Universal Exhibition in Paris

The collection had previously been exhibited at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867. As we can see from the signatures placed in the Visitor Register, still preserved in the archives of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence, the authorities attended the inauguration of the Foresi Museum. and a large number of citizens. The Museum was housed in a building owned by Raphael’s father, after all attempts to have a public building to exhibit the collections which, if necessary, would be donated to the Municipality had failed.

In fact, a prestigious venue had been identified for the Foresi Museum: the Palazzina dei Mulini, Napoleon’s residence during his brief stay on Elba, and left to the city of Portoferraio upon his departure from the island. But the requests that the state property, first of the Grand Ducal and then of the Unitary State, recognize the donation and return the Palazzina dei Mulini to the Municipality of Portoferraio, were systematically rejected.

Vincenzo Foresi, uncle of Raffaello Foresi

The location of the Foresi Museum in the Palazzina dei Mulini would have been, among other things, a just recognition of the decisive role that Vincenzo Foresi, Raphael’s uncle, had played in financing Napoleon’s return to Paris, as the dear “grand old man” tells us. Leonida Foresi, descendant of Vincenzo, journalist and historical memory of Elba. In fact, the official opening of the Foresi Museum had had a preview, since the note, reasonably written by Raffaello Foresi himself, relating to the visit of Dr. Heinrich Noé and Mrs. of Mittenwald in Bavaria.

The Foresi Museum remained open until Christmas Eve 1876, a few months after Raphael’s sudden death in February of the same year, at the age of 56. The Portoferraio High School-Gymnasium was named after Raffaelo Foresi, and the Foresian Library is the name of the cultural institution of the Municipality of Portoferraio, where precious books and documents of Elba history are collected donated by Mario Foresi (1850-1932), son of Raffaello.

Publications on Elba minerals

Scrolling through the pages of the Visitor’s Register, it emerges how illustrious personalities of mineralogy and geology of the time visited the Foresi Museum, praising it: Lotti, D’Achiardi, vom Rath, Bombici, Bechi, Cocchi, Roster, … The latter publishes in Bulletin of the Italian Geological Society a note that should have been, but unfortunately was not, the first of a series of publications on Elba minerals.

Some of these minerals – writes Roster – were collected by myself during my last stay on Elba, others I found to be part of the stupendous and unique mineralogical and petrographic collection, collected and ordered with so much love and great study by Mr. Raffaello Foresi. It should not be licit to set foot in the main city of the island without visiting this collection, because the natural riches, displayed therein displayed, both recreate the eye of the profane and arouse wonder and desire in the soul of the intelligent and of the scientist.

Among the many foreign works on the Island of Elba, the best are those which made the large collection of Foresi the subject of careful observation, the other less relevant of Captain Pisani of S. Piero (Roster, 1876). So also Roster, who found his “buen retiro” in Villa Ottonella and its Botanical Gardens, had begun to collect samples of Elba minerals, establishing a close relationship of collaboration and esteem with Foresi. After Raphael’s death, Roster himself, together with Giovan Battista (Bista) Toscanelli (1857-1882), linked to the man of Elba culture by filial friendship, took over the concessions held by Foresi for the search for minerals in the areas of S.Piero and S. Ilario. And they also «inherited» the precious collaboration of Luigi Celleri.

Raffaello Foresi’s very rich collection of Elba minerals was transferred to the Florentine Museum in 1877

With Raphael’s death, the family decided to sell the mineralogical collection and the «anti-historical objects», as Foresi had called his collection of artefacts «from the Stone and Bronze Ages», found on the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago ( Foresi, 1867).

After lengthy negotiations conducted by Giorgio Roster, Giuseppe Grattarola (1844-1907), professor of mineralogy at the Institute of Higher Studies in Florence and Paolo Mantegazza (1831-1910) professor of anthropology and ethnology at the same Institute, overcoming marked financial difficulties and thanks due to a fortunate series of circumstances, not least the interest of Igino Cocchi and Quintino Sella, the collections were purchased by the Florentine Institute and in March 1877 they reached the premises of «La Specola» and the «Palazzo Nonfinito» in Florence. Three years later, the collection of Foresi minerals, together with the entire «Museum and Laboratory of Mineralogy», was transferred to the new and more suitable location in Piazza S. Marco, where it is still kept today (Cipriani and Poggi, 1994; Cipriani et al ., 2010).

In 1888 the Roster collection of Elba minerals also arrived at the Florentine Museum

About ten years later, the R. Istituto di Studi Superiori also bought the collection of Elba minerals collected by Giorgio Roster, accompanied by six precious booklets in which Roster himself had described all the samples in detail, often accompanied by beautiful drawings.

Mineralogy laboratory and the catalog of the Elba collection

In 1914 Federico Millosevich (1875-1942), who succeeded Grattarola in the chair and in the direction of the Museum and Laboratory of Mineralogy, published a catalog raisonné of the Elba collection conserved in the Museum entitled: The 5000 Elbani. In fact, as Cipriani and Poggi (1994) point out: «The 5000 Elbani were actually 4966, distributed as follows among the various collections: Foresi 2553, Roster 1467, Antico Magazzino 717, Pisani 151, 67 others». With the name of Antico Magazzino Millosevich had indicated the samples already present in the ancient R. Museum of Physics and Natural History, among which it is possible that there were (and are) the samples collected in the seventeenth century by Niccolò Stenone and in the early 19th century by Giovanni Ammannati.

The samples grouped under the name Pisani concern the minerals supplied by the collector Spirito Pisani and those acquired from the collection of Captain Giuseppe Pisani. Since the publication of Millosevich’s work, the number of specimens in the Elba collection has increased significantly. Various samples have been exchanged with numerous naturalistic museums in the world, others have been purchased or donated to the Florentine museum, with a balance that brings the samples of the «Elba Collection» to 6312.

Fine collections of Elba minerals are kept in the Mineralogical Museums of the University of Pisa and of the Federico II of Naples and in the Civic Museum of Natural History in Milan.

The Elba collection in the Natural History Museum of the University of Florence

The Elba collection is the most complete representation of the island’s mineralogical wealth in the second half of the 19th century, and bears witness to the interesting geological history of the Island of Elba. Of particular importance are the specimens of tourmalines (elbaite), sometimes in association with colorless beryls, quartz, lepidolite and orthoclase. The portion of the geode covered with 132 elbaite crystals, coming from Grotta d’Oggi, and the splendid pink tourmalines extracted at Facciatoia stand out, next to the four enormous blocks of granite called the “four evangelists” found in 1873 in the locality of Fonte del Prete during research conducted by Raffaello Foresi, a short distance from San Piero.

The museum is located in Via La Pira, 4 – 50121 Florence (FI)

Minerals from the «Elban Collection» exhibited in the Florentine Museum

Ematite n° 933
Tormalina n° 656 (sono essenzialmente rappresentate da elbaite e schorlo)
Ortoclasio n° 629
Pyrite n° 555
Quarzo n° 545
Calcite n° 320
Goethite + Lepidocrocite + Limonite n° 306 (Specie non più ritenute valide dall’iMa)
Berillo n° 230
Ilvaite n° 178
Stilbite n° 162Magnetite n° 128
Opale n° 122
Petalite n° 88
Pollucite n° 87
Epidoto n° 82
Grossularia n° 75
Albite n° 73
Spessartina n° 66
Lepidolite n° 56
Cassiterite n° 52
Malachite n° 50

Sono elencate le specie rappresentate da almeno 50 campioni

Altri campioni minerali n° 945:
Actinolite, Almandino, Alunogeno, Analcime, Anatasio,
Andalusite, Andradite, Anorthite, Antigorite, Antracite, Apatite, Aragonite, Arsenopirite, Atacamite, Azzurrite, Baritina, Bertrandite, Biotite, Bismoclite, Bismutinite, Bismuto, Bonattite, Bornite, Braunite, Brochantite, Brucite,
Bustamite, Calcantite, Calcopyrite, Kaolinite, Cerussite, Cervantite, Chabasite, Clinocloro, Clinozoisite, Chlorite . , Forsterite, Galena, Gesso, Granato, Greigite, Halloysite, Halotrichite, Hastingsite, Hedenbergite, Heulandite, Huebnerite, Idromagnesite, Ilmenite, Iperstene, Jarosite, Johannsenite, Kroehnkite, Labradorite , Loellingite, Magnesite, Manganite, Manganocolumbite, Manganotantalite, Melanterite, Microlite, Minguzzite, Mizzonite, Molibdenite, Mordenite, Muscovite, Natrojarosite, Oligoclasio, Orneblenda, Pickeringite, Pirolusite, Pirosseno, Pirrotina,
Plumbogummite, Prehnite, Psilomelano, Rame, Rodocrosite, Rodonite, Rutilo, Salgemma, Sanidino, Scheelite, Sepiolite, Serpentino, Sphalerite, Sferocobaltite, Siderite, Spinello,
Stibina, Strueverite**, Strunzite , Talco, Titanite, Topazio, Tremolite, Vesuvianite, Wollastonite, Zircone, Zoisite, Zolfo

A large part of the description was taken from the text by: Giuseppe Tanelli and Luisa Poggi “Natural History Museum of the University of Florence

Where it is possible to see Elba minerals on the Island of Elba

Mining and Mineralogical Park of the Island of Elba exposure in Rio Marina and Capoliveri

On Elba, the «Erisia Gennai Tonietti» and «Alfeo Ricci» collections are worthy of particular note, exhibited respectively in Rio Marina and Capoliveri in the context of the initiatives of the Mining and Mineralogical Park of the Island of Elba.

Today the need to make our needs and our activities compatible with the limits and geological and biological fragility of the world in which we live is increasingly evident. This need, so that it can be made concrete with adequate political and economic choices, involves the social diffusion of ecological culture. A powerful means of achieving this goal is to showcase and illustrate the wonders of the natural world around us. With this aim and in the theme of this paper, a re-edition of Millosevich’s work should be entitled «The 6000 Elbani». Perhaps adding a subtitle: «the beauties and diversity of a splendid garden on Planet Earth».

Splendid tourmalines and beryls, at the Luigi Celleri Mining and Gemological Museum in San Piero

The area of ​​San Piero in Campo, rich in pegmatitic veins containing splendid tourmalines and beryls, has been studied by numerous geologists since 1825, including Ottaviano Targioni Tozzetti, Giovanni D’Achiardi, Raffaello Foresi and Luigi Celleri; it is in fact one of the European and world areas with the greatest concentrations of these precious minerals.

The recently established Luigi Celleri Mining and Gemmological Museum of San Piero has brought the public’s attention back to the wonders of the Elba subsoil.


The beauty of the geological history of the Island of Elba

Video that tells the particular geological history of the Island of Elba

The history of the Geology of the Island of Elba, discovering the collection of minerals from the Island of Elba with Vanni Moggi Cecchi, referent of the Litho-Mineralogical Collection of the Museum System of the University of Florence.

The Bay of Straccoligno

Sassi Neri Capoliveri Mine

The workshop of the Sassi Neri mine and the lake, what remains of the mining site The Sassi Neri mine ...
Galleria Miniera del Ginevro a  Calamita Capoliveri - Parco Minerario dell'Isola d'Elba

Ginevro Capoliveri mine

The Ginevro Mine is the only underground one on the Island of Elba The Ginevro mine is the only underground ...
Miniera del Vallone a Calamita Capoliveri

Vallone Capoliveri mine

The Vallone Mines and the Museum of the Old Workshop 6 km from the town of Capoliveri, immersed in the ...