When you are looking for some relief from the summer heat, Marciana comes to our rescue. This medieval town is lucky enough to be at the foot of Monte Capanne and for this reason, even in August, it is easy to come across pleasant gusts of fresh wind. Marciana is a village worth visiting and also preserves the most famous and ancient sanctuary on the Island of Elba.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Monte
The start of the excursion to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Monte in Marciana is immediately fabulous because you have to park under the Pisan fortress of Marciana (which is the highest point in the village), and from that parking lot a unique panorama opens up on Marciana Marina, Poggio and Capo d’Enfola. Once we have filled up with that view, we go down the road until, on the left, we will see a stone paved road (very well marked by the signs) that climbs towards the Madonna del Monte.
The chestnuts, the church and the “Teatro della Fonte”
The route is of medium difficulty and to get there a splendid walk surrounded by chestnut trees awaits us: for about four kilometers, you will find only the 14 chapels of the Via Crucis, the sea view and a few butterflies that flit around.
Once you get to the top, there is a nice square with a few benches and a couple of rustic tables waiting for you, but the first thing you will notice will be the three huge chestnut trees whose fruits are collected and cooked during the chestnut festivals of Marchiana and Poggio. The church is very suggestive but the Teatro della Fonte will also capture your attention, with its three white marble masks that once all poured fresh drinking water, while today only one works and can quench the travelers’ thirst.
We are not surprised if (from 23 August to 5 September 1815) Napoleon chose the Madonna del Monte as a place of retreat and with the company of Maria Walewska, his mistress, his stay must have been truly perfect.