Piombino Tourist Attractions
SituationThe port and industrial town of Piombino lies roughly half-way down the coast of Tuscany, to the northeast of the island of Elba. To the north of the town rises Monte Massoncello (286m/938ft).HistoryThe town was a Roman foundation, under the name of Portus Falesiae. In the sixth century A.D. the Lombards, thrusting into Italy during the Great Migrations, destroyed Populonia, long a neighbor and rival, and thus increased the importance of Piombino, which in the 12th and 13th centuries became a major Pisan stronghold. Thereafter it frequently changed hands, until the Congress of Vienna in 1814 assigned it to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The name Piombino comes from the Italian word piombo (lead), reflecting the importance of the metalworking industry to the town's economy. Iron ore from Elba was already being smelted at Populonia in Etruscan times; and when modern industry came to Piombino in the latter part of the 19th century the use of new and efficient techniques made it possible to win iron not only from the ore of the nearby Colline Metallífere but from the huge slag-heaps left by the ironworkers of antiquity. Present-day Piombino is still a considerable industrial town, with blast furnaces and rolling-mills as prominent landmarks.
In Piazza Giuseppe Verdi, in the center of Piombino, can be seen a fragment of its medieval defenses, a massive 13th century tower and a 14th century town gate. From here the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the principal street of the old town, leads to the Palazzo Comunale (originally 12th century, but much rebuilt), adjoining which is the late 16th century clock-tower. In Piazza Curzio Desideri the late 14th century Church of Sant'Ántimo contains two fine tombs of the 14th and 15th centuries; a marble font by Andrea Guardi (1470) and another font made from an antique column. From the streets on the seafront there are attractive views of the island of Elba and the sea.