Skip to main content

Italian island of Elba marks 200th anniversary of Napoleon's exile

By Frances Cha, CNN
updated 11:27 AM EDT, Tue May 6, 2014
The Italian island of Elba celebrates the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's exile to the island with a large-scale reenactment of the emperor's arrival. The Italian island of Elba celebrates the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's exile to the island with a large-scale reenactment of the emperor's arrival.
HIDE CAPTION
Elba's Napoleon complex
Small emperor, tall ship
Heading for a new home
French revolution
Napoleon's dynamite
Two hundred-year-old legacy
Napoleon's main residence
Steering towards more celebrations
Elba's rise to fame
France or bust
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tuscany's Elba Island is celebrating 200th anniversary of Napoleon's exile to Elba
  • Reenactment of emperor's arrival is one of many events for the bicentennial
  • The people of Elba remember Napoleon's legacy fondly

(CNN) -- It figures that the only person who couldn't leave the Tuscan island of Elba fast enough is the one locals seems to love the most.

Italy's third largest island celebrated the 200th anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte's arrival on Sunday.

Hundreds of Napoleon enthusiasts traveled to Elba to reenact the diminutive emperor's arrival at the prow of a large row boat.

Dressed in period costume, they milled about the island awaiting the highlight of the day -- when "Napoleon" himself finally showed up to the salute of cannons and cheers.

Happy 200th Mister Bonaparte

Elaborate reenactments are staged annually on the island, but have been ramped up for 2014 to mark Napoleon's bicentennial on Elba.

The French emperor was exiled here following his forced abdication of the throne in 1814.

He ruled as the island's sovereign for 300 days before escaping back to France.

10 things Italy does better than anywhere else

The people of Elba recall his legacy fondly -- he's credited with improving the lot of the islanders and locals still say Mass for him each May 5 at the island's Chiesa della Misericordia (Church of Mercy).

Upcoming events for the bicentennial include the exhibition of a large field tent from which Napoleon directed military operations during his campaigns.

There's also the Napoleon's Regatta yacht race, which arrives in Portoferraio on June 13, and a walking festival visiting Napoleon-related sites on the island.

Roman holidays

Elba is a popular vacation island with Romans in particular and its most famous attractions are Napoleon's former cribs.

The Villa dei Mulini was his primary pad on the island while the Villa Napoleonica di San Martino was his summer residence -- apparently just the one summer though.

Both are now museums.

Portoferraio isn't short of classy hotels, but the down-budget Albergo Ape Elbana might be more of interest given that it once received Napoleon's guests.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:56 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, these itineraries make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Good cocktails combine with spectacular views across rivers, cityscapes and oceans at these bird-level drinkeries.
updated 2:09 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
updated 10:26 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Cinema loves portraying the lives of expats. Sometimes it gets it right. Sometimes it casts Nick Nolte as a jungle king.
updated 9:17 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Don't be intimidated, says a local expert. Here's how to do China without the hassles
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
When your city has an unenviable reputation for insulting tourists and fleecing them for every cent, inviting hotel guests to pay what they want could be a risky move.
updated 3:10 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
1937 Auto Union V16 Streamliner, Audi Museum, Germany
With factory tours and collections of stunning vintage prototypes, southern Germany is petrolhead paradise.
updated 9:44 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Every tourist destination has a flip side, a season when prices go down and savvy, flexible travelers can score big savings.
updated 3:11 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A Marrakech lamp bazaar
Morocco's Red City is crammed with stunning gardens, shaded souks and steamy bath houses.
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Santo Stefano Island, Italy
Pristine beaches, unspoiled nature and few tourists -- a stretch on these former penal colonies is no longer a punishment.
updated 3:49 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Life in Joburg can be stressful. Luckily there are some exceedingly non-stressful places close by.
updated 5:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Istanbul skyline
CNN's Ivan Watson pays homage to the city he's called home for the past 12 years.
China notches up another superlative achievement as a Nanjing-based artist creates the world's largest and longest anamorphic painting.
updated 4:02 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
In what is undoubtedly the world's "coolest" surf video, photographer Chris Burkhard endures freezing temperatures, blizzards and injury to capture Arctic waves and their riders.
updated 11:39 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Few airline routes are as cutthroat as the one that travels between London and New York. It is the world's busiest route and there are few lengths airlines won't go to in the hopes of getting a piece of the action.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT