Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Napoleona[euro][TM]s Mark on His Isle of Exile; David Ellis Explores the Island of Elba

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Napoleona[euro][TM]s Mark on His Isle of Exile; David Ellis Explores the Island of Elba

Article excerpt

NAPOLEON could certainly have done a lot worse than being exiled to the little Mediterranean island of Elba in 1814 in punishment for his surprising loss in the war with Russia, which head sought to add to his already many other conquests across Europe.

Because not only was here on Elba a place of exquisite natural beauty laying in the sunny Tuscan Archipelago off Italy, but the allied Sixth Coalition that had forced the Emperoras banishment allowed him to take a thousand or so faithful troops and other followers with him a and extraordinarily bestowed upon him sovereignty to run the place.

But while he stated publicly that Elba was awhere he would be happy to rest,a and where he threw himself into building new schools and hospitals, improving road networks and encouraging the arts, he was also quietly plotting his escapea[degrees] successfully doing so just ten months after setting foot on the island.

And he did it remarkably easily: one evening when the British Navyas aguard shipsa that were based in the islandas Portoferraio harbour were conveniently away elsewhere, Napoleon a a hero to most of the locals a and his men simply hopped aboard a few vessels put at their disposal, and sailed 280km across to land near Cannes in France.

Today just 31,000 permanent residents live a laid-back lifestyle on dreamy little Elba, somehow putting up with an extraordinary 4-million visitors who annually invade the place between March and October, tourism now being the most important industry after the open-cut iron ore mines were closed in 1982 because of their spreading disfigurement of the picturesque landscape.

We recently spent a captivating day on Elba during a Mediterranean cruise, taking a tour there with a proverbial awalking encyclopaediaa guide from Italian sightseeing specialist DDP-Incentive: she had a yarn to spin about everything from Napoleonas time on the island to the wine, the culture and the honey industry whose bees thrive on wild rosemary and lavendera[degrees] and the blossoms of Australian eucalypts that were imported to manufacture medicines and, she said, aare simply nice to breathe. …

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