The Volterraio Castle is the most ancient fortification of the whole Island of Elba. The origin of the name is uncertain: it could derive from the Etruscan “vultur” (vulture) or from the town of Volterra from which came the architect Vanni di Gherardo Rau who rebuilt the castle in 1281.
The castle was enlarged by the Pisans who used the fortress for defensive purposes. Strengthened in 1440, it is one of the few Elban fortresses never conquered by the Turkish pirates who raided the Island of Elba several times. In the hard sieges of 1544 and 1554 many citizens of Elba found refuge and shelter behind the mighty walls of the Volterraio Castle. For its strategic position it is visible from almost every point of the island, guarding and defending the whole territory of the Island of Elba.