The famous beach The Red, on the coast of the municipality of Porto Azzurro onElba island, has turned into a long expanse of White sand. Instead of a mix of very small and reddish sand and gravel coming from the mountains and hills behind the coast (notoriously rich in metals) there is now a stretch of beach more like a piece of the Caribbean than a Mediterranean island. Why? The fault lies with the latest nourishment interventions for which sand from Stintino, in Sardinia. Legambiente Arcipelago Toscano’s accusation is clear: “Why use white sand, and moreover from Sardinia, to replace that famous red expanse that even gave it its name? – he asks himself Umberto Mazzantini, sea manager for Tuscany – Other material from the area closer to the previous one could have been used ”. Mazzantini also recalls the purpose of the Tuscany region, underlined by the latest press releases, to implement nourishment sustainable. The local citizens also have conflicting ideas, some happier to finally have a well-groomed and presentable beach, others more conservative and nostalgic for a ruined place in its “red” tradition.
The Red First
The response from the mayor of Porto Azzurro, Maurizio Papi, reverses the question: “Tell me where we can get this material on the island and we will do it.” And he adds: “The story of the name ‘La rossa’ is not entirely correct”. According to the mayor many years ago it was said to be called “Of the redhead”Because, at the end of the nineteenth century, a beautiful red-haired woman lived in that area, and in the town people came to go and see this“ redhead ”. “In short, it has nothing to do with the beach. Indeed, that area was in disastrous condition, it was necessary to fix it. In the past years we have used different types of material, sometimes normal sand, other times fine gravel, and this year, with the authorization of the Region, we have convinced ourselves to use the beautiful white sand of the Sardinia”.
The news that three Elban municipalities – Porto Light blue, Capoliveri e Rio – have sent an application to Unesco to make the mines of Elba, one of the non-seaside attractions of the island: “After an important request like this, an intervention of the kind that cancels the geological history of a piece of urban land cannot be made” adds Mazzantini. But it is not the first time in the history of Elba that something like this has happened. In 1999 a similar case occurred in Cable, in the Municipality of Rio Marina, where ferries and hydrofoils also dock: a nourishment was carried out with mining material which on that occasion dyed the sea red and which also cost some warranty notice.
All the photos on the page are granted by Legambiente Arcipelago Toscano