Orto dei Semplici

The Orto dei Semplici is situated beside the Hermitage of Santa Caterina in Rio at the Elba, where the original Garden of the sanctuary has been reorganized in botanical garden in 1990 behest of University professors F. Garbari and G. Corsi. It was founded in order to spread the acquaintance of the ancient spontaneous plants and cultivated of Elba and of Tuscany Archipelago. Therefore the ethnobotanical traditions of the territory conserve can be conserved.

The Elba Orto dei Semplici collects medicinal plants, fruit plants and typical plants of the island such as those of the Mediterranean scrub, and endemic plants such as the fleur-de-lis of Capraia or the lavender of Elba, apart from the ancient characteristic types of vine variety of Elba.

The inner area of the garden is organized in 10 thematic sections, with communication trenches and resting places realized with natural materials like the tuff stone and the wood. The ten gardens are subdivided in these sections: Mediterranean scrub, the flora of marine dunes, the plants of the Elba ancient gardens, the sacred plants of the ancient civilizations, the pergola, the maze, the amphitheater, the orchard, the garden of the butterflies and the great field.

For the safeguard of the typical orchards of Elba to extinction risk, a field catalogue has been created which encloses the most cultivated species to fruit (peach tree, pear tree, plum tree, cherry-tree, almond tree, grapevine, persimmon, medlar tree and many others).

Therefore the Orto dei Semplici is a place which collects the main Elba plants the local population has cultivated, has drawn nourishment and has received care by them since always. The botanical garden can be visited in spring, summer and autumn, and special activities for school groups are organized.

Information about the Garden and opening hours


from October to November

From Friday to Sunday 10:00-13:00 (Closed in case of raining)

We are opening by appointment for groups 

Prices and Info

Free entry

Info & Reservations:

Roberto Ballini Cell Phone (+39) 339.2974678
Comune Rio nell’Elba Tel. (+39) 0565.943428-943459

Location and directions

Monte Serra 
Near the Hermitage of Santa Caterina, you can reach the Garden following the directions from Rio nell'Elba to Nisporto-Nisportino, you will see the sign where a dirt road is starting and goes to a space where you can leave your car and walk along a tree-lined street of cypress trees until you reach the Hermitage and its botanical garden.

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