Cavatore Festival

The Festival of Cavatore (Quarryman), takes place every year in Capoliveri the Sunday before Pentecost, (which happens 50 days after Easter) so the date of the event changes every year. This festival celebrates miners' efforts, who were working in the nearby iron mines, struggling to demand better living conditions: in fact, the commemoration brings honor to the memory of many workers died in the wokplace. The festival starts with the Mass in memory of those who died at work, while the still alive former miners are awarded to honor (the medal of Cavatore). Later a group of men dressed as miners, with their simple meals in the basket, walks along the lanes of the village, chanting "The Romance of the quarryman". The festival continues with the feast of cavatore and accompanying music. To celebrate the life of the quarryman is a way to remember and to teach young people that the sustenance procured by honest work can not be replaced by ephemeral values.

Remember that Pentecost happens 50 days after Easter's day, so the date of the event changes each year.

Day One:

  • both in the morning and afternoon: guided tours to the mine
  • 20:00 pm, in Piazza Matteotti, Feast of Cavatore and Romance of Cavatore
  • 21:30 pm, in Piazza Garibaldi, projections and show of the past and present in Mine

Day two:

  • 6:00 pm, Romance of Cavatore along the lanes in the historic center of Capoliveri
  • 10:30 am, in Piazza del Cavatore, Official Miners Commemoration
  • At 11:00 am, in Piazza Matteotti, celebration of the Holy Mass
  • At 12:00, in Piazza Matteotti, Giuseppe Verdi band music concert
  • 19:00 pm, Cavatore menu at the restaurants in the historic center of Capoliveri
  • 21:00 pm, in Piazza Matteotti, Chorus of Santa Fiora Miners in concert

Deepening into the work of Cavatore

The miners were strong men who walked every day to the quarries of Calamita and Ginevro to work. Also known under the name of "men of the iron vein", they had different tasks among Miners, Cartwright, Pickmen and Quarrymen. All men, over the age of communion worked in the quarry, or to deal with the donkey transporting ore to the beach for boarding. With faces marked by toils, for centuries and generations the alarm went off at four in the morning and then, with flaming torches, men reached on foot the distant quarries. The day was spent working under mine in the dark tunnels or under the burning sun in search of the best vein, in order to break it with the pick, separating the ore from the earth waste. The material obtained was then loaded and transported in exchange for wages paid in wheat, oil or wine.

The extraction of iron in history

The extraction of iron, took place in these caves since Etruscan times(eighth cent. BC), when the ore was both being extracted and worked on the island. With their ovens, they produced small pieces of metal (about the size of a large sponges) that were later traded by merchants and exported all over the Mediterranean basin. Greeks known Elba as Aethalia (sooty) for the high smoke columns above the ovens.

Miner's Prayer - Bartolomeo Sestini

Club and pick, Evil God gave us,
against the ground to stop our anger:
you condemned us in a dark cloister
where we became slaves to Death.
Children of the sun, chained in shade
we hold in shadow the mark of pain
and the hate against you in our closed heart,
against the joys which are never born.
Haggard eyes full of fatigue
we dig singing through the red earth,
for ourselves we dig that same pit
whence comes out the bread that feeds us.
And to you, who the prayers of mothers
look, asking the Good for their children,
ready to lug our chains
to you, the rich human executioner
God of Glory, God of Beauty,
we throw you the hate of our broken hearts,
that from this shadow goes up to you between songs
of Justice and Freedom.

Fast inquiry

Elbaworld suggests

da visitare
What to visit

Discover places and attractions nearby.

Recommended excursions

Discover incredibly beautiful excursions on Elba Island.