The history of Capraia, during the Roman era, is told in the permanent exhibition “The Return of the Warrior”. Set up in the sacristy of the fascinating Sant’Antonio complex, the exhibition exhibits a series of important archaeological finds discovered on the island and its surrounding waters.
The most impressive finds come from the Tomb of the Warrior, discovered in the 1980s, during excavations in the churchyard of Santa Maria Assunta, in Capraia. Inside the tomb, an important trousseau was recovered, consisting of numerous items, including two gilded bronze belt buckles, a sword and an iron knife with a wooden sheath. The remains of the skeleton and the trousseau, made it possible to attribute the tomb to a 25-30 year old soldier, perhaps a Frank from Avitus’ imperial army, who died during the battle of Corsica in 456 AD, against a Vandal fleet that had left Carthage to sack Gaul or Italy.
The exhibition also includes objects from shipwrecks found around the island. The most famous of these is the “Relitto delle Formiche” (Ant Wreck), named after the nearby group of islets and rocks off the north coast of the island, resembling ants.
In spring, tufted shags, diving birds similar to the cormorant, often come to rest on these islets. It is an area with very beautiful seabed, but with dangerous and strong underwater currents. Since ancient times, many ships have been wrecked on the “Formiche”.
The wreck, which is still being studied, belongs to a Hellenistic cargo ship, which was probably used for commercial traffic and is over 2000 years old.
Many of the amphorae and ceramics found in the wreck were part of the cargo and are evidence of the flourishing trade, from the Tyrrhenian Sea, to Gaul and Spain. The area of the wreck is now a no-sailing zone.