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Napoleon again brings fame to Elba


It seems that nearly every destination has its moment in the tourist sun; some, like London and Paris have a permanent lease, for others the world's attention span is short. And for Elba, a small island off Tuscany, it came once with Napoleon and is coming now again on the 200th anniversary of his death.

This summer the island, to which Napoleon was exiled in 1814, will see a long schedule of historic enactments, concerts, art exhibitions and a 'Napoleonic Passport' that will entitle visitors who check off all its sites and events to a special gift.

If that all seems a bit like a shameless tourism promotion, it certainly is, considering that Napoleon spent less than nine months on the island, ruling over its 12,000 residents as Emperor and plotting his return to France, to glory and eventually only months later, to his Waterloo. The next time, the victors put him on Saint Helena, almost 1,200 miles away.

But for this summer, he's the center of attention in Elba again. Florence's Uffizi Museum will open a gallery with a selection of paintings related to Napoleon's era on the island for three months, several music festivals are planned, and hiking and biking trails along his route will provide access to the places associated with him on Elba.

And for those of you who like to play with words, there's always the palindrome (falsely) attributed to Napoleon: Able was I, ere I saw Elba.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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