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Villa San Martino, Elba

5 good reasons to go to Elba Island this summer

Not only beaches and crystal-clear sea: here are 5 more good reasons for an unforgettable vacation on Elba Island

If the hidden coves, golden sand and clear sea have not yet convinced you to spend a few days on Elba, we offer 5 experiences that will entice you to hop on the first available ferry!
From experiences in nature reserves to mining tours in the belly of the island, without giving up the pleasure of traditional food and wine, here are 5 reasons to spend your vacation on this enchanting island.

Contents
  • 1.
    Nature and biodiversity
  • 2.
    Sports
  • 3.
    Journey into the mines
  • 4.
    On the trail of Napoleon
  • 5.
    Food and wine
1.

Nature and biodiversity

Tuscan Archipelago Park
Tuscan Archipelago Park

Elba is a true natural paradise and together with the other six Tuscan islands is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.
A must-see is the Butterfly Sanctuary on Monte Perone where you can admire fifty species of butterflies including some very rare ones, such as the San Piero butterfly (Zerynthia cassandra linnea Bryk, 1932), endemic only to this area.
The island is an integral part of the Pelagos International Sanctuary for the Protection of Marine Mammals - a marine protected area between Italy and France - in which fin whales, sperm whales, dolphins and more than 8,500 different marine species coexist.
Finally, Elba is also part of the Tuscan Islands Biosphere Reserve where many different species of animals live, some rare, such as the red gull and peregrine falcon.

1.

Sports

Bike by the sea
Bike by the sea - Credit: Guida Mountain bike Elba

In addition to being a paradise for all lovers of water sports, Elba is an ideal place for trekking enthusiasts, and thanks to its trails it is particularly suitable for exploring it on foot.
Among the many proposed routes, the Great Elban Crossing is undoubtedly the most spectacular: a grandiose trekking route, considered one of the most beautiful hiking traverses in Italy, which takes place mainly on ridges and can be covered totally in four or five days or even in single stages.
More trained bikers can take an itinerary that starts from Paolina beach and arrives in the Elban hinterland, among splendid views that range from chestnut forests to the cool pine forest of Monte Perone to the beautiful Gabbiani coast.
Instead, traversing the eastern part of the island - from Porto Azzurro to Cavo - is the so-called Fishtail, a 35-kilometer itinerary that starts from the square in Porto Azzurro and touches on Barbarossa beach, Terranera small lake and the Hermitage of Santa Caterina.

1.

Journey into the mines

Mines of Capoliveri
Mines of Capoliveri - Credit: Elena Tedeschi

Exploring the underground and admiring the riches it holds: an underground journey that starts from the Rio Marina Mining Museum and leads to the discovery of the open mining areas in the main deposits of Rio Marina and Rio Albano: Bacino, Valle Giove, Falcacci and Conche.
The proposed activities are numerous: you can visit the mine on board the characteristic little train that leads to the discovery of the most important and ancient mines - during the visit a stop is made at the evocative and impressive Valle Giove mining site, to look for pyrite and hematite samples to preserve - or experience an adventure on board a real military vehicle - a VM90, 8-seater - through evocative off-road routes to discover the mining sites and the most famous Elban minerals.

1.

On the trail of Napoleon

Villa dei Mulini, interior
Villa dei Mulini, interior - Credit: Sailko

On May 3, back in 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte arrived in Portoferraio to serve his exile, although in truth he was named "emperor" of the island.
More than 200 years have passed since that moment, and today, visiting Elba can also be an opportunity to discover the riches and testimonies he left behind.
Villa dei Mulini, for example, is one of Napoleon's residences and is located in the historic center of Portoferraio: it owes its name to the existence of some windmills before Napoleon's arrival on the island.
Also in Portoferraio, then, is the Villa San Martino, which is the result of an extension of a rustic house, wanted by the emperor himself.

1.

Food and wine

Octopus
Octopus - Credit: StockSnap

Cuisine can also be a great reason to travel: the food and wine traditions of Elba Island are the fruit of the history of this territory, which has always fascinated peoples and intertwined the stories of those who come here.
Sea, mines and nature are the island's hallmarks and tell of cultural intertwining and exchange.
Starting with schiaccia briaca - a sweet with a strong Oriental influence - to octopus and Elba's famous aleatico passito - a sweet meditation nectar much loved by Napoleon during his Elban exile - the simple but decisive flavors of Elban cuisine will win you over immediately!

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