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5 Must-Do Things in Elba

Elba at night
Photo taken by  Elba at night

One is tempted to call the island of Elba, located near the shores of Tuscany, a true paradise. The main reason why tourists come here is its many beaches. Some of them are easy to reach, while others are not; some are crowded, while others completely deserted. Regardless of the differences, though, they’re all characterised by spectacular cliffs, white rocks, soft sand and crystal-clear water.

Here are five more features of Elba that will enrich your vacation on the beautiful island.

1. The site of Napoleon’s Exile

An engraved vintage illustration image of Napoleon Bonaparte
Photo taken by  An engraved vintage illustration image of Napoleon Bonaparte

Elba was put on the map thanks to the French emperor Napoleon, who was exiled from his country and brought here in spring of 1814. The Palazzina dei Mulini, the Villa San Martino and the Teatro dei Vigilanti are all fragments of his heritage that remain to this day. Be sure to visit the Palazzina dei Mulini where the famous exile used to work and which opens up on a breathtaking vista.

2. Elba’s Food and Liqueurs

Photo taken by  Seafood

We recommend you try some fresh fish, seafood and macaroni dishes, served in the coastal restaurants. Honey, chestnuts and mushrooms are the island’s typical products, and Schiaccia briaca (literally, drunken bread) is Elba’s most famous flour dish – it’s bread with nuts, raisins and dried fruit, which used to be made for sailors heading out on a long voyage.

From time immemorial, the inhabitants of the island have been home-brewing liqueurs from citrus fruits collected in the Sant’Andrea area. To this day, the Limoncino and Arancino are traditional liqueurs, made according to recipes and tradition passed from generation to generation.

3. The Marciana Alta Village

Marciana village in Elba Island
Photo taken by  Marciana village in Elba Island

Marciana Alta is the highest and probably oldest settlement of the island, located 375 m above sea level and looking like it's right out of a fairy tale. Its narrow cobbled streets, designated for pedestrians only, are decorated with blooming flowers. Old men, sitting on porches, escort unexpected tourists with forgiving glances. And let’s not forget the magnificent view of the sea.

4. The Island’s Highest Peak – Monte Capanne

People climbing up mount Capanne
Photo taken by  People climbing up mount Capanne

A funicular, located near the Marciana Alta, can take you to Monte Capanne, which opens up on a breathtaking panorama of the island and the Mediterranean Sea. Weather permitting, some other islands can also be seen from the top.

5. The Mines of Capoliveri

Forno, on the Biodola Bay, Elba island
Photo taken by  Forno, on the Biodola Bay, Elba island

Miniere di Capoliveri is a thousands-of-years-old iron ore mine complex that was closed as late as 1980. The island’s natural riches were exploited by the Etruscans, Greeks, Romans, people of Pisa, Florence and Genoa, and even Napoleon himself. Now, the former mineral mines can be visited with guides, who will inform you not just of their history, but also of details of the everyday lives of the workers.

The most impressive of the offered tours consists of a visit to the Ginevro Pit where lodestone was mined.

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