The island of Elba, positioned about 20kms off the Tuscan coast, is easily accessible by ferry from Piombino, south of Livorno.
Having a car there is essential as the island comprises many peninsulas which would be difficult to access otherwise. The island has a raw beauty with its golden beaches and mountainous interior.
Pulling into Portoferraio the first thing one sees is a huge fort overlooking the harbour. Built by Cosimo de Medici in the sixteenth century, it gives an imposing first impression to new arrivals from mainland Italy.
Spectacularly beautiful beaches touch the blue Mediterranean making the island of Elba a truly desirable holiday destination: apart from the well serviced beaches, there are plenty of restaurants and picturesque towns to visit.
The island owes much of its fame to the fact that Napoleon Bonaparte was sent into exile there in 1814 and stayed as its ruler for nine months. He, apparently, made a huge difference to the island in that short period of time, revamping its infrastructure and bringing new prosperity. Napoleon’s Villa Mulini, located in the centro storico (historic centre) of Portoferraio, is a must-see.
The centro storico of Capoliveri, a hilltown perched high over the beautiful harbour of Porto Azzurro is well worth visiting for its quaint streets, houses and little shops, while Porto Azzurro itself is a perfect place to stay and watch the moon rise over this sublime little island in the Mediterranean.