Island Vibes

May 3, 2016
Playing rackets at Elba island

Elba Island is right off the coast of southern Tuscany and can best be reached by ferryboat from Piombino, and is about about 50 kilometres east of the French island of Corsica.

Map of Elba island

Elba Island is a popular summer getaway for Tuscans, and is quickly becoming a fashionable vacation destination for foreigners as well.

We decided to take a quick trip there right before the busy summer season starts.

Francesco at Fetovaia beach - Montecristo island in the background

Francesco at Fetovaia beach, South-West Elba – Montecristo island in the background.

Christina on the Mergidore beach

Margidore beach.

Elba island in Vespa

Elba island in Vespa can be a unique experience.

Elba Island was used by the ancient Etruscans to mine iron. The soil is rich as it’s the largest remaining stretch of land from the ancient tract that once connected the Italian peninsula to Corsica.

The island is also famous for hosting Napoleon for ten months after his forced abdication in 1814.

Napoleon Villa San Martino Elba island

Napoleon housa Elba island

We stayed at a hotel (Hotel Capo Sud) that faces the beach of the old pirate Margidore, which is a less touristy and more quiet area.

Our room had the most amazing view of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Hotel Capo Sud Elba island

After exploring the island and seeing two of Napoleon’s former palaces, we decided to (of course) go wine tasting.

Acquabona vineyard Elba island

Elba’s most famous wine is the raisin wine made of Aleatico grapes (a sweet wine that should be served for dessert/ after dinner), however we actually discovered some very particular rosé wines here, such as Elba rosato, Acquabona.

Elba aleatico with cantucci cookies

Elba aleatico with cantucci cookies.

The best way to see Elba is to either rent a small car or motorbike and explore the island since it’s quite large (Italy’s 3rd largest island).

The south side of the island is calmer, especially the beaches, since the north side tide can get pretty wavy while the south coast is usually calm.

We tried a few restaurants, and the ones that deserve a mention are:

For lunch, a very special old tavern in a village called Marciana, in the west side of the island, the “Osteria del Noce”.

Osteria del Noce Marciana Elba

Homemade bread at Osteria del Noce

Homemade bread at Osteria del Noce.

View on Marciana Marina from Osteria del Noce

View on Marciana Marina from Osteria del Noce.

Pesto trofie osteria del noce

Pesto trofie osteria del noce.

For dinner, in Portoferraio, the “Enoteca della Fortezza” which is located inside an old Medicean fortress.

Enoteca della Fortezza Portoferraio

Spaghetti with anchovy and pistachios

Spaghetti with anchovy and pistachios.

Portoferraio fortress


We Recommend when in Elba island:

Aleatico raisin wine (passito), is the symbol of the Elba island wines. It’s a sweet wine made of Aleatico grapes. It’s usually paired with dessert, or with dark chocolate.

Elba aleatico with cantucci cookies

Elba aleatico with cantucci cookies.

Aqucabuona Rosato, a very elegant rosè wine made of Sangioveto Syrah and Merlot grapes.

Elba rosato acquabona


A very particular fizzy wine made of Aleatico grapes. Aleatico is a type of grape that is typical from this island. You will find unique scents and flavours in this fizzy wine.

Tenuta ripalte aleatico fizzy wine Elba


Elba Ansonica Acquacalda or Sapereta, a dry and fruity white wine made of Ansonica grapes. A perfect pair with a dish of fresh fish.

Elba ansonica Acquacalda

Elba Ansonica Sapereta


While hiking in the central hills of Elba island, we found some very beautiful nature. In particular, as wine lovers, we were attracted by these elegant cork trees. Their bark is used to produce high quality corks for the best wines. This material is the only one that is able to guarantee a safe ageing process.

Cork tree in Elba island

Cork tree in Elba island.

Cork tree bark detail

Cork tree bark detail.

Capoliveri at night

The small town of Capoliveri at night.

View of Portoferraio from the ferryboat to Piombino

View of Portoferraio from the ferryboat to Piombino.

Macchia mediterranea Elba island

Macchia mediterranea on Elba island.

Italian Lapara boat

A typical Italian “Lapara” boat. the lights attract the fishes at night.

The harbour of Portoferraio

The harbour of Portoferraio.