Just off the Tuscan Coast is the beautiful Island of Elba. Your point of entry is the port town of Portoferraio. It is a pleasant 60 minute boat ride from Piombino, the Tuscan coastal port, to this rather large island where Napoleon was exiled for 8 months in 1814/15. While Piombino is dominated by its steel works, Portoferraio by contrast offers a harbour of pastel-colored buildings, streets lined with palms, and an imposing fortress which towers high above a harbour full of some impressive yachts, a wealth of shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. Stroll along the port for a delicious handmade “gelato”.
From Portoferraio, it is about a 10 minute drive to Enfola and your beach-house perched above the sea. Once you have arrived, there is much to enjoy without using your car. The view is superb, both North towards the mainland in the distance and West, towards the Gulf of Procchio, against the background of Mount Capanne, 1019 m. high. The sun-dappled hills, covered with lush Mediterranean vegetation, are reflected in the crystal clear sea below. After you have basked in the beauty of the view, head to the beach, no more than 200 meters away from the gate, for swimming and sunbathing in clear, crystal blue water. You may walk there, bathe and then have lunch at the seaside restaurant, or stroll back up to your own porch. This is a world-class beach site! You can rent umbrellas and beach beds, and peddle-boats, and even motor boats for outings. There is an excellent restaurant here where you can lunch in your bathing suit, or return in the evening, a bit more dressed up, to enjoy the fine coastal specialties that make Italian beach holidays so spectacular.
THE HOUSE: Enter through the gated drive up a private lane to this beautifully-sited bungalow that sits above the sea – and with sea views all around. This is a great beach home for relaxed vacations of families or friends. With 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms this home offers all comforts. If you like casual living, great views, a clear blue sea, and dining al fresco, and if you want to offer your kids plenty of space to play out doors, this is a great place. The living area has wonderful views from picture windows on one side, and French doors on another which open up to a spacious outdoor terrace, and lawns with table tennis and solar shower, and the hills and sea beyond. There is separate indoor dining area with a long table to seat up to 10 comfortably. There are 3 double bedrooms and one single each with its own bath. A fully equipped kitchen offers dishwasher, microwave, and plenty of dishes, cookware, blenders, etc.
NEAR BY ON ELBA: For a special treat, you will want to drive 10 minutes to the village of Viticcio and the charming and delicious family-run restaurant, “Giacomino” built on the coastal rocks, where you can watch the sun set while you enjoy first, your “aperitivo” and then an excellent dinner. Another night, drive to Portoferraio for an extremely good trattoria, the “Stella Marina”; they have a delicious seafood antipasto, and of course, excellent seafood pasta, and fabulously fresh fish.You will also want to visit the Villa Mulini, Napoleon’s home here, set high on the hill overlooking the sea. Though staggeringly impressive as a home, with lovely gardens, and extensive outbuildings to house his 1000 man entourage, it is easy to imagine that he must have been a bit restless on this peaceful island with the mainland and the route to his beloved France so near and yet so far. The Villa has lovely decorative walls and ceilings, painted to imitate draped fabric in the Empire style to which he gave his name. It also holds his collection of books brought from Versailles, his campaign bed from the field, and some other attractive “‘Empire Furnishings”.
Don’t miss taking the superb drive through the splendid, lush mountains, and forests with chestnuts and pines higher up, and the more Mediterranean aloes and flora lower down, and always the sea and faraway coasts in view. You will want to stop in the port town of Marciana Marina, unpretentious and casual. Stroll along the harbour, where the buildings are mostly from the mid 19th century, and where there is no jarring junk architecture from the 1960s thrown up in a hurry to destroy the flavor. A nice restaurant here is “Rendez-vous da Marcello”: a few steps from the beach, with a lovely view and excellent food: mainly fish and a specialty of “cozze (mussels) alla marinara” Or, you might drive high up into the hills for lunch to the small mountain town of Marciana, to find the restaurant “Publius”, with a spectacular view, and great Tuscan food. They offer specialities like Polpi and Tagliatelle ai Funghi Porcini and excellent local wines – all in preparation for a hike up the mountain to the Madonna del Monte shrine, 45 minutes further up the mountain by foot, where a small church dedicated to the Madonna shares the heights with the house where Napoleon spent several months holed up with a woman of no historical significance (except to him, no doubt).