Posted by: kimberlysullivan | June 4, 2013

Exploring Napoleon’s Empire: Elba – Part 2

Elba, ItalyLast week I wrote a post about what to see and do on the interesting Tuscan island of Elba, including a visit to the home of the island’s short-lived Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte.

This week I’ll continue with some places of interest to help you plan your Elba trip.

Capolivieri, Elba, ItalyCapolivieri: This Tuscan hill town has pretty views to the sea beyond. The town was inhabited at the time of the Etruscans and Ancient Romans, but it began to grow during the medieval period. In a strategic point, with a view to the sea, Capolivieri experienced many waves of invaders and fierce fighting over the centuries. Until 1980, when they were shut down, the iron mines around Capolivieri were important to the region’s economy. Now the town is a pleasant place to wander or to sit and relax out on the piazza.

Biodola, Elba, ItalyBeaches: For such a large island, the beaches are few and far between. Some of the beaches can only be reached by hiking trails, allowing for more seclusion. But most of Elba’s coastline is rocky and difficult to reach, except by boat.

Still, there are nice beaches scattered throughout the island – although I imagine they quickly grow crowded in the peak season of July and August. This photo is at the beach of Biodola, in the northern part of the island. Looks inviting, but it was far too cold to do anything other than wading that day.

Porto azzurro, ElbaPorto azzurro: This coastal town and port began to take shape in the 1600s, when the Spaniards built their fortress there to control invaders. This strategic position allowed them to control the  passage of military fleets along the strait between Elba and Piombino on the mainland. One of the beaches near town is named Barbarossa, after Red Beard, one of the pirates well known in this area.

Today the town is a bustling port for boats arriving in Elba, and the town is picturesque, with good restaurants and shopping. In the summer, the large town square hosts musical and cultural events.

Hopefully this gives you ideas for your next vacation to Elba. Enjoy…

ElbaPorto azzurro, Elba


  1. I remember the port area being quite beautiful – very busy in summer. We usually go to Corsica for a camping holiday – it always seems as though it will be horribly overcrowded but we have managed to find a quiet-ish area. I’m looking forward to escaping this rainy spring!

  2. Fascinating pictures and post. It is a pity I can’t enlarge the photos.

  3. […] That should get you started on Elba, but there’s more to see. I’ll continue my Elba tips in next week’s post. […]

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