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Tuscany

Discover glorious Tuscany from the deck of your boat and prepare to be impressed beyond words.
Discover glorious Tuscany from the deck of your boat and prepare to be impressed beyond words.

Who is renting a yacht suitable for?

For senior citizens

In spring and autumn, the Tuscan islands offer tranquil cruising, hand in hand with gentle exploration and sensational cuisine.

For families with children

The bays with sandy beaches on the Tuscan coastline and the island of Elba are the ideal place to anchor and go swimming with the children.

For lovers of history

You won’t find many ancient monuments on the islands, but there is some wonderful Medieval architecture here. Each town on the coastline and the islands has a fortified castle with a maze of narrow lanes just outside its walls.

For fans of longer cruises and thrill-seekers

The Tuscan ports are the ideal starting point for cruises to Sardinia and Corsica. A cruise around Corsica is a great experience, during which you will sail 350 NM in a week, and this is quite a lot.
 

Tuscany is quite probably the most idyllic yachting area of all, its centrepiece without a doubt, being the island of Elba. You will be anchoring here in beautiful bays, swimming near brilliant, white sandy beaches, and in the evening, you might set sail for a picturesque ancient harbour such as the Medieval Portoferraio. If, after a longer spell on board, you want to stretch your legs a bit, Elba offers walks along its sunny plains and through its fruit orchards and vineyards, where you can trek along winding roads to Monte Capanne, the highest mountain on the island, with an astounding view of the whole island and the Mediterranean Sea.

Tuscany is also a region where cooking in the galley of your boat will seem like sacrilege. In almost any family trattoria, you can get delicious yet simple dishes made using only regional ingredients, prepared in the traditional manner over an open fire, and of course in the typical Italian spirit of slow food—slow eating.

The Tuscan islands, and Elba especially, provide the ideal base for crossing to Corsica or Sardinia and for exploring the Ligurian and Tuscan coastline. It is recommended that your specific route be organised according to the prevailing winds in the given season. The yachting infrastructure is excellent, with a lot of marinas and charter companies based here, along with ancient harbours, buoy fields and sheltered bays. Compared to Croatia, though, there are fewer marinas and they are more expensive. Harbours are usually very busy due to ferry traffic and tourism generally, so you need to arrive in good time or make a reservation in advance. 

The worst time you can choose for sailing in this area is the last week in July and the first three weeks in August, a time when Italians celebrate their main national holiday, known as Ferragosto. Boats are expensive, harbours are full, and the prices of all services are hugely inflated.

The best time to sail is in May and the start of June, when everything is in bloom and the islands are reminiscent of fragrant botanical gardens. As you approach the island, especially at night, you will smell its captivating fragrance from afar. In the autumn, the best time is from mid-September to mid-October. The weather is very calm with gentle winds, the sea is warm, harbours and restaurants already have off-season prices, and there are far fewer tourists.

WARNING: In Italy, you are not allowed to anchor your boat and leave it unattended. At least one crew member must always remain onboard. It has happened to several Czech crews on Elba — they left their boat anchored and went to shore. When they returned, the boat was no longer there. An Italian or some other, had "rescued it" and towed it into harbour. He was entitled to a fee for rescuing it and the skipper was fined for leaving the boat unattended. Sometimes the rescue mission is led by a police boat while checking anchored boats. You must be very careful about this.

In summer, winds in the Tuscany area most frequently blow from the W–NW, but these winds rarely reach gale force. In the area of Capraia, Elba, and the mainland, you will frequently experience SE winds, alternating with frequent periods of calm. A light westerly or south-westerly wind usually blows at night. If atmospheric low pressure reaches the Gulf of Venice moving in a northerly direction, a relatively strong SW wind known as the Libeccio appears. Frequent thunderstorms appear in spring and autumn in this area around the islands. You can recognise them easily by the irregular cloud line and are usually short-lived.

Elba

On 3 May, 1814 at 18:00 local time, the British frigate Undaunted landed in the Elba harbour of Portoferraio carrying a truly rare cargo. Emperor Napoleon had been banished, to this small island situated a mere 16 km from the mainland under the Treaty of Fontainebleau and was bound to spend the rest of his hitherto-tempestuous-life in exile. And a more charming prison he could hardly choose. This is to say that many attractions have been accumulated on Elba and its surroundings over a very small area, particularly if, like Napoleon himself, you have a sailing yacht at your disposal. Its shores are filled with beautiful bays, of which there are so many that it is easy to find yourself an anchorage for the night or to have lunch. At the ends of these bays, you will almost always find a beautiful beach of snow-white sand or pleasantly massaging pebbles. The sea in the area around the shores of Elba is a deep turquoise and emerald colour and beckons you to dive in, so when you anchor, you really will have a hard time trying to keep the crew on board. Elba is a true paradise for divers. The dive to the comparitively modern wreck of L'Elviscot to the south of the island is a unique experience. If you sail around the whole of Elba, or you make a crossing to Corsica, devote a moment of your attention to the Capo San Andrea cape to the northeast of the island. This is a unique arrangement of cliffed coastline and unspoiled countryside. 

Portoferraio

Portoferraio is the capital of Elba and also one of the oldest cities on the island. Its atmosphere is created by narrow lanes leading uphill which are criss-crossed with washing lines bearing fragrant and freshly washed laundry. In the ancient past, it was graced by the long-term residence of the Ligures, the Estruscans, the Greeks, and later the Romans who renamed it Fabricia. Across the gulf, opposite the city near Begnaia Bay, is a place known as La Grotta, where you can see the remains of a Roman villa with terraces and a pool. The Medici family greatly influenced the contemporary appearance of the city. Cosimo Medici commenced extensive fortification work here in 1548. There is a lot of this to see in the peninsula harbour of Portoferrario itself. Apart from the beautiful city with its old lanes on the hill, you must not miss out on a visit to Napoleon’s residence, the Villa dei Mulini with its beautiful garden and view of the island of Capraia, which is located in the highest parts of the city between the Stella and Fort Falcone fortresses. One very important mark left by Napoleon is his summer residence in Villa San Martino, which you will find about 6 km in the direction of Marina Marciana and has now been transformed into the Demidoff Art Gallery. Other monuments worthy of your attention include the Chiesa Reverenda Misericordia and the Chiesa di Santo Stefano alle Trane, the Altura Etrusca del Castiglione Fortress, and the beautiful botanical gardens in Ottone dating back to 1910, where all sorts of palms and other plants have grown accustomed to the Mediterranean climate. In San Giovanni, not far from the city, our top recommendation is a visit to the pleasant thermal spas. The exquisite Spiaggia le Viste beach is near the harbour, and further to the west, the pebbles and rocks of Le Ghiaie Bay await you. In the early evening, walk to the walls of the citadel and be amazed by a magical sunset and sea displaying a wonderful show of colours ranging from liquid red to sepia. It is hard to say why Napoleon in fact escaped from Elba.

Trattorie La Barca

At Via Francesco Guarrazzi 60, near the harbour, you will find a cosy trattoria which is frequently visited by the locals, which is always a good sign. Order some fresh seafood, grilled fish, or a large pizza. It is advisable to reserve a table.

Portoferraio Marina

If you decide to anchor for the night in Portoferraio, you would be advised to do so before 17:00. The marina fills up very quickly, particularly during summer. You can anchor here in the NW or SE part of the harbour, but the first of these quays is lined by a busy street and road and is very noisy. The right side of the harbour basin is better for an overnight stay, the left side is nearer for a tour of the city. If you visit the marina during the day, ideally you should do so in the morning as you will be able to park there free of charge for 4 hours. Showers and toilets can be found in the town hall building about 300 m from the berths and the price is about EUR 4. When sailing in, a marina employee will show you where to berth.  You will find a lot of restaurants in the area around the harbour and also shops with the best prices. Another good place to stock up on provisions is Edilnautica Marina southwest of Portoferraio. There is a Co-op nearby. You can buy everything you need there, including wonderful limes to make cocktails on the boat. Be careful of the numerous ferries when sailing in.

Bagnaia Bay

If you set sail from Portoferraio on Saturday morning and want to find a nice bay with pleasant swimming, head out across the gulf towards Bagnaia Bay, which spreads out under the ruins of Volterraio castle. But be careful, entry is forbidden at the northwestern tip of the bay. You will find a lot of permanent moorings and decent shelter from the wind here, unless a W or NW wind happens to be blowing. There is a restaurant on the shore. Just 2.5 km north are the two small bays, Nisporto and Nisportino, both with nice beaches. There is a pizzeria in Nisporto.

Marciana Marina and Monte Campanne

A wise yachtsman will anchor for at least a while in the charismatic harbour town of Marciana Marina, which greets yachtsmen with its characteristic Saracen tower. And it is precisely from here that a path leads to Monte Capanne, the highest mountain on the island offering a view of the surrounding area so impressive that you will feel like Napoleon himself, if only for a moment. You can make the way down more pleasant by descending in the cable car and taking a bus the rest of the way back to the marina. This is also a great experience as the local drivers know the roads like the back of their hand and don’t take too much care with their driving. You can also do this trip from Marina di Campo on the south of the island.

Biodola

Biodola Bay, together with the peaks of Serrone delle Cime, Capannone, and Colle Pecorata, form a beautiful natural amphitheatre, skirted by a 600 m long sandy beach with emerald green seas. You anchor here at a depth of 6–8 m away from the swimming area, and on shore, you can head for one of the restaurants or bars or buy any groceries you need. There is also the smaller Scaglieri Beach in the bay. You will find Biadola Beach 8 km east of Portoferraio.

Marina di Campo

Golfo di Campo, as an amphitheatre, surrounds the attractive and very lively resort of Marina di Campo. Its harbour welcomes you with typical Pisan vigilance, manifested in the form of the Medieval Saracen tower. The harbour and small town give the impression of being inconspicuous, but they have a charm of their very own, particularly in low season. If you get up really early and walk a little way from your boat, you will meet returning fishermen and you can buy their freshly caught fish—sea bass, mackerel, bream, swordfish, tuna, and all types of seafood, and give the cook in your crew a (possibly unpleasant) surprise. 

Osteria al Moro, Marina di Campo

If you want to treat your partner to a romantic evening with great food, go to this trattoria not far from the centre. You will be seated in the outside dining area or the romantic green garden, and you will be served homemade pasta and fresh fish. 

The rest of the town was unfortunately badly damaged during the invasion by French troops in 1944 and its renovation was so thorough that there is not much left of the original architecture. Nevertheless, you will find some interesting places, a lot of lovely nooks and crannies and colourful Mediterranean houses. Ladies are also catered for here, with a lot of boutiques, little jewellery and clothing shops where you can even buy nice summer clothing at reasonable prices. The centre also offers a lot of shops with natural cosmetics, for example, from the San Giovanni Spa near Portoferraio.

You can shake off the stiffness of your muscles from a long sail on a lovely 6 km walk, climbing Monte Castello which is 227 m high. Apart from an impressive view of the Procchio and Golfo di Campi bays on opposite sides of the island, you will also discover the remains of an Etruscan settlement at the summit. Under the Roman paving stones there, archaeologists discovered the charred ruins of an Etruscan town which evidently failed to ward off an attack by invaders. 

In Marina di Campo itself, you absolutely must visit the beautiful undersea aquarium. You will also find an airport in the city and the largest sandy beach on the island, which is still usually half empty at the start of June. Younger yachtsmen will certainly appreciate the largest and oldest discotheque in the city, Tinello on La Casina, where dancing usually goes on until the early hours. If you avoid the first line of purely tourist restaurants, you will come across little pubs, trattoria, and takeaways where the locals go to eat good food at reasonable prices. In restaurants like this, it is no problem to enjoy a meal for EUR 10 and a good pizza from a takeaway will cost around EUR 7.50. You will also find a quite surprising number of attractive ice cream gelateria and yogurt bars here. 

Marina di Campo Harbour

Campo Bay allows you to anchor, but this is not recommended when stronger southerly winds are blowing. You will also find red buoys here, but do not let these fool you into thinking these are anchoring buoys. They only mark the line of the beach. If you set out in a motor boat to the shore, use the corridor marked with the white buoys NW of the harbour. The harbour itself is free of charge (at least it was at the start of June 2016), but a "bring your own anchor" system applies here. The local harbour master recommends dropping a 30–40 m anchor. Particularly when strong southerly winds are blowing, it is not advisable to anchor on the edge to the east of the breakwater by the red lighthouse, as the breakers will throw the boat around quite a bit and masts may bump into each other. In this case, it is advisable to ensure a larger gap between boats, or to draw into, or move away from the shore where possible.

Fetavaia

This bay is so beautiful that it has made it into our TOP 10 places to visit. It is relatively small, with a sandy bottom and superb hold for the anchor. You anchor here at a depth of roughly 10 m. As this is a very popular bay, it pays to get here early. There are bars and restaurants on the shore and a sports equipment rental point. Not far from here is a beautiful and very shallow dive down to the wreck of L'Elviscot.

Lacona

Lacona is a beautiful, deep bay with a sandy bottom providing great hold for the anchor even in strong winds up to 25 KN. Like many Italian bays, it may be relatively busy here during the day. It becomes empty again in the late afternoon and you will be able to enjoy the peace and quiet and some pleasant bathing by the beautiful sandy beach. Its disadvantages are limited shelter from the southerly wind and waves. Good parking is available in the northeastern corner next to the swimming buoys at a depth of between 3–7 m. A nice place to anchor and swim can be found near the beaches to the east of the bay, which are not so busy and are used occasionally by nudists.

Porto Azzurro

If anybody ever declared in the post-war period that they visited Porto Longone, it would be no exaggeration to say that this meant they were doing time in the infamous prison here. When ambitious managers later decided which town to set their sights on in the azure blue bay, the choice of course fell on Porto Azzurro.

Anchor south of the harbour, leave one capable member of the crew on board, and set out by dinghy to explore this beautiful town. You will be pleasantly surprised by the beautiful harbour square, without question the most beautiful on Elba. At its rear left corner, at the end of the first lane on the left, is a true paradise for ladies in the form of a unique workshop used to work stones with a shop attached. You can choose from dozens of meticulously crafted rings, bracelets, and necklaces here. The people of Elba know how to work some genuine miracles with stones. You will recognise the shop by the old mining cart with a display of stones in front of the entrance.

If you intend to stay in the town for a while and are interested in making a short pilgrimage, visit the Madonna di Monserrat, the most beautiful monument left by the Spanish on Elba. The former Spanish governor, Ponse y Leona was so homesick for Catalonia that he built a miniature copy of the famous Catalonian Monserrat cathedral at the end of a wildly romantic valley. Turn right about 1 km out of Porto Azzurro, on the road towards Rio nell‘ Elba.

Another point of interest is the citadel itself, dating back to 1604, which was transformed in 1858 into the previously mentioned prison. You will find it on the hill east of the harbour.

Barbarossa Bay

You will find Barbarossa Bay to the east of the citadel, about a 1.5 km above Porto Azzuro. This is a very nice, although small bay, so it pays to arrive early. You anchor here at a depth of about 13 m on a sandy bottom, where there is however, relatively little space due to the moorings and breakwaters. It offers very good shelter from northerly winds but attracts strong waves if there is a prevailing SE wind.

Laghetto di Terranera

If you fancy some unusual swimming in fresh water, sail your boat a couple of kilometres along to the coast to the fresh water lagoon, the Laghetto di Terranera with its sulphurous water. It will entrance you with its emerald green water and warm temperature, which is already much higher than that of the sea even at the start of high season. The lagoon is demarcated with signs which no longer have any writing on them, but despite this we know from our own experience that it is no problem to sail across the lagoon. On the slope not far from there, is the former Miniera di Terranera mine, where the ancient Romans very successfully mined hematite, pyrite, magnetite and limonite. If you decide to violate the ban on entry and set off for the mine, you may still find a stone or too there. There is also a beautiful view of the anchored boat, the bay and the lagoon which opens out before you from the old, half-ruined buildings around the lagoon.

The southeastern side is extremely interesting. It is lined with a large number of rusty, old mining towers, platforms, and pipes which surprisingly enrich the coastline and help create the genius juxtaposition of its location. The shadows cast by clouds over the deep, green and steep hillsides of Elba are stunningly beautiful. SW of Porto Azzurro, you will find lovely quiet beaches tucked away between the rocks.

Isolotto d' Ortano

Where the neighbouring bay is full of sailing yachts and motor boats from the Italian mainland, to the south of Isolotto d' Ortano, you can anchor in a quiet location and enjoy this attractive spot with several out-of-the-way, stony and sandy beaches and rugged rocks that enhance the charm of the place. Between the island and the mainland are shallows where you can easily get out and enjoy some nice snorkelling. But watch out for sea urchins! Seagulls nest on the island thanks to its relative remoteness and you can see their young here. But don’t hang around for too long or you will be attacked by the adults protecting their young. This is a very pleasant stop before crossing to the marina.

Rio Marina

This small harbour and even smaller town made its reputation through mining and exporting ore. And although the last iron mining operations in Rio Marina ended in 1984, the harbour cannot deny its past. Be this the paving in the streets, the facades, or the church tower, everything is covered in rusty red “make-up”. Sand containing pyrite was used for the plaster on the houses along the main street, which is lined with sycamores, and also the little, low houses around the watchtower dating back to 1534. The museum of minerals is a very interesting place and you will find it in the building of the municipal office, as is an excursion to see the former mines inland. Despite its attractiveness, this little harbour town attracts very few tourists.

You anchor in Rio Marina at the SE corner of the harbour, where there are moorings everywhere and berths provide decent shelter. Watch out for strong northerly and easterly winds.

 

Capraia

If you like sailing and relaxing, away from the crowds of tourists and ever-expanding commerce, you will fall in love with the island of Capraia. Its charm is absolutely undeniable, originating in the wild, untouched and uninterrupted nature of the island. There are in fact only two inhabited settlements here, the picturesque harbour, and the village above it where only 80 people live. In the past, this arrangement protected the locals from attacks by merciless pirates but today, these two charming locations are linked by a regular bus service. The whole island is covered in Roman paths, ancient towers and Romanesque churches. Capraia is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, and yachting is therefore highly restricted. Anchoring and diving near the island is only permitted to a regulated extent in the eastern and northeastern parts of the island, but fishing is prohibited. It is generally true that where the locals anchor, you can anchor too. But even at worst, sailors from the Carabinieri are reportedly quite reasonable to deal with. Zone 1 applies to the remaining shores, where entry and all activity is prohibited. Apart from an amazing trek through the picturesque vineyards and rocky slopes on the mountainous island, Capraia boasts a wealth of Roman history that overlaps into the present day, for example, in the form of the impressive Villa Romana ruins at the edge of the village above the harbour. The monumental fort, Forte di San Giorgio was built on the island as defence against the once frequent pirate raids along with many other buildings, including the watchtowers that give the island just the right atmosphere. The island was transformed into a prison much later, whose ruins you can view and walk through. There are almost no organised beaches on the island, which is a good thing for sailors like us. Here, you can choose from many deserted and beautiful rocky bays such as Ansa Ceppo with a sandy bottom and ideal anchoring depth, or Il Morto with its characteristic tower at the entrance. 

A small bus runs regularly from Porta do Castella all summer, the earliest leaving at 10:30 from the ferry. A ticket costs EUR 1 from the driver.

Porto Harbour

The town marina in Porto is very often full. When it is, you can anchor in a relatively unique manner, by mooring in the open water. The orange buoys are fitted with both bow and stern lines, each for two boats in a row. A porter will arrive in a dinghy, show you where to go and give you two bow and two stern mooring lines which are all attached to concrete blocks at the bottom. You can then get to the harbour itself by dinghy and use the shower or toilets. There is a fuel station here, but it is very expensive—EUR 2.40 L, in 2013. You can anchor in the bays to the north of the harbour, or in the harbour opposite the sandy beach.

Bays

Cala Mortara

This place at the northeastern corner of the island is an ideal place for lunch and a swim. A beautiful bay with superb crystal-clear waters.

Ansa Ceppo

A beautiful, wild bay below Punta Civitata open from the south and east. The surrounding area is formed of steep, strangely-shaped rocks which are characteristic for the whole southern side of Capraia. The higher part of the amphitheatre is covered in lush, green vegetation. At the foot of the bay is a small valley, a depression, where you can make a short trip before lunch or dinner and where you can see a small herd of chamois. You anchor here in sand at a depth of 5–8 m.

Carbacina

A small bay just a little way to the south-east below Ceppo, is also open to the south and east. You anchor here at a depth of 10–14 m.

Lo Scoglione

Directly south of Carbacina is Lo Scoglione Bay, named after the rock on the southern side. You anchor here at a great depth, 9–20 m as the bottom rises very sharply.

Il Morto

This bay is west of Punta Zenobito, where you will notice a tower on the rocks. The bottom is sandy and stony, 10–15 m deep.

Giglio

The island of Giglio takes its name from the lily which covers the whole of the island with wonderful colours in the spring. The local harbour and town are definitely worth visiting. The picturesque quay gradually disappears into a maze of narrow lanes, passages, and walls which are adorned with battlements.  On the hill above the marina is the monumental Castello, the local castle and fort which protected the island against dangerous pirates. A bus goes there from the town every hour, but a crew bursting with energy can easily manage the distance on foot. After this walk, you will certainly enjoy a refreshing swim on one of the many beautiful beaches with emerald green waters, which the island offers in abundance. The coastline of Giglia is extremely rugged, 28 km long, surrounded by smooth, granite rocks, and paved with a beautiful sea bed perfect for snorkelling. Tourism has penetrated the island, but the locals are taking care to ensure that this does not damage the authentic character of the place. You will thus find signs here saying things such as "Don’t pick the wild flowers", and even "Don’t make too much noise".

Costa Concordia

Giglio is widely known nowadays, for the wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia, which hit the rocks in 2012 near Cala Canelle and ran aground near Porto Giglio. Despite valiant attempts by the locals who helped with the rescue work, 32 people lost their lives in this maritime tragedy. Several officers including the captain were accused of manslaughter and the captain Paulo Schettino was sentenced to 16 years and 1 month in jail on 11 January 2015, 10 years for manslaughter, 5 years for causing the shipwreck, and 1 year for abandoning his passengers. In 2014, the wreck was towed to Genoa to be scrapped.

Giglio harbour

There is space for 150 boats here, most spaces for visitors being located by the windbreak. Anchoring here is performed in the classic stern-to-breakwater manner, there are moorings by most berths and you have to use your own anchor at the rest. Yachts with a draft upwards of 2 m are allegedly sent to anchor in front of the harbour—either to the north or to the south near Cala Canelle. The harbour is well sheltered, only a N and NE wind create a slight swell. There were no toilets or showers here in 2012, but there is a fuel station, restaurants and shops. 

Gorgona

Gorgona is the northernmost island in Tuscany, very hilly, with its highest peak 255 m above sea level. The island is a national park and landing there is forbidden, with the exception of the small harbour at Cala dello Scalo to the east of the island. This sleepy little fishing village is hidden on cliffed coastline and is home to the only beach on the island. The whole bay is watched over by Torre Nuova, built in the 17th century by a Tuscan count. The fishing village above the beach is now inhabited by prisoners from the local penal colony and descendants of the original settlers. From the beach, an unpaved path leads to the settlement and to the summit of the pass between the two highest points on the island, Punta Gorgona and Punta Zirri. On the opposite side of the pass is the old Torre Vecchia tower, built in the 12th century by the people of Pisa as a watchtower to guard against pirates. Most of the inhabitants however, live on the steep eastern slopes, where many monasteries and other buildings have been built. The administration of the whole island is done by the prison. Prisoners work on the island in farming, animal husbandry, and tourism, and they live here in decent conditions in relatively large cells, with common rooms and a nice football ground. A lot of rare plants grow on the island.

Giannutri

Isola Giannutri is a wild and beautiful island, situated at the very edge of the Tuscan archipelago. Compared to other islands, it is relatively low, the highest point measuring just 93 m. It is definitely worth spending the day here and walking all over the island. As this is a national park, sailing here is greatly restricted. It is completely forbidden to anchor and sail around the whole south of the island, the northeast, and the northwest. The eastern side of the island is however, completely accessible and there are several pleasant and well sheltered anchorages there. The island was almost uninhabited until recently, but villas and other buildings are starting to appear in Spalmatio Bay.

Spalmatio

A bay on the eastern coastline offering good shelter, apart from strong wind from the SE and E. Anchor wherever you can, just don’t block the local ferry. The depth is 5–8 m. If however, you have a boat up to 12 m in length, you can use the mooring line to the south of the bay. A summer village is on the shore with a hotel and restaurants, and in the direction of Cala Maestra you will come across the ruins of an ancient Roman villa where guided tours are offered. 

Cala Maestra

A small fjord to the west of the island. The small breakwater is usually occupied, so yachtsmen must anchor nearby and stretch out a line to the mainland. The bottom is sandy to rocky and anchors do not always hold well here. Directly to the north of the bay, a pleasant walk away, you will discover the aforementioned Roman villa, which some say belonged to Emperor Nero’s mother. There is a restaurant is on the shore. 

Montecristo

With its conical shape and 648 m high peak, the island of Montecristo dominates the horizon. Alexander Dumas immortalised the island by setting part of The Count of Montecristo, on its shores. Its echoes can still be felt at the island, the HM Denham reported that there were several individuals on the island, including an eccentric Englishman who had styled himself as the famous Count of Montecristo and was living on the island at the end of the 20th century. For us it is important that the island is a national park and landing and cruising at a distance of less than 1 km from the island are strictly forbidden. The island is allegedly overrun with deadly vipers.

Tuscan gastronomy is supported by three main pillars, without which you can’t even light the stove here. These are olive oil, wine and bread, and the local country-folk can work miracles with them. This is to say that Tuscan cuisine is above all, a pastoral cuisine where use is made of the things which are grazing or growing nearby and not a single piece of food goes to waste. Renowned delicacies include cibreo (stewed chicken kidneys, liver, heart and rooster combs), or colle ripieno (stuffed chicken neck). If you want to try the best fish you have ever eaten in your life, stop off in the centre of Livorna on your way to the harbour or back and try some cacciucco, a dish where each letter "c" stands for a type of fish used. Put another way, this is a stew made from five types of fish, prepared with tomatoes and capsicums, topped with fried bread. Elba lags slightly behind mainland Tuscany in the culinary arts, but does make up for it with some superb wine. To go with seafood, order a straw-yellow Procanino, a golden yellow Ansonico to accompany fish, and a ruby red Sangioveto to wash down some traditional game.

Biosteria 050, Pisa

If you travel to one of the marinas via Pisa or if your plane lands here, do your travel-weary body a favour and stop off for lunch at Biosteria, where all the food is prepared using seasonal and 100% organic ingredients. Their rabbit with mustard sauce is, for example, excellent, as is the risotto with kale. They also offer a cheap midday set menu here.

The wreck of the freighter Elviscot, Pomonte, Elba

In 1982, the 500 tonne Italian freighter L'Elviscot was heading from Naples towards Marseilles, but bad weather made navigation difficult and the ship ran aground on the reef at Ogliera. The ship was later scuttled and sank to the sandy seabed and is now one of the loveliest dives in Italy. There are two holes are in the stern that reach all the way to the bridge, where you will see a spectacular view of the daylight penetrating the ship. The wreck is at a depth of 12–13 m and its superstructure is a mere 2 m below the surface. Even a snorkeller with a little experience and common-sense can dive inside the wreck.

Remaiolo rock, Elba

This superb, multi-level dive starts at a shallow depth and extends all the way down to 50 m. On the way, you will see multicoloured walls of fissures and cracks bristling with life. The most beautiful view is offered at a depth of 18–25 m, and includes shoals of groupers and various other small fish.  

Scoglietto, Portoferraio, Elba

This site, which has been a marine reserve since 1971, is only a few minutes cruise from the main harbour on Elba. The dive offers wonderful biodiversity and is great for underwater photographers. The fish here are large and unafraid of divers, so they won’t dart out of shot. Take a look at the groupers, moray eels, stingrays, Atlantic bonito, sea eels, and large crabs and lobsters.

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The article is being prepared.

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