Porto Azurro, Rio Marina, and Capoliveri in Eastern Elba, Tuscany

Elvis Elvis

Eastern Elba

Driving towards Porto Azurro for about 4 km. you will arrive at a turn-off for Bagnaia. From here the resort town is just 3.5 km.

Further east is Rio nell’ Elba. An old mining village set in the hills overlooking the eastern coast, it is a pleasant town dotted with pastel-colored houses. On your way here, stop by Volterraio and visit the 11th-century Pisan castle on the summit.

Rio Marina is the town’s port where even today open cast mining, polishing and jewelry-making is a main livelihood. The port is surrounded by hills containing iron ores giving this port a pinkish hue. Places of interest include the Minerological Museum(open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. with entrance fee) at the Palazzo Comunale. The museum has a large collection of the island’s rocks and minerals that is possibly unmatched in variety anywhere else.

For beach lovers, there is a beach just behind the old clock tower. There are also undeveloped beaches on the western side of this peninsula at Nisporto and Nisportino. The western side has fine beaches in Ortano, Porticciolo, Barbarossa and the resort town of Cavo.

Porto Azurro, Rio Marina, and Capoliveri in Eastern Elba, Tuscany

Southward from Rio Marina is fashionable Porto Azurro – the main town on the east coast of this island. There are two fortresses in this town – Forte Longone now a maximum security prison and Forte Focardo. This town is a favored place for a leisurely promenade and designer shopping. For food lovers, the town offers specialties such as cacciucco of octopus, dogfish, and prawns. Try also their schiaccia briacamade with hazelnuts and Aleatico wine.

There is a town beach here, but if you want something unique, visit Terrenere. The beach with a yellow-blue sulphur pond. Porto Azurro is also the jump-off point for those wishing to visit the island of Montecristo.

Don’t miss the other attraction here – the famous shrine of the Black Madonna or Sanctuary of Monserrato on your way to Porto Azurro.

Lake Terranera

This is worth the walk.

From Porto Azurro to Rio nell’Elba just after the turning for the Madonna di Monserrato, at the sign Residencia Reale is the hidden gem of a lake – Lake Terranera.

This is an emerald-green lake surrounded by red rocks and yellow broom and separated from the sea by a strip of sand. It is a sight to behold, one you will probably never see again in this lifetime.

Don’t miss this one.

Farther south is beautiful Capoliveri, one of the oldest inhabited sites in the island. This medieval village commands a view of Pianosa, Montecristo, Gorgona, and Capraia islands. The roads from the hills to the sea are normally cart tracks but are usually worth following unless marked strada privata. These tracks usually lead to the loveliest beaches in this side of the island. My favorite is Innamorata, a sandy inlet with an interesting legend, and just 3 kilometers from Capoliveri. To get here, just follow the signs.

For those wary of unbeaten tracks, head for the developed resorts at Golfo Stella and Golfo di Lacona.

In some destinations, once you’ve seen one of the beaches you conclude that you have seen all. Not in Elba.

There are more beaches at the western side of this island – each with a unique beauty all its own.

Porto Azurro is just one of the many beaches in Elba.  Explore the area around this quaint town and you might find your own perfect private beach.