Portoferraio – Capital City of Elba Island, Tuscany

Elvis Elvis

“Let’s go to Elba Island”, the invitation came from my wife.

I love islands and the mystique and uniqueness that each of them offer. After days of traipsing in Florence, and with still a few vacation days left, going to an island seemed like a good idea. So off to Elba we went.

From Piombino, first stop was Cavo then to this port city of Portoferraio, a modern city with medieval charm. At the boat’s deck, the view of Elba Island and this city is unlike any other. The hills that are dotted with pastel-colored cottages, like spectators seated in an amphitheater, stand witness to the hustle and bustle at the port below.

Off the boat, the first thing that caught my attention was the U-shaped base of city of Portoferraio that leads to Porta a Mare and to Piazza Cavour. It is a unique sight – something I have never seen during my visits to the islands in the Pacific. This one excites all the senses and prods you to stay awhile and explore the other attractions of the city.

So what is there to see in Elba Island?

A lot – especially if you love beaches.

Portoferraio   Capital City of Elba Island, Tuscany
City Attractions

North of Piazza Cavour is Via Garibaldi leading to the city’s famous attraction – the Villa dei Mulini. This used to be Napoleon Bonaparte’s residence. Inside are his furnishings, books, a flag with three golden bees, and his paraphernalia. The gardens offer an unobstructed view of the city, Forte Falcone on the western side is a once powerful fortress, and Forte Stella on the eastern side. The forts are accessible through Porte a Terra. Forte Falcone is open daily until midnight, while Villa dei Mulini opens Wednesdays to Mondays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Going down Via Garibaldi you will find the two parishes – the Holy Sacrament and the Misericordia. Nearby is the Town Hall, the Biblioteca Foresiana, and going down west is the tiny but impressive Teatro dei Vigilanti. Going east you will find Piazza della Repubblica, the vibrant center of Portoferraio, complete with a tiny 18th century church, a market, and relaxing cafes. On the eastern side of the port, outside the walls is the Museo Civico Archeologico containing artifacts from the Roman villas that were uncovered here.

Once you have visited these attractions, it is time to test the waters of Portoferraio – literally.

Porteferraio Attractions:

  • The Napoleon Museums – Tickets from any of the museums are good at both museums.
  • Villa dei Mulini at Portoferraio
  • Villa Napoleone di San Martino (5 Km. From Portoferraio)
  • Museo Archelogico della Linguella Portofferaio Loc. Linguella
  • Pinacoteco Foresiana (Painting Gallery), Portoferraio, Via Salita Napoleone
  • Biblioteca Comunale Foresiana, Portoferraio, Palazzo Comunale (City Hall)
  • Museo della Misericordia, Portofferaio, Via Salita Napoleone
  • Orto Botanico dell’ Ottone (Botanical Gardens), Camping Rosselba Le Palme – Loc. Ottone
  • Forte Falcone, Portoferraio, entrance in via Guerrazzi
  • Forte Stella, Portofferraio, Loc. Forte Stella
  • Il Giardino dell’arte di Italo Bolano, Portoferraio, Valle S. Martino

Elba Island   like a coin has two sides. The western side, and the Eastern side – both with beautiful and unique beaches.