I was sadly thinking that our Windstar Voyage was almost over, when in a bright morning we sailed in Portoferraio, the largest town in the Island of Elba. Located just 6 miles away from the mainland, Elba is part of Tuscany and in the summer there are regular ferries which connect Elba with Corsica and Italy mainland.
Island of Elba attracts a lot of travelers in the summer season (high months being July & August), looking for a quick escape. Famous around the world for harboring the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte during his 1814 exile, Elba offers unique combination of active vacation (mountain biking, diving, hiking), and relaxation (azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea), combined with rich prehistory dating back to the Etruscans.
Our yacht docked right in the Harbor, and my husband and I eagerly headed uphill to the Old Town. For travelers interested in history, a visit to Villa Mulini (Napoleon Bonaparte's, Residence during his 300 days exile on the island) is a must as well as the two fortresses - Forte Falcone and Forte Stella built by Cosimo Medici as a part of the city defense system back in the 16th Century.
We started wandering around narrow cobblestone streets and after quick climb uphill we reached the Emperor's Villa set on the top of the town. It cost us 5 Euro per person to get an entry and we were fortunate enough to be just one of the few visitors at this late morning hour. The centerpiece of our tour was the expansive library and splendid terraced garden overlooking the Sea.
Located near Napoleon's Residence was Forte Stella easily recognized by it's unique pink brick color. The highest part offered strategical view of Villa Mulini and the gleaming sea.
Elba, like several other islands in the Mediterranean, takes few hours afternoon siesta, thus we had to alter our original plan to visit Forte Falcone and instead spend the rest of the afternoon at Portoferraio's main beach and souvenir shopping along the Marina's promenade.
Are you ready to embark on your small ship Mediterranean voyage?