The classic myths ascribed the origin of Elba Island to an ornament that slipped from the neck of Venus and fell into the sea.
History and nature are intertwined and have given rise, in very little space on the island, to a great variety of environments and cultural manifestations.
The morphology of the territory and the year-round mild climate make Elba a privileged destination for those who love outdoor sports, from mountain biking to trekking, with proposals linked to archaeological itineraries, from diving to kayaking and sailing, to discover the almost 150 km coastline full of grottoes and coves, not to mention free-climbing. In just a few kilometres, on a mountain bike it is possible to travel along paths at the beach and uphill through woods that open out onto panoramic ridges, up to the highest mountain of the archipelago, climbing along ancient mule tracks.
You can discover the same intriguing panorama on foot. There is no other place in the Mediterranean where every turn opens such varied and unexpected views. There are many foot paths that can be followed even by persons who are not particularly well-prepared in terms of athletics. For example, it is possible to walk to the peak of mount Cappannello in four hours from Rio Marina; from the peak to the mount Strega descent, the panorama is breathtaking. At the foot of the descent, after crossing the provincial route, you’ll find the unpaved track that leads to the Hermitage of St Catherine. Passing north of the Hermitage, take the almost invisible path that leads to old ruins of farmhouses. From there, go downhill to the provincial route and cross over to take the ascent to the fortress of Jupiter, romantic ruins from the mid-1300s. At this point, Rio nell’Elba is just 4 kilometres away.
In the spring and fall, it is possible to participate in events organized by the Tuscany Walking Festival.
For those who love scuba diving, there are numerous associations that offer the possibility to discover the seabed, or to practise recreational fishing and whale-watching. Elba Island is inside the Cetacean Sanctuary, the area of the Mediterranean where there is the greatest concentration of blue whales, dolphins, striped dolphins, bottle-nosed dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, Cuvier’s whales, pilot whales and sperm whales in their natural habitat. Finally, for the most daring, free climbing on the granite cliffs on the western coast or the Costa dei Gabbiani, with itineraries appropriate for expert climbers and for beginners.