The Tuscan Archipelago, with its magnificent views and close proximity to Rome (approximately 200 miles), is a favorite vacation spot for the affluent. The remnants of the beautiful coastal mansions and gardens they created can be found all across the islands.
The archipelago continues to be a joy. Many of the natural and historic beauties here are conserved, often with restricted access, in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, one of Europe’s largest maritime reserves, unlike the storeyed attractions at Italy’s better-known places that routinely face tourist stampedes.
The entire archipelago has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and recreational activity is restricted in many parts due to the archipelago’s unique ecosystems, which include native flora and animals.
Summer adventure on the Tuscan Archipelago
Elba, the largest island, is accessible by ferry from the mainland port town of Piombino (the voyage takes 20 to an hour, depending on the boat and the Elba port you’re visiting).
Elba has recently gained a reputation as a destination for all types of outdoor activities lovers. There is a parade of vintage Fiat convertibles touring the island and a rally of muscle cars rumbling up and down the mountains.
Though only approximately 340 people per day are allowed on Pianosa, there are a variety of chaperoned activities available, such as sea kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and visits to the Roman-era catacomb complexes, as well as a ghost town at a harbor guarded by a battlemented stronghold.
A guided mountain bike tour exploring numerous abandoned structures from various ages is available. Some tour operators provide e-bikes that may be simply pedaled up to panoramic hills and medieval castles to experience the wonderful nature and vistas of rolling hills and vineyards. Tours may include a light wine sampling along the way and lunch at one of our favorite local establishments.
No matter how far away you are to be at times, you are never more than an hour or two walk from a locally caught seafood and pasta dinner at a beachside restaurant or a town with a piazza.
Visiting Elba on the Tuscan Archipelago
Getting There: You may fly to Elba from Pisa, Florence, or Milan, or take a ferry from the mainland’s Piombino. Livorno and Porto Santo Stefano are the primary ferries connecting the mainland to the other islands in the archipelago.
Staying There: The Tenuta delle Ripalte Resort on Elba is a huge, secluded historic 19th-century villa set high in the hills near Capoliveri. The price starts at around $90 per night.
Villa Ottone is an attractive oceanfront villa in Portoferraio, Elba’s major town. It was once owned by an aristocratic family. It’s been renovated into a resort featuring a spa, restaurants, and swimming pools, as well as a nearby golf course (from $168 per night as of May 31, 2022).
Eating There: A table at Portoferraio’s seafood restaurant Osteria Ferraja offers views of the town’s bustling harbor and medieval walls. In Rio nell’Elba, the vibrant Ristorante Da Cipolla di Carletti Davide is located on a gorgeous town square.
If you want book your ticket to Tuscan Archipelago and enjoy your post-pandemic freedom, read our blog for some tips on how you can snatch the best travel deals!