This is a post about different Tuscany. After all these years travelling to Tuscany I could not imagine that Tuscany can also be this different. Your typical image is rolling hills, cypress trees, stone built villas, vineyards, and this is Tuscany I fell in love with, this romantic, dreamy, delicious land of great food, wine and people. This is Tuscany I have been inviting moms to come and explore this year, because I want to share this love and let them experience it too, because, as we all know, moms deserve it all, more than anyone else.
Tuscany is large region, and travelling around it, you start to notice change of scenery and landscape, that is typical only to that region. Starting from foothills of Apenine mountains where Lucca is located, forwards to La Svizzera Pesciatina (yes Italians have their own Switzerland inside their country and it’s magnificent!), down to majestic Florence and Chianti wine region. The most visited Siena and Arezzo area, ever popular by the movie “Under the Tuscan sun”, with the most Tuscanicious postcard views from the whole area. Then moving down towards coast where Pisa and Livorno – two major port cities of Tuscany are located. But this time the story is about archipelago Toscano. Yes Tuscany has it’s own archipelago of islands. It consists of 7 islands off the coast of western Tuscany between Ligurian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea. The largest one of them is Elba, and that’s the one we visited and I found my new true love in Tuscany again.
Our trip starts by travelling with a car to town of Piombino, where we take a ferry to island. There are different ports to go to, but we choose Porrtoferraio, the biggest town on the island. This trip is just me and Lorenzo, my husband. Our child is staying with Italian grandma, on the mainland, finally. We have few days to ourselves to enjoy and celebrate our three years wedding anniversary.
We have booked one of the few 5 star hotels on the island, the island is not big, and you notice immediately the presence of mainly Italian, and European tourists. The drive from port to “Villa Ottone” is stunning, with million dollar views, leading us through mountain road, with sea on one side and lush mountains on the other. Other thing I notice straight away is flowers everywhere and hot, fragrant, salty air that is filling our car.
The Elba island is quite small, if we compare to other popular Italian islands, it would be the third of size of Sardinia, and you can travel from one end to island to other in 20-30 minutes. The main towns are spread throughout the island with Portoferraio in north, then Marina di Campo on south west coast, stunning beach town Porto Azurro and another stunner on the top of mountain Capoliveri south east and Rio Marina on the East of island. We didn’t get to travel the whole island, just because we wanted our mini holiday to be relaxed and without rush, but for sure, we saw some pretty gorgeous spots that made me fell in love with this island.
Obviously because you are on island you are spoiled with beach choices, and there are so many to visit and see. After listening to locals and doing some research online we decided to visit two of them. Our hotel had a private beach so we were not in the rush to go around, and then why would you? – with comfy sun chairs, umbrellas, shower and bar service at our fingertips. I have to say, getting to desired beach can be also challenging because most of them involve some sort of hike and climb, specially in summer heat of 35 degrees and being 7 months pregnant. But we made it and it was well worth it! Most of the beaches are pebbled beaches, covered with white smooth pebbles making water looking perfectly turquoise green and so inviting. And we let ourselves to enjoy it to the maximum.
If Tuscany on mainland is meat eaters paradise with all salamis, prosciutto, wild boar and Fiorentina steak, then Elba island is seafood paradise. But really true seafood paradise. You wont find meat dishes on the menus in restaurants, but you will find all kinds of fried, fresh, dried, cooked fish, shellfish, mussels and other sea animals. And it is so good. I’m still dreaming about the seafood zupetta I had there, probably the best in my life. We went to osteria “Libertaria” in Portoferraio. We like to find our places on Google, and this one wasn’t disappointment for sure. The owner Lorenzo just like my husband Lorenzo, is a big wine lover, and is from the same town on mainland Tuscany as my husband. So long chat about wine and life couldn’t be avoided, but that was fine with me because I could admire the view of harbor from our table, raising moon and easy island life.
I have to admit, the island stole part of my heart and left me longing to return there more and more. This island is Tuscany, my favorite part of Italy, it has mountains that I always have found spectacular, beaches – what can be better when you don’t have to choose between mountains or beach, with turquoise water of Caribbean, happy people, endless vineyards, delicious food, lush green forests and plenty of sunshine. And did I mention flowers? The island left me feeling to kick my shoes off and wake up a little hippy inside me. I will be back for sure and this vibrant island left me wanting to show and let experience this undiscovered beauty to others. Maybe I will see you next year in Elba? ♥