Comfortable shoes, suitable clothing in layers, a rucksack for provisions and a path map is all you need to start your excursion along these ancient Elban trails. Accompanied by an expert guide, or even alone! Deep in the heart of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, the boutique Hotel Ilio at Capo Sant’Andrea is the natural base for a variety of excursions and itineraries leaving straight from the hotel. Behind the bay of Sant’Andrea stands the highest mountain on Elba, Mount Capanne (1019 metres), covered with chestnut trees and mule tracks (the summit can also be reached by cable car from Marciana). Looking towards Pomonte, we can see Mount Cote (900 m), again part of the Capanne group. And towards Marciana, Mount Giove (855 m) offers one of the most beautiful panoramic viewpoints on Elba, where the rocks, carved by the winds, take on almost human forms.
Itinerary info and guides
The boutique Hotel Ilio provides guests with itinerary and footpath information, including the guide to “Walking in the National Park”, along with thorough knowledge of the area, to create specific and customized itineraries Those preferring the company of a guide can take part in one of the excursions organised by the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago to the mountains around the bay of Capo Sant’Andrea and the area of the Park.
Exploring the luxuriant woods or panoramic trails on horse-back is one of the special treats offered to guests of the Hotel Ilio at Capo Sant’Andrea during the spring and autumn months. One of the centres recommended by the hotel is located in Procchio, just a thirty minute drive away. The many itineraries available, guided by qualified instructors and guides, are suited to all needs and levels from beginners to experts. Trotting along dirt tracks, in the peace and quiet of the Mediterranean maquis, here and there abandoned buildings and settlements in the Literno Valley, or walking along the sandy beach at Marina di Campo. Following the panoramic road with views to the islands of Montecristo and Pianosa, we pass the rocky bay of Fonza. There are trails through the evergreen woods of Colle Reciso, the old, Napoleonic military route, with view of the bay of Procchio, or the Solane path, which arrives in the medieval town of Sant’Ilario, on the slopes of Mount Perone.
Archeotrekking: the history of the island along ancient trails
Archeotrekking is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy a walk in the countryside whilst taking a view of history: a way to reconstruct the history of the area by means of the archaeology of the countryside and the artistic remains from the past. The Island of Elba has very many historic remains, beginning from prehistoric times, then Etruscan and Roman and finally to the more recent Napoleonic military and residential architectures. Rich in history is the ancient road linking Pomonte and the western valleys with the wide valley of Marciana along the high plains, at one time cultivated, with the remains of ancient settlements and a gentle slope through terraces of former vineyards. The Hermitage at San Cerbone, built in the 15th century on the wooded slopes of Mount Capanne, is stunning: legend tells that the Saint found refuge on this spot from the hordes of Gummarith, Duke of the Longobards. From Marciana – where there is the Archaeology Museum and the Pisan Fortress – you can walk to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Mount, famous for its water source and the discovery of a fresco painting attributed to Sodoma. The sanctuary is situated in an area of a great number of remains prehistoric importance, including dolmen and caves used by stock rearing peoples. It was here that Napoleon met secretly with Maria Walewska. And, continuing the legend, at Punta Polveraia we can make out the rocks known as “Napoleon’s chair”, where it is said that he spent many hours in meditation.