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Why You’ll Want To Be Exiled To Elba

Water Sports

The island of Elba, the biggest of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sardinia and Sicily, is most well-known as the site of Napoleon’s exile and if you ever get the chance to visit, you might be wishing for the same punishment! Hardly a depressing or prison-like place, it is, rather, more like a paradise. Surrounded by crystal clear, rich blue waters with cloudless skies overhead, dotted by perfect beaches, little towns, castles and blessed by nature, it is a stunning place and the ideal place to escape to on your next holiday. Find a villa with pool on the Tuscan Coast and you can then start exploring this dream-like island for yourself.

The earliest inhabitants of the island were Neanderthals but there weren’t large settlements on the island until the 3rd century BC. The Ilvates tribe who lived on the island named it Ilva and this would eventually become Elba. Both the Etruscans and Romans invaded and by the 11th century it had become the property of Pisa. In the 16th century, it came under Spanish control and then French in the 19th century. Following the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Napoleon was forced to abdicate and lived on the island with a personal guard of six hundred men as its nominal ruler though it was being patrolled by the British Royal Navy at the time. Napoleonic Residences such as the Palazzina dei Mulini remain from this period.

Due to this rich history, the beauty of the island is complemented by a wide selection of things to do and see from the archaeological discoveries housed in museums, to military buildings and fortresses such as Castello del Volterraio, to cultural gems such as the Theatre of the Vigilanti where shows still take place.

Of course, what Elba is most famous for is her beaches. The combination of rich landscapes and seascapes makes the island visually compelling while the abundance of activities such as diving and snorkelling in seabeds full of thousands of species of fish, watersports and hiking the coastline means that visitors can truly make the most of their surroundings.

If you’re more interested in taking it easy, you can visit spas in the island, stroll the beaches, wander the cultural hotspots and quaint towns and merely enjoy what feels like being in an entirely different world. With vistas and blue seas that give the Caribbean a run for its money, if you are visiting Tuscany you’d be crazy to give this delightful island a miss – maybe exile isn’t such a bad thing…

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