Green and nature experiences

Biowatching

In Elba, we say "going in nature," which translated means: experiencing the island's nature in its entirety

Francesco Mezzatesta, an environmental education expert in Elba, "invented" the discipline of biowatching, which is described as "the observation of biological diversity, that is, nature in all its forms." This new way of understanding nature observation was born in 1990, as an evolution of the more famous birdwatching, and spread in the immediately following years, thanks also to thematic publications and books, before reaching its current fame and practice.

Tools of the trade. Binoculars, notebook, camera, comfortable clothes, a backpack with water and snack... And off to adventure we go! That's all biowatchers, driven by a passion for nature, need. Well, okay, to be honest, in the summer on Elba a bathing suit, a beach towel and a snorkeling mask also come in very handy: it is impossible to get near the turquoise water, which is at every corner here, and not give in to the temptation to take a dip.

The corners of the island ideal for biowatching. You may wonder, then, where on Elba you can indulge in this activity - practically everywhere! From the highest peaks, where you will immerse yourself in Apennine scenery with characteristic flora and fauna, to the beaches, where you will be surprised by the quantity of organisms present, passing through the cliffs, covered with fragrant Mediterranean scrub and, finally, the deep sea, whose lushness will surprise you among reflections of silver liveries and bright colors.

Where to start, then? To get started, you may find it helpful to read some manuals: the Park itself has published numerous Notebooks devoted to butterflies and moths, orchids, reptiles, plants, and cetaceans. Alternatively, you can rely on the experts in the field and join one of their many guided hikes. There are plenty of them scheduled, organized by the park and BAT (Biowatching Arcipelago Toscano), headed by Francesco Mezzatesta himself. Generally, these are free appointments, but it is advisable to book!

On the island of Elba, it is possible to biowatch all year round. Each season has its protagonists and colors. All you have to do is choose the season you prefer and set off on an extraordinary discovery of nature.

Travel notes

Binoculars

Notebook

Parks

Nature

Mines of Rio Marina

Strategic location for the large amount of hematite and limonite immediately identified by the emperor as soon as he landed on the island as a strategic-military axis.
Location: Rio Marina

Paolina Beach

The beach is named after the islet a few meters from the shore, itself named after Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister who, according to a legend (probably created by a tourism entrepreneur in the 1960s) loved to sunbathe on these rocks.

Location: Marciana

San Martino Villa

Designated as a summer residence, Napoleon purchased the property from the Manganaro family in 1814, with the intention of transforming it into a comfortable and refined abode that would have nothing to envy from Parisian residences.

Location: Località San Martino (Portoferraio)

Mulini Villa

Built in 1724 by Grand Duke Gaston de’ Medici, it was Napoleon’s city residence during his first stay on Elba Island.

Location: Portoferraio

Sanctuary of Monserrato

It was built as a sign of gratitude in 1606 by José Pons y León of the Dukes of Arcos, Spanish governor of Naples and first governor of the square of Longone (part of the state of principals). In September 1814 Napoleon, accompanied by Pons and Bertrand wanted to visit the sanctuary.

Location: Località Monserrato (Portoazzurro)

MUM Mineralogical Museum

While the Elban economy today is based on tourism, the fact remains that the people of San Piero and the west coast (Pomonte) have also lived and continue to live off their granite and marble

Location: San Piero in Campo

Port and Tower of Marciana Marina

Visit the harbor where Maria Walewska landed and the armed watchtower visited by Napoleon himself in 1814

Location: Marciana Marina