Although Ferragosto is behind us and August is speedily passing by, the heat continues. Not that I’m complaining about more beach time, swims and seaside cocktails. When I think of Italian islands and beaches the first islands that pop into my mind are the Aeolian Islands, Sicily and Sardegna but this August I convinced myself it was time to discover a different island.
Elba Island–a mere hour ferry ride from Piombino, Tuscany–is easily reachable without ever stepping foot in an airport. We opted for a stacca la spina (unplug) reclusion in the national park only a few kilometers from the town of Capoliveri. The unspoiled paradise of the Costa dei Gabbiani is dotted with pristine beaches, crystal clear seas, jagged cliffs, forest covered mountains, and miles of vineyards.
The majority of our time was spent at two beaches, always quiet, clean and never crowded with rows of umbrellas and beach chairs. The sandy Remaiolo beach is nestled in a cove dotted with sailboats and surfboards. The Remaiolo Beach Club, set under towering pines, offered a simple menu of grilled fish, meats, corn, summer salads, fresh fruit and local wine. Calanova beach was a nice contrast to Remaiolo. It was a bit rocky and more intimate with thatched umbrellas and a stunning view as well as a seaside restaurant featuring the daily catch.
Our venture into the town of Capolveri to search for local food brought us to Ristorante Lo Sgarbo at Via Silvio Pellico. Bags of seafood arrived at the doorstep of this tiny venue while the owner talked to each guest. Her suggestions were spot on from the spaghetti tossed with freshly caught anchovies to octopus and sautéed spinach. Chocolate peperoncino cake was a perfect finish to a nice meal.
Our holiday wouldn’t have been complete without sneaking in a vineyard visit. The black Aleatico grape variety is native to Tuscany and it was traditionally used in the production of a sweet and grapey wine on Elba. We visited the Tenute delle Ripalte estate whose vineyards are immersed amongst green undulating hills that seem to pour into the sea. While Aleatico vines cover approximately 5 hectares of the estate, the Tenuta also planted Vermentino and Alicante grapevines. We enjoyed tasting the range of wines but our favorite was the Rosato delle Ripalte (rosé wine made from Aleatico grapes). It was fresh with hints of violet and black cherries. Daily cellar tours and wine tastings are available.
A beach escape coupled with seafood, nature, and vineyards were a dreamy combination for a summer vacation in Italy. Where are you dreaming of escaping to?
Gina Tringali – food lover, certified sommelier, coffee connoisseur, and passionate home cook – is a successful freelance food and travel writer and blogger based between Rome and Southern Italy. She is committed to discovering and sharing with fellow food enthusiasts Italy’s best culinary and wine experiences.