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Thursday, August 6, 2015

What to see in the Isola d'Elba? Walking along the costal path

Rio Marina on the Isola d'Elba, this will be one of the best sights of Isola d'Elba.

What to see in Isola d'Elba?

Isle of Elba is famous mainly because Napoleon lived there. Every book of history says that in the Isola d'Elba Napoleon was deported in exile, before he managed to escape and lose his most important battle against the British Army at Waterloo.

It is still possible to visit today the Villa where Napoleon lived in the Isola d'Elba, but I don't think this is the main attraction of the Isola d'Elba, below in the section "What to do in the Isola d'Elba", I listed my top ten of what to visit in Isola d'Elba.

Where is Isola d'Elba?

Isola d'Elba is in Italy, 20 km away from the coast of Tuscany. it has a coastline of circa 150 km and it is a great destination for sunbathing, coastal walks and mountain trekking as well.

How to get to Isola d'Elba?

The cheapest way is to take a ferry from Piombino, the ferry takes around an hour and a half. You can transport your car on the ferry (advised if you re visiting in winter / spring, but not advised if you are visiting in summer). Piombino is connect by train from Pisa Airport, Florence and Rome (although not directly). Alternatively you can take the daily plane from Pisa Aiport direct to Isola d'Elba. Quite expensive, but very comfortable.

Walking in Isola d'Elba is absolutely recommended, great scenic path run along the coast and on the mountains ridges.

Beautiful and quiet beaches at Isola d'Elba, with great fish restaurants.

What to see in Isola d'Elba?

If you just want to sunbath and enjoy the blue sea, do some snorkelling and enjoy good restaurants. The area around Capoliveri is probably the best for you, although Porto Ferraio and Rio Marina offer good alternatives. If you are just staying there a week consider renting a moped / scooter as during the summer traffic and parking are a daily nightmare.

If you love walking / trekking there are beautiful walks along the coast and inland. Remember Isola d'Elba has mountains of relevant altitude for an island, reaching the 1000 meters, so do not underestimate the challenges.

The most amazing track is certainly the one startng at Rio dell'Elba and running along the top of Monte Castello and Mount Volterraio. The path is long around 12 kms and enjoys wonderful views over the sea and on the magnificient castle of the Volterraio Mountain, at the top of the mountain. To find your path start at Rio dell'Elba walking towards the back of the vllage and then towards Localita le Panche an area with picnic table from whare you easily find directions towards the Castle of il Volterraio. Tha path is quite long and not particularly easily, consider also that you are ascending for around 600 meters and there is little shelter from the sun along the mountain ridge. At Monte Castello you can also enjoy a visit to the old Sanctuary before to return at Le Panche and then back at Rio dell'Elba after a 12kms loop.

If you love history the Napoleon Villa is certainly the place for you. Five kilomters from Porto Ferraio, the Villa is amazing particularly for its decoration, designed by Napoleon and remembering his war campaigns, as you will notice especially the successful Egyptian campaign.

Villa San Martino was Napoleon's private residence in the island, Villa dei Mulini was instead use fo public occasions by Napoleon. Particularly interesting are in my opinion the private theatre he ordered to be built and his bedroom with the famous golden bed. If you love history this is certainly an extraordinary  stop in your "what to see in Tuscany" list.

Finally if you like to just relax and admire beautiful villages along the cost do not miss Marciana Marina and Marina di Campo. They are lovely small towns, particularly out of season, where they are quiet and relaxing and the beaches are practically empty. it is an absolutely amazing experience.

If you love the sea you can also book a kayak trip with one of the many associations on the island. It is not recommended to kayak yourself along the cliffs unless you are familiar with the area, as currents are quite strong and you may have difficulties in controlling the kayak.

Take also time to visit Rio Marina, many boats are departing from Rio. It is extremely picturesque. It is famous for its fort and it offers beautiful walks along the coast.

When is the best time to visit Isola d'Elba?

Depending what you are looking for you can visit Isola d'Elba the all year. In summer Isola d'Elba is extremely lively, discos are opened and so are bars and restaurants, the downside is the fact that everything gets booked u very quickly, traffic is heavy and prices nearly extortionate.
On the good side you will have plenty do to and it will be sunny but not too hot.
Advice for Isola d'Elba in summer: don't bring a car, rent a scooter and book everything and advance including the ferry from Piombino as this is easily fully booked.

Avoid the winter as it can get gold, dull and sometimes ferries are cancelled for the bad weather. Consider instead autumn and spring but remember some hotels and restaurants will be closed. bring your own car or rent one. if you love peace, quiet and great walks along the beaches this is the right time for you to visit Isola d'Elba.

Are you planning a travel to Isola d'Elba?
Visit also: Cinqueterre, Pisa and Visit Italy.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What is to see in Washington DC? American Art in Washington - Washington DC Art Galleries

"The Chief's Canoe" by Belmore Browne at The Smithsonian American Art Museum

What is to see in Washington DC?

Away from the mall and the busy museums of Washington DC there is a little pearl that is worth a visit if you are in Washington DC. 

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is a fantastic free museum in Washington DC that definitely deserves a visit.
What to see at The Smithsonian American Art Museum?

Next to the National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian American Art Museum offers a rich collection of American Art. Visiting the Museum is also a way to travel through the history of the United States of America. The collection is extremely interesting because provide you with the opportunity to see some masterpieces of American artists, but also to enjoy paintings that represent famous events in the history of the United States.
The highlight of the museum is a very interesting collection of paintings representing scenes of the time of the first arrival of the European colons in to the Far West and in the North.

The paintings represent majestically how the first contacts with the American Indians would have looked in the eyes of the colons. 

The painting (above) "The Chief's Canoe" by Belmore Browne is a fantastic representation of an era long gone: the huge glacier and the beautifully painted Indian canoe are a fantastic sight.

You can almost feel you are there on the banks of the lake seeing the canoe slowly approaching and these wonderful people with their colorful dresses staring at you with suspect and curiosity.
The iconic Edward Hopper's "Cape Cod Morning" is also exhibited at The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC

Paintings of a more recent era of the American History are also exhibited at The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC.

The iconic Edward Hopper's "Cape Cod Morning" is also exhibited at The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. Such a simple subject for a painting that is able to really represent the American culture in only six colors.

What is the most amazing painting at the Smithsonian American Art Museum?

I think the painting below certainly deserves a mention. Do you now the name of the painter? (leave it in the comments box below).

Lady in White by Thomas Dewing is certainly one of the most famous painting of the collection at The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC and probably one of the most difficult to photograph. It is absolutely amazing and it ios so difficult to be appreciated just in a phtograph.

Lady in White by Thomas Dewing

The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC is not just paintings, but also beautiful design. Admire below the wonderful chair made with buffalo horns, it is absolutely amazing!
Also the design of the building is stunning, take the time to visit The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC and also the National Portrait Gallery next to it (read my dedicated post).


Go back to the USA Menu for more posts.