Porto Azzurro, one of the most beautiful villages of island of elba
Porto Azzurro, the story of the "living room" of the Island of Elba
We must thank the king of Spain, Philip III, because he, in 1603, decided to lay the foundations to build what would become one of the most beautiful tourist towns on the Island of Elba: Porto Azzurro. In fact, until 1947 its name was Porto Longone, but its inhabitants, aware of the fact that it did not do justice to the beauty of the place, asked for and were able to change it to Porto Azzurro. The post-war period marked the advent of tourism and thanks to word of mouth Porto Azzurro began to be appreciated by many for its “blue” waters and for the historical and natural riches it offers and from a fishing village it became a popular holiday resort.
What to see in Porto Azzurro
Its square, called with the name of Matteotti in memory of the famous politician, was built in order to remember a fishing net to pay homage to the fishermen who have supported the country’s economy for years. Large, flowery and directly on the sea, Piazza Matteotti in Porto Azzurro remains the main attraction of the little town also because in summer it hosts concerts and shows that animate the nightlife of the village.
For years the mines have represented a vital source for the inhabitants of the Island of Elba and if you are interested, even in a small part, in how the work was done inside a quarry, you can take a ride with the train of the “small mine” that is located just a few steps from our school. A reconstruction of the interior of a mine with precious stones and glimpses of past life and a shop where you can buy pleasant gifts or taste the typical local products. We recommend you this trip and experience, especially if there are children with you.
The beaches of Porto Azzurro are another attraction not to be missed. The closest to our school is Barbarossa beach, a small inlet embraced by the Mediterranean scrub where swimming and snorkeling is a real pleasure thanks to the presence of different species of fish and crustaceans.
Another beach that stands out for its beauty and rarity is certainly that of the Laghetto di Terra Nera. Thanks to the abundant presence of minerals such as hematite, dark sand creates a “glitter” effect that expands into the water giving life to exceptional colors and shades, a natural attraction that will amaze both the largest and smaller. In addition, the presence of a small lake with emerald waters, right next to the sea, make it decidedly even more interesting and fascinating.
One of the 5 monumental trees in Tuscany is located in Porto Azzurro and its name is “Pino di Monserrato“, or “Nonno Pino” as the inhabitants of the country call it. Mastodontic and imposing, this tree that has seen a lot of history go by, can be observed along the road that leads to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Monserrato. It takes at least 5 people to fully embrace its stem and if you look at it from the bottom upwards, the top never seems to end: a true spectacle of nature!
Starting directly from our school and in about half an hour’s walk, you can get to one of the most evocative and exciting places of Porto Azzurro or the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Monserrato. Within a valley and perched on a rocky outcrop, the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Monserrato, built in 1606, is located in one of the most scenic spots of the village. This Sanctuary is so loved by the locals that every year, on September 8th, they dedicate a special festival to the building and to the Black Madonna which is kept inside.
What to do in Porto Azzurro
The Carmignani walk is a path that from the center of the village takes you to Barbarossa beach in just over half an hour. Also recommended for those who do not like walking, it is one of those things that you do willingly both early in the morning and in the late afternoon. It is a path of about 3 km overlooking the sea and where we can stop every now and then to admire the view while comfortably sitting in one of the benches that you can find along the way.
Another excursion of greater commitment but which, at its conclusion, gives great satisfaction is the one that, starting near the Sanctuary of Monserrato, leads to the top of Monte della Croce. The cross in question, built using the rails of the trains of the mines of Terranera in 1919, and subsequently replaced by a larger one in 1939 and a more modern one in 2019, is visible from every point of Porto Azzurro and the inhabitants of the island are particularly attached to that symbol to which many, even by chance and without particular devotion, entrust him with a thought.
The sea on the Island of Elba always gives some joy, and one of the most beautiful gifts is to make us witness more and more frequently the sightings of cetaceans such as dolphins and whales. From Porto Azzurro you can take various boat trips, some of which specialize precisely in sighting these exceptional mammals. The boat trips are suitable for both children and adults and it is a must to bring a bathing suit and a towel because the trip also includes a stop for swimming in the most beautiful coves of that side.
Shopping in Porto Azzurro
Porto Azzurro is fortunate to have many shops in which to buy everything. Pharmacies, resellers of accessories for trekking and sport in general, shops of Italian clothing, shops for souvenirs, jewelers and boutiques with more precious goods: everything you need is really at your fingertips.
In addition, on Saturday mornings from 8.30 to 13.30 in Piazza de Santis there is the weekly market, a must to find the freshest, most original and fun things.
The main festivals in Porto Azzurro
The municipality of Porto Azzurro knows how to attract tourists. In fact, some of the island’s finest festivals take place right on its square or on its beaches.
On May 1st, the beach in Barbarossa is festively decorated from morning to night with stalls selling antiques and clothing, and animated with live music and water and sand games.
At the end of May, however, the flower festival takes place, which includes activities, exhibitions, competitions, music and much more on the village streets.
At the end of August, however, there is the most stellar night on the Island of Elba, full of magic and entertainment, full of surprises and music: the Blue Night is certainly the most awaited party of the Elban summer, truly not to be missed.
The celebrations of the Madonna di Monserrato take place from 2 to 8 September and have a purely historical / cultural tone that aims to enhance the heritage of traditions inherited from the Spanish crown. Conferences, concerts and re-enactments, all in the historical places of the Island, in a lively search for memories related to the past. On the occasion of this festival, it is also possible to visit the interior of the Madonna di Monserrato.
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