Welcome to the Home of Sailing, the Tuscan Islands
The beautiful harbour of Portofino has been made famous of late by the wedding of Wayne and Coleen. A location well known among the rich and famous, it's an area that sailors are also able to experience by more modest means!
This area is best viewed on the interactive map above by double clicking around the northern most anchors. Zoom in on the satellite image to view this beautiful coastline that makes up just one part of a breathtaking Tuscan Coast.
When you think of Tuscany, odds on you are picturing idyllic rolling patchwork hills, olive groves, sunflower fields, vineyards, and walled hilltop cities. Take a sailing holiday in the Tuscan Islands and you can experience all this and much much more.
Legend has it that the Venus of the Tyrrhenian sea let slip seven pearls from her necklace as she emerged from the sea to ‘embrace the sunset’. These pearls then transformed themselves into the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago.
This group of seven totally unique islands called the "Seven Sisters" extend over an area of approximately 115.8 sq. miles between the Tuscan coast and Corsica. Following your flight to Pisa, and perhaps a visit to the famous ‘Leaning Tower’, you transfer via train south to our bases on the beautiful Tuscan Coast.
Elba (province of Livorno) is the largest island and faces the gulf of Follonica just 6 miles off Piombino on the Tuscan Coast. It is also the most visited island and the richest in life, villages, natural beauties, historical monuments and tourism.
The other islands are: Giglio (province of Grosseto), a diving paradise lying in front of the Argentario peninsula; nearby Giannutri, with its enchanting coves and suggestive remains of old Roman villas; Capraia, an island of volcanic origin which is the closest island to Corsica; Gorgona, a tiny isle which lies in the sea in front of Livorno; Pianosa, a small, flat island not far from the isle of Elba; and the rocky and ragged isle of Montecristo which lies further south between Elba and the Argentario.
The last three islands have no public access: there are special prisons on Gorgona and Pianosa and therefore they can be visited only with the authorisation of the Italian Ministry of Justice. Montecristo, is a natural reserve that can only be visited with a special permit.
The Islands of Elba
Its sandy beaches and ragged crags make Elba the isle for everyone. Thanks to its 86 sq. miles it is also the largest of Italy's minor islands. At it’s widest it is 16.7 miles from Capo d'Ortano to Punta Nera and narrowest 11 miles from Capo San Vito to Punta dei Ripalti. To see the entire panorama you can climb (if you have the energy) Monte Capanne. The views are breathtaking.
Portoferraio is the main city of Elba, which is divided into three parts: the western side is of volcanic origin and higher in elevation; the central part is flat or with low hills; the eastern side includes the minerary area. Its millenary history was written by the Etruscans and by the Romans. The Etruscans were the first to exploit its metals, while the Romans called it "Ilva" and built sumptuous villas on it (the best example is Villa delle Grotte in Portoferraio).
But it was undoubtedly Napoleon who left the most significant mark on the island, after being exiled there in 1814. Today it is a top tourist destination. Portoferraio was founded in 1514 on the remains of a Roman port and was protected by Forte del Falcone, Forte Stella and by Torre Linguella. There are 7 other villages nearby: Campo dell'Elba, Porto Azzurro, Rio Marina, Marciana, Capoliveri, Marciana Marina and Rio nell'Elba. The island has a total population of 28000 inhabitants and there is a paved road network of 99.4miles; therefore the car is the most practical way of visiting the island due to its size.
Weather and Winds
The climate is typically Mediterranean where summers are warm, dry and breezy. During the summer months the prevailing wind is W – NW and it rarely reaches gale force. Around Capraia, Elba, and down the mainland coast to Giannutri there will often be SE winds with frequent periods of calm. At night there is often a light W or SW wind.