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The Great Elban Crossing - hiking Print E-mail

The Great Elban Crossing – hiking

traversata dell'Elba in trekking - Volterraio

Get to know the countryside and history of Elba hiking from the granite mountain to the iron mines.

Four days of hiking accompanied by specialised guides who will introduce you to some beautiful and historic places, walk along crests with spectacular views of Elba on either side, in the safety of knowing that our assistance minibus is always nearby for any emergency.



Dates for 2013:

 08/13 february 2013
01/06 march 2013
 29 march/03 april 2013
 26 april/01 may 2013
 31 may/05 june 2013
 20/25 september 2013

 11/16 october 2013
 31 october/05 november 2013
 29 november/04 december 2013
 28 december/02 january 2014

other dates on request (min. 4 people)

 € 495 per person (€ 595 at Easter and national holidays)

The package includes: 4 days guided hiking of 17.6 + 15.5 + 9.8 + 19.5 Km (highest point 1019 m), 5 nights half board in a 3 star hotel, return passenger ferry ticket, all transfers within the island (until 8 person), insurance and technical assistance during the excursions.

The package does not include: the return journey from your place of departure to Piombino, return ferry passage for cars, drinks at meals, all lunches, entrance tickets to museums, parks or similar even if scheduled in the programme, extras and anything not specified in the entry “The package includes”.

On the great Elban crossing you really get to know Elba in an active way.  As you walk along Elban paths, accompanied by expert and qualified local guides, you find uncontaminated natural surroundings rich in wild life, you discover traces of thousands of years of history and get to know the culture of people who have, down through the centuries, absorbed cultural and genetic influences from all the civilizations facing onto the Mediterranean, you discover a geological reality which is unique in the world, admiring breathtaking views of Elba, the Tuscan coast, Corsica, and all the smaller islands of the Tuscan Archipelago; you visit various natural environments (cliffs, dunes, scrub, Mediterranean vegetation, woods, rocky peaks) you get to know a large number of plant species, and observe wild animals such as wild bore and mouflon (a type of wild sheep).  Doing the great Elban crossing on foot gives you the chance, in no time, to discover and get to know a myriad of facets of Elba, because these are very concentrated in this small but great island.

The great Elban Crossing Hiking Programme:

1st day: Sunday

Arrive at Piombino port with your own transport, embarkation on the ferry to Portoferraio, transfer from Portoferraio port to hotel, accommodation in rooms, dinner and overnight stay.

2nd day: Monday

Breakfast, meet with your guide, full day excursion, packed lunch, dinner and overnight stay in hotel.

3rd day: Tuesday

Breakfast, meet with your guide, full day excursion, packed lunch, dinner and overnight stay in hotel.

4th day: Wednesday

Breakfast, meet with your guide, full day excursion, packed lunch, dinner and overnight stay in hotel.

5th day: Thursday

Breakfast, meet with your guide, full day excursion, packed lunch, dinner and overnight stay in hotel.

6th day: Friday

Breakfast, transfer to Portoferraio port and departure for Piombino durin the moring.

traversata dell'Elba mappa dei sentieri del  trekking


Hiking route



1st day of hike – the Eastern Dorsal

Route: Cavo – Porto Azzurro

Time: 8 hours

Distance: 17.6 km.

Highest point: 516 m asl

Total height difference: 878 m

Interest: geological, historical, panoramic

Leave Cavo ( 2 m asl), the Elban town nearest the mainland,  we start the ascent of Monte Grosso following a path surrounded by rock roses and rosemary.  Arrive on the summit of Monte Grosso (348 m asl), here there is a well preserved signal station (“Il Semaforo”), it was an important military lookout post used by Italian soldiers during the last world war, there is a superb view, to the East the town of Cavo, three small islands lying between Elba and the mainland: Topi, Palmaiola and Cerboli and the Italian coast can be seen on the other side of the Piombino channel; to the West is all the Northern coast of Elba.  After descending the western slope of Monte Grosso surrounded by luxurious vegetation, we cross over the Valle delle Fiche (Fig Valley) then up the steep climb of the panoramic Monte Strega (425 m asl), from this summit you can see the iron mines below.

Continuing along the panoramic crest path, undulating up and down, we arrive at the top of Monte Capannello (406 m asl), an ideal spot to see Bagnaia and Nisporto bays.  The path takes us to the Panche pine grove (325 m asl), from here we begin to climb the highest summit of the day: Cima del Monte (516 m asl).  From the top there is a majestic view of all of Eastern Elba and, in particular, Volterraio castle and Portoferraio bay.

The sea is to be seen on both sides during our descent and our route leads to Piana della Principesa (339 m asl), an important archaeological site, then it’s up again to Monte Castello (389 m asl), to admire the Monserrato valley below, where there is a striking Spanish sanctuary and beyond the town of Porto Azzurro, ruled over by the 18th century San Giacomo fort.

Walking down, leaving the atmospheric red rocks of the Eastern spine we go down through olive groves and vineyards to the town of Porto Azzurro (1 m asl) where the first leg finishes.


2nd  day of hike -  The Central Spine

Route:  Porto Azzurro – Marina di Campo

Time: 8 hours

Distance: 15.5 km

Highest point: 377 m asl

Total height difference: 859 m
Interest: historical, panoramic

After leaving the town of Porto Azzurro (1 m asl), we walk up the Botro Valley to Capo Galletti then over the top of the hill at 250 m asl is the Buraccio valley with its typical olive and vine cultivation, we walk down the whole valley until we reach the vineyard of Casa Marchetti (Marchetti House) (10 m asl).  Heading up to Monte Orello we are surrounded by the smells of rosemary and broom (377 m asl) there is a fantastic view from the top – Portoferraio to the North and Lacona and Stella gulfs to the south, and you can visit the military fortifications of the second world war.

Descending Monte Orello, going through an old cork oak wood, we get to the “Fonte agli Schiumoli” (spring), which was used during the Etruscan era, we then continue to the Colle Reciso pass (200 m asl), above is a large limestone quarry; we start to climb the “Central Spine” and arrive at Poggio del Molino a Vento (288 m asl) here there is an old ruined mill surrounded by meadows overlooking the Lacona gulf.

The path, hidden in greenery, then rises steeply at Monte Barbatoia (368 m asl) and, staying on this crest we reach Monte San Martino in a few minutes (360 m asl), right in the middle of Elba.

As we walk down we leave the Literno valley on the right and head along the military mule track towards the south to Monumento pass (263 m asl) here there is one of the most beautiful views on the island.

The walk down to Marina di Campo (1 m asl) is  framed by rock roses, broom and rosemary plants and the hike finishes on the beautiful white sandy beach.


3rd day of hike – on top of Elba

Route: Marina di Campo – Poggio

Time: 7 hours

Distance: 9.8 km

Highest point: 1019 m asl

Total height difference: 1120 m

Interest: historical, archaeological, naturalistic, panoramic

On leaving the town of Marina di Campo (1 m asl) with its 15th century lookout tower, we walk up the old path that connected the small Campo port with the town of San Piero (217 m asl).

Historically San Piero is the most important town on the southern slopes of  Monte Capanne, and it was known long ago for its granite quarries.

After crossing through San Piero’s granite paved lanes we find our path in the “Le Piane” area, here Evangelista (Elba’s last goatherd) keeps his herd of goats.  The walk  continues past granite quarries which are still active today we are surrounded by low vegetation of mainly rock roses and broom.  Next we reach the mill and water of Moncione (366 m asl) here grain was milled up to the last world war.

We continue across one of the Island’s most important archaeological areas with a Villanovan necropolis and ancient granite quarries of the Roman era, still today more or less complete columns are visible, some are more than ten metres long.

Leaving Vallebuia on our right, we climb up to Pietra Murata, 548 m asl, (this large granite monolith was a lookout position in past times around which a village of refuges below the rocks and stone huts developed).  The route continues gently upwards, between rock roses and ferns, surrounded by big rocks and granite slabs where you can often see splendid examples of mouflon (wild sheep), to “Le Macinelle” (600 m asl).

Le Macinelle are two stone refuges with a circular floor plan which remind us of an Eskimo igloo; built on a grassy plateau facing the sea below, they create an atmospheric picture of simplicity and harmony making them a symbol of Elban walking trips.

After crossing the “Inferno” ditch we reach “Colle della Grottacia (645 m asl): this area, too, is rich in archaeological evidence, helping us rebuild the lifestyle of prehistoric Elba.  From here we go up the crest towards the north-east leaving on the right the luxuriant Mori Valley following the “Malpasso” (“bad pass”)  track, whose name perfectly explains the typology of the path, surrounded by granite rocks where erosion has sculptured fantastic figures, we reach the “Filicaie” crossroads (870 m asl), starting point for two of the islands main valleys: The Pomonte Valley to the South-West and the Nevera Valley to the North-East.

From this fine viewpoint our ascent of Elba’s highest summit begins, going up a rocky slope we can admire the still wild Elban heartland, then arriving on the summit of Monte Capanne (1019 m asl) we can see all of Elba: the Islands of Gorgona and Capraia to the North, the Italian coast to the East, the islands of Giglio, Montecristo and Pianosa to the south and the large island of Corsica to the West, with its high often snow-capped mountains.

4th day of hike – the old communication roads

Route: Poggio – Pomonte

Time: 8 hours

Distance: 19.5 km

Highest point: 748 m asl

Total height difference: 750 m

Interest: historical, panoramic

Leaving from Poggio square (350 m asl) after a few metres we begin to climb, with the solace of some chestnut trees shade overhead,  we go up to the San Cerbone hermitage (531 m asl).  This evocative place of worship was built by Benedictine monks in about 1400 in remembrance of Saint Cerbone who lived a life of prayer here at the dawn of Christianity.  Next we walk along an easy path following, at a more or less constant level, the Pedalta Valley, then, after going through a pine grove, it joins the paved road of the stations of the cross which connects Marciana to the Madona del Monte Sanctuary (630 m asl) going up to the sanctuary we pass fourteen small chapels.

The sanctuary was built between the 16th and 17th centuries, there is an elegant granite fountain built in 1696 in front of the church façade and the place became famous after Napoleon’s stay in the summer of 1814.

Leaving the sanctuary with its extremely old chestnut trees we continue towards the Masso dell’Aquila (Eagle massive) (634 m asl), a refuge below the rocks was inhabited in prehistoric times, it is an excellent viewpoint overlooking all the north coast of Elba, and especially the village and bay of Sant’Andrea.

As we continuing along the footpath which connects Marciana to Pomonte, we get to a windy clearing and begin a gentle decent until reaching the Bollero spring (634 m asl), a small spring shaded by chestnut trees, then we begin to climb again surrounded by lush vegetation where holm oak and strawberry trees predominate (here they grow to exceptional size), going on till we arrive at Troppolo.  Turning left in the Pomonte direction, we go ahead along a fine paved path admiring, from on high, the western side of the Island until getting to the Terra ( 600 m asl) from here we begin to see the Pomonte Valley.  We begin our decent of this valley, flanked by almost completely abandoned vine terraces, until arriving at the town of Pomonte (25 m asl).

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