The isle of Elba
is the largest of the Tuscan Archipelago, the insular arch formed by
seven islands and some smaller rocks off the Tuscan coast. Elba has an area
of 223,5 square kilometers and is the third biggest Italian island.
Although a small island in comparison with the much bigger Sicily and
Sardinia, however Elba is a great island, for its rich natural characteristics,
landscape, history and culture.
With a length of 27 km from East to West and a width of 18 km
from North to South, its irregular shape vaguely resembles
a strange fish with a wide eastern fin. Many bays, gulfs, coves, peninsulas
are along its coastal perimeter of 147 km.
A new publication
about Elba’s shore has counted more than 150 beaches, some up to 1,5
km long, some just thirty-forty metres, along the coast. Speaking about
geology and orography we can say that Elba is also more varied with
a large variety of different rocks, forming a hilly and mountainous
landscape that culminates with Cima Del Monte (516 m above sea level)
on the East side, with Monte Orello
(377 m above sea level) in the centre, and with Monte Capanne
(1019 m above sea level), the top of the granite range, on the West
side. There is a variety of natural life which corresponds with this
There are many
different habitats created by the diversity of climate, exposition,
height, humidity, where different forms of life flourish. From the botanic
point of view, scientists have counted 1209 plants, among those some
are spontaneous, some are
naturalized, some are precious endemic species, that put in evidence
insularity as a natural laboratory of biodiversity. Speaking about fauna,
we haven’t big mammals, apart from wild boars and moufflons, recently
imported by man to the island, but we have to say that Elba is rich
with some “smaller” animals that deserve attention and protection.
There are many
birds, about eighty nest-building species, and many more migratory birds.
Considering sealife, too, we have to say that Elba and the other
islands of the Tuscan Archipelago are a real paradise for people fond
of nature and naturalistic observation. We must remember that since
1996 the Isle of Elba and the other islands in front of Tuscan coast
have been included in the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago.
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