Photography by Roberto Ridi
«There are many ways of appreciating spiritual trekking and Elba can satisfy them all». The photographer, Roberto Ridi, who accompanies us in a very evocative description of the island, tells us: «The island is dotted with places of prayer, very old churches and small chapels completely surrounded by nature and all with enchanting views. Near Marciana, for example, there is a beautiful Via Crucis of small stations built on the rock and surrounded by large chestnut trees along footpath 103. The route climbs towards the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Monte and the panorama becomes wider and increasingly inspiring.
But apart from the small anthropomorphic buildings, nature on Elba is a great open temple in which to immerse yourself, letting yourself go to something immense and rejuvenating.
Monte Calanche, Footpath 100, Marciana, Elba.
This is the spiritual trekking I prefer and which I’m lucky to experience, thanks to my profession of photographer, which very often leads me to portray the least expected beauty of nature on Elba.
In this sense, Spiritual trekking isn’t a sport and has nothing to do with competing; quite the opposite, it is a matter of following wonderful paths accompanied by a purely meditative perspective.
There’s no rush, you don’t need to get anywhere in a hurry; just walk, immersing yourself in the scents and aromas of the Mediterranean as you’re embraced by landscapes of breath-taking beauty.
Western ridge, Elba.
Elba is crossed by an extensive network of footpaths; by and large, they are all suitable for spiritual trekking because the landscape everywhere is beautiful and full of fascination.
Those leading to the highest peaks on the island, along the western ridge, between Monte Capanne, Monte di Giove, Serra Ventosa, Le Calanche and Monte di Cote offer incredible views; these are mostly footpaths through nature with unique colour contrasts and are wonderful in spring and remarkable even late in the year in autumn. Often the ground is made up of polished granite slabs that lend a silver background on which scented blooms of every colour grow.
La Tabella, Marciana, Elba.
The eastern area, the rugged, ferrous heart of the island, wants for nothing. The whole promontory of Calamita and the mines of the Vallone, in Capoliveri, as well as the mineral deposits of Rio Marina, especially the stretch at Termine, offer great silence and moments of inner recollection, by virtue of their desert-like, lunar-like landscape.
Le Panche, Rio nell’Elba, Elba.
Treat yourself to a walk in the area between Rio nell’Elba and Rio Marina along the GTE (Gran Traversata Elbana – Great Elba Crossing), especially in the section from Le Panche to Monte Castello. If you come here at sunset, the walk along the eastern ridge has a unique setting and a few hundred metres later you can admire Volterraio Castle, built on a silent cliff against a the magical backdrop of twilight; you’ll sense an overwhelming whirlwind of colour».
Monte Volterraio and Gulf of Portoferraio, Elba.
TIPS FOR SINGLES AND COUPLES
We advise you tackle Elba’s footpaths in groups or with expert guides. The island isn’t very large, but in some isolated areas you could lose your way. This Boutique Hotel offers guests a free Personal Elba Consultant service to give advice about suitable trails and book excursions with expert National Park guides.
TIPS FOR FAMILIES
The Rosemary Trail is a suitable for spiritual trekking for children and adults; it starts from Marina di Campo and leads to the beach at Fonza along a wide cart track around the coast of Segagnana, offering wonderful sea views and fragrances of the local aromatic herbs. The path is medium easy.