Elba, Italy, located about 80 mi/130 km southwest of Florence, is one of seven Tuscan Archipelago islands in the Mediterranean—all part of Europe's largest National Marine Park.

There's a ferry from Piombino (a 15-mi/24-km trip), and adequate roads make touring relatively easy. Elba has more than 50 beaches, thousands of pine trees, beautiful reefs, mountains (3,000 ft/915 m high) and archaeological ruins. The capital of the island, Portoferraio, a 16th-century walled city, lies in the middle of the northern shore.

Elba was Napoleon Bonaparte's home during his first exile; be sure to see the library at his residence, Palazzina dei Mulini, which overlooks the ocean. From Portoferraio, take the cable car up the mountain to the Villa of San Martino, Napoleon's summer residence, which has artifacts and displays that tell about his life—and a great view as well.

You could easily spend up to a week on the island touring, snorkeling and relaxing; it is so overcrowded during summer, however, that water shortages often occur.

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