A beach for young Robinson Crusoes

Porto Azzurro is located in the middle of two majestic promontories which face towards the continent: to the north lie the lands of Rio and the ancient iron mines, and to the south the wilderness of Mount Calamita (Magnet ) standing distant and elusive. The beaches nearest to Porto Azzurro on the route to Mount Calamita that you come across have well-equipped hotels, beach umbrellas, bars, restaurants with all the hubbub and bustle connected with that. But when the road starts to wind along the coast of the promontory with less and even less asphalt and more bumps, it puts brakes on even the most business- like skills of the local residents of this mining domain..

If you drive along the road that leads from the town of Capoliveri towards Straccoligno and Capo Perla and continue over to Calanova (you will find all these beaches well indicated by a singular over abundance of signs), after a couple of miles of dirt road, and during summer unusually dusty, you will come to an entry bar where only a lucky few possess the key. Anyway if you’re not cyclists you can leave the car at the side of the road, but be aware of the fact it will be well protected by a discrete layer of fine powder of Mount Magnet on your return, otherwise use the car park near the bar (about 5 Euro) . Now walk beside the sea along this beautiful dirt track for about a quarter of an hour, along the way you can admire Istia beach, the last outpost of bar / restaurant / umbrellas etc.. and the rock that gives it its name. Usually the sea around this cliff is a striking blue that is a real sight for sore eyes and the rock itself is criss-crossed by white veins like all the rocks you will see from now on: they are recent infiltration in ancient rocks, but that’s another story. Past the rock of Istia the road turns to the right and the view opens up on a new stretch of cliff, you will see right away that a few hundred meters of road in front there is a sharp indentation, but you won’t need to reach there, our goal is much nearer, look down and you can see the beautiful simplicity of the tiny beach Buzzancone.

The little cove is splendid ,encased between two arms of the cliff, its tiny dimension enhances its charm and even from the road you start to anticipate the Robinson Crusoe style experience.. You arrive at the point where the beach formed by the dry creek is crossed by a small, old stone bridge, then a few tens of meters beyond, intuitively, you’ll find what is generously called a short bumpy and slippery trail of approximately thirty meters that will take you to the beach. If you carefully observe the vegetation will also notice a precarious sign indicating the beach Buzzancone.

This all seems difficult, but if you have no physical problems and you’re not picky about the dust, the path is not so hard and certainly it is a nice, long walk. You then arrive on the beach. You will be struck by the presence of large tree trunks worked by the sea that now serve as comfortable headrests for swimmers and a host of other branches dragged there during the winter storms by the sea. The fact that you don’t see any plastic around , although this was also consigned to the beach during the winter, means that someone has cleaned here, and the presence of a rubbish bin on the edge of the road coinciding with the path that goes down to the sea, makes me think that the town of Capoliveri maintains Buzzcone beach in its natural state, and free from the ubiquitous plastic. Although this is to be verified, the fact is that, unlike what I’ve seen during the winter season, when I visited this beach in the summer, I’ve never seen plastic around.

Why do we wonder when something that should be normal seems strange.

We must make another observation about the natural vegetation at the edge of the shore which is a further demonstration of the good state of preservation. Between July and August white lilies flower on the sands, these are a rarity, since it thrives in areas almost totally occupied by beaches, bars, pizzerias, etc.. There are also a few specimens of yellow poppy and other typical dune plants. You’ll also notice quite a content of canes, just where the fresh water accumulates.

In my opinion the most interesting feature of this very special , microscopic beach, is the fact that it lies at the mouth of a narrow, steep gorge wedged into the bowels of Mount Magnet, forming an unusual environment for the Island of Elba. You will understand this better if you look at the beach with your backs to the sea, preferably with your feet in the water. Then it looks unlike most beaches on Elba but it will remind you of a more typical cove along the northern mainland coast. I believe that the narrow gorge in the mountain and the recent planting of pine and other conifers, help to create an environment of non native plants, but of great beauty.

If you have children with you, you can be sure that they will have something to do all the time, this is indeed a beach where they can collect branches and leaves to build huts and shelters to make them feel like a shipwrecked pirates and the most adventurous will not hesitate to explore the low cliff that encloses the bay and discover numerous traces of marine life. Adults who instead want to attempt to swim can be at the rock of Istia in less than fifteen minutes. The only suggestion I can make is to always keep near the coast, because during the high season this stretch of sea is constantly patrolled by outboards of all kinds, and especially with some drivers who sometimes come imprudently and irregularly close to the beach.

The sea bottom is rather shallow with many beautiful Poseidonia plants that further on, in the Bay of Mola, will form one of the most extensive underwater meadows of the Island of Elba. At about fifty yards from the shore it becomes more and more intense until you loose sight of the sea bottom Fine sand and gravel make up the sandy shore in the southern part of the beach which is very nice to walk on and rest on. Of course, even if only half a day on the beach, Buzzancone is an experience that you can take home with you and that will last longer than any other gift you have decided to buy.

Graziano Rinaldi