There are opposing opinions about the beach at Marina di Campo… they are love and hate.
At first glance, one wonders how it is possible not to be attracted to this beautiful beach, the largest on the island, with its bright white sand, neither too fine nor too granular, and with lots of shiny quartz crystals. And the sea is almost always clear and inviting, even during the winter days, provided it is blessed with some sunshine. The environment is amazing, in fact, with the beach in the most protected area of a wide gulf, dominated in the distance by the unmistakable structure of the island of Montecristo that stands out clearly from the sea like a timeless tale. Viewed from above or from one of the two headlands that hugs it, the beach appears completely surrounded by lush Mediterranean greenery. Just so you don’t miss anything, on two hills between the mountains and the beach and in harmony with their natural settings, there are two small hilltop villages, San Piero and Sant’Ilario, an absolute must to be visited.
The western part of our beach ends with the town of Marina di Campo and its picturesque harbour, with an ancient round tower at the end, very romantic though inaccessible.Whoever has the slightest knowledge of the natural landscape and geology will immediately recognize that we are in the presence of a particularly precious beach not only because of its unusual length–quite extraordinary for a small Mediterranean island–but especially for the quality of its sand, which derives from the erosion of the mountain range behind it; standing at over a thousand meters is Mount Capanne, a mountain made entirely of a particularly light color of granite. We are also in the area where the largest plain on the island of Elba meets the sea, so it’s no accident that the airport was built here. A whole range of natural conditions have thus contributed to form this monument of Mother Earth, to which we humans we feel so naturally attracted that we engage in long journeys, just to be able to spend some time in contact with the light and subtle beauty of this delicate strip of our planet. I stress the word “delicate” because I think it is from this feature that a sense of repulsion can be felt towards a precious jewel such as the beach of Marina di Campo.
Ambivalence and modernity
Because while it’s true that Nature here has created a magnificent and sweet setting, humans seem to be more interested in its exploitation rather than contemplation.Here in front of the beach and before the amenities of the hinterland, emerge those contradicting details that we do not want to see on vacation: overcrowding during peak periods, apartment prices higher than other places on Elba, parking always insufficient for the numbers, and other embarrassing situations that we all know to be connected to the most beautiful tourist destinations. I think it is because of these considerations that the judgment on the beach of Marina di Campo can be divided equally into those who prefer the convenience of the best equipped tourist island, finding it unthinkable to spend their holidays in another part of the island, and those who can hardly stand the “comforts” of the best equipped seaside resorts, which include some convenience but let’s call it inconvenience as we have just mentioned, preferring to opt for other places. Fortunately for the economy of Elba, the island is large enough to offer many quality alternatives, sometimes of the highest value.Personally, I do not find anything strange in this contradictory problem; it reflects a widespread condition of modernity particularly felt in tourism, where everyone would like to visit wild places and at the same time find the comforts to which we are accustomed. Here, there is nothing new under the sun because humanity is so often full of ambivalence and ambiguity.