It could be that you never had the intention to swim at Paduella during your stay on Elba since it isn’t well known and also the majority of residents of Portoferraio prefer the more convenient Ghiaie beach. .
But maybe you will fall in love with it..
It is a stretch of coastline of about 200 meters in length, located between the famous beaches of Capo Bianco and Ghiaie situated in the island’s capital, Portoferraio, and they are well known for the white rock from which the sand and pebbles on the beach are formed. You have two ways in which to reach the Padulella, coming from the center of Portoferraio, about 300 meters after the beach of the Ghiaie on the road glimpsed on the left (I say “glimpse” because you need to be very awake to see the signs of the beaches of Elba.!) A pedestrian street closed by a barrier to prevent traffic from entering, from there you walk down to the beach along a short flight of steps, in the meantime you can have a bird’s-eye view of the small bay to the left and the fifteenth century fortifications of of Portoferraio on the right; if you plan to use this access route you have to park your car somewhere in Portoferraio. Should you want to park near the beach, you have to go further on for about 200 meters and take a road following the sign “Capo Bianco”. After a few hundred meters of the narrow road between two rows of houses, there is a toll car park, on the promontory that divides the beach of Capo Bianco from Padulella. From there, on foot, follow an unmade road which gradually becomes a narrow path behind a retaining wall on the left, and a few private homes on the right, all in all less than 200 meters.
This small but very special bay has some qualities that make it look in my eyes perhaps bigger than it is. Unlike its more famous neighbours, it is sheltered from southerly winds and also those from the south west. This feature won’t seem so trivial if your stay on Elba lasts longer than a week. In fact, the beach is protected from the western winds by the low cliff located at the end and when the other beaches of the capital are troubled by the Mistral, you can swim in the tiny well protected Gulf where the water is extraordinarily clear and fresh. But this is not the only thing noticeable about Padulella. The other is its beauty. And yes, because the semicircle that opens to the sea with a white marble cliff covered with low vegetation, has an extraordinary visual impact. These are not monumental cliffs, they are less than 20 meters high, but everything is so harmoniously balanced between sea-beach-cliff that it looks like the aesthetic synthesis of all the beautiful white beaches of Portoferraio.
Needless to say that with the southerly winds, the Sirocco in particular, the transparency of the waters are enhanced by the whiteness of the ocean floor. For people used to wearing sunglasses, it may be impossible to resist the dazzling brightness of the beach. If you happen to be on this beach in the spring, you will be able to see the various flowering yellow blooms giving a color contrast between the white rocks, blue sky and the turquoise backdrop, as only nature can exhibit. Right from late spring and throughout the summer, apart from the company of other swimmers, you will also enjoy the herring gulls and their chicks that are learning the art of survival. All the adults have an elegant livery, they are aerodynamic magnificent birds, as much as their fuzzy offspring are clumsy. The chicks are rather robust, almost double that of an adult pigeon, and their grayish feathers are useful for camouflage on the reef (which normally is not as white as Padulella!).
Anyway you may be swimming along with some resident bird, and if you observe carefully how it moves, the intensity of the cries it emits and how it looks around, you will understand that they are protecting the nest, looking carefully you will also see their chunky chicks peeping around there. This is happening at the furthest point of the cliff, at the base where there are tiny coves, just enough space for three or four people, and although it is certainly the most fascinating part of the beach, I don’t advise you to stay there and enjoy the sun, because there is a distinct possibility of rock falls in this area. The humans usually occupy the other side of the beach, more or less where it ends up on the cliff. While not the most popular beach, you can still find a bar, a restaurant, beach chairs and umbrellas, pedalos and toll parking on the headland.
In short: sand and white pebbles – Length mt. 200 – Exposed to winds from the N-NE – Bar – Restaurant – rental umbrellas and chairs – Car parking for a fee