Max Hartshorne writes about the joys of traveling to Elba.

Today was the classic Italian beach day. But first it was time to visit the market in Marciana Marina. A typical Italian weekly market, with the usual stuff–clothing, shoes, kitchen stuff and one highlight–rotisserie chicken. We had asked our guide Tatiana her favorite place for lunch and she steered us to the stand where they roast it in the back of a truck.

So we headed off to the island’s southern coast to the small beach town of Cavoli. Like so many of these towns, it’s a long way down from the road up above, and mountains tower over that. We wound our way down and found a parking place that also sold umbrellas and beach chairs. So we made our way up to the first row and devoured the chicken and some fresh figs and peaches from the market.

Beach scene at Cavoli, on the south side of Elba. Max Hartshorne photos.

No where on Elba, it seems, do you get to park for free near the beach. There’s always a machine to feed coins into, or an attendant waiting for euros. So for e22 we had the whole package and were set for a half-day of beach front leisure.

The water was brisk but soon felt great as I floated out and looked back at the beach. There was nothing to do except bask, bask in the lovely little sliver of beach, bordered by rocks, and gaze at our fellow beach goers while letting the afternoon drift away.

It sounds like a perfect day. Elba seems to carry that traditional Mediterranean island atmosphere like Sicily or Mallorca. Read more about Max’s trip to Elba.