Difference of level: 380 m:
How long it takes: 4 hours;
Difficulty level: medium.
You start off from Rio nell'Elba, a characteristic mining town at 200 metres where you can go and see the Civic Archaeology Museum in the Ore District. You leave the town through a castle door in the direction of Volterraio and follow an uphill grit road until you reach Le Panche, where you'll see the junction for the main road to Portoferraio.
Here, you have two choices: you can take a turning to go and see the Volterraio Castle, an enchanting fortress that has never been stormed, or you keep going until you get to the top of Monte Capannello (496m), easily seen thanks to a military aerial. The view from here all the way down to Monte Strega (427m) is breathtaking, because as you walk along the smooth, easy ridge you can admire the views of both the southern and the northern parts of the island.
Once you have gone down the steep path from Monte Strega you find yourself back on the main road, follow it for a few hundred metres until you get to the grit road that takes you to the Santa Caterina Hermitage, a tiny church that has now become an international cultural centre; here you can admire ancient rose bushes that grow nowhere else.
Past the hermitage, to your north you will only just make out a path that leads to what is left of some old country houses; go down towards the main road, cross it, and start walking uphill towards the Giove Fortress, romantic ruins dating back to the XIV century. At this point Rio nell'Elba is about 4 kilometres away, and, if you wish, you can get there simply by following the main road, because although it is tarmacadamed, very few cars go past; besides, there are some interesting geological formations at the sides.
Information from the Tuscan Archipelago Tourism Promotion Offices
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