Elba is located off the coast of Tuscany between the Tyrrhenian Sea and Ligurian Sea, and about 50 kilometres east of Corsica. It is well connected to mainland Italy, with a regular ferry service from Piombino (Tuscany) and a small airport with regular domestic and international flights – mainly to locations in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
There are lots of factors which make the island a great option for an Italian language course, including the following five.
1. A great climate and beautiful natural scenery
Despite the fact the Elba has a perimeter of only 147 km, it has a really diverse range of landscapes and scenery, including mountainous peaks, pretty hilltop villages, lush green valleys, and of course, the shimmering blue waters and sandy beaches that characterise the island. Elba is still beautifully unspoilt and is home to an array of flora and fauna, including a number of rare species. The island also enjoys a really mild climate, with a long summer season that can start around Easter and last up until late October.
2. An interesting history and culture
Elba is an island that has seen centuries of invasions and a string of different rules, and as such has a culture comprised of many different influences. Settlers first flocked to the island of Elba to make a living from the natural resources – by mining. The Greeks came first in the 10th century BC, followed by the Etruscans and then the Romans. This prosperous island was invaded by pirates several times and was under alternate Spanish and Italian rule in the 18th century. The most famous inhabitant of the island was Napoléon Bonaparte, who was exiled to the island in 1814 and became its governor until he left to wage the Hundred Days war.
3. A unique destination that is off the beaten track
When it comes to Italian courses in Italy, perhaps the most obvious choices initially are destinations like Rome, Venice, Florence or Naples. Elba is a place that offers a very different kind of learning environment though, and one which is unlikely to have been experienced by many before. Although Elba is a popular holiday destination amongst Italians, it remains relatively undiscovered by foreign tourists, which means that you’ll definitely get ample chance to practise your language skills outside of lessons.
4. A laid-back atmosphere
One of the great things about learning Italian on Elba rather than in Rome, Naples or another such city, is that the atmosphere is much more relaxed. Bustling city centres are replaced by tranquil fishing villages and beaches, and with a definite holiday vibe all around you’ll come home feeling relaxed, refreshed and full of La Dolce Vita!
5. A fantastic range of free-time activities
Although some students choose to take a more intensive course, the majority of people who take a course in Italy opt for a General course, which leaves either a free morning or afternoon every day. The good thing about studying on Elba is that you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to how to fill your free time – of course, there’s an array of beaches to choose from if you fancy a spot of sunbathing, and plenty of cultural activities to enjoy, but when it comes to sports there are literally scores of activities to try. Included amongst the options are mountain biking, trekking, fishing, windsurfing, sailing, diving, snorkelling, hang-gliding, free-climbing, bush walking and golf…you can take your pick!