“An easy, mostly gravel grinder around Monte Calamita on the Island of Elba off the coast of Italy.”
— Lost Justpastnowhere
Elba offers year-round riding just off the coast of Italy. Monte Calamita is a peak on the southeastern portion of the island. Some gentle forest roads and some difficult downhill routes crisscross the mountain. This route covers the gentle forest roads on the mountain and lets you experience some of the awesome views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, the Italian peninsula, and possibly Corsica on a clear day.
The terrain is pretty dry and most of the trail is quite exposed, so bring plenty of sunscreen and maybe avoid the middle of the day in high summer.
You can explore the downhill tracks on your own.
It's best to park in Capoliveri to access this route. From the parking lot at the end of Strada Provinciale 31 (SP31), continue south on via Luperini for about a quarter mile where the Monte Calamita Sud
trail begins. This easy gravel road rounds its way 2/3 of the way around Monte Calamita at an altitude the varies between 150 and 200 m (500 and 700 ft). It features excellent views of the south cost of the Island of Elba as well as the clear blue Tyrrhenian Sea.
Particularly as you near the southern reaches of the loop, the area was used for mining. (You likely arrived on the island at Portoferraio, literally Iron Port). There is a mining museum with some old mining equipment at about the 3.5-mile mark.
As you turn towards the north at the 5.5-mile mark, you'll pass by some vineyards and some other agricultural lands. This also marks the point at which you begin the climb towards the crown of Monte Calamita.
When you reach the first 4-way intersection, turn left onto the Monte Calamita Cima (Calamita Mountain Peak)
loop which takes you on a tour of the crown of Monte Calamita through a thicker forest (with some shade). At the 8.5-mile mark, you'll reach a second 4-way intersection. Turn left (south) to follow a rocky trail about 0.25 miles and then turn left again for a short difficult climb on the Monte Calamita Singletrack
. Behind you at this point lies an awesome view of the south coast of Elba.
After you pass the RADAR installation, turn left back onto the Monte Calamita Cima (Calamita Mountain Peak)
at 9.2 miles and continue again to the second 4-way intersection. This time, turn right to continue the Monte Calamita Cima (Calamita Mountain Peak)
loop around the peak. This takes you back to the first 4-way intersection.
At this intersection, turn left onto Buzzancone
, which screams down from the crown of Monte Calamita towards Punta di Buzzancone, a small promontory on the coast of Elba facing the Italian mainland. You'll lose 250 m (820 ft) in 1.5 miles and there is no intervening climb to break up the fun descent. From there, turn left onto the coastal road.
There are a couple of beaches along the way if you want to stop for a dip in the sea. Then follow the locals roads to climb the 150 m (500 ft) back to your car in Capoliveri.