Our Mozzafiato summer tour of the Italian islands continues – on to Elba!
Elba’s history contrasts in interesting ways with its present reality. Most people know it as the island to which French Emperor Napoleon was banished for 10 months in 1814 before he escaped back to France. And yet today, it’s a luxury vacation destination with a rich culture, healthful cuisine, and bountiful hiking and biking trails – no one is in a hurry to escape these days from its exquisite beaches, temperate weather, and active, earthy lifestyle.
And even further back, there was a time around the 8th century B.C. when, frankly, the island didn’t smell all that great. One of its earliest names, Aethalia, translates roughly to “fumes” – a reference to the noxious clouds that once emanated from a place best known then for its iron mining and furnaces.
Today, the extraordinary natural beauty of the island is matched by the beautiful fragrance house it inspired, Acqua dell Elba. A family-owned enterprise, it grew out of a desire to recreate on Elba island the magic of the Tuscan Renaissance workshop, through the excellence of the best master perfumers – a place where the abilities of the maestro and his disciples married with a natural propensity toward beauty, a profound knowledge of the arts and culture, and a strong drive toward excellence.
History and Culture
"History has chosen the island of Elba as its theatre where important events are shown: Every Mediterranean civilization has left proof of its presence on the island.” -- Doctor Umberto Gentini
Roughly six miles off the coast of Tuscany, Elba is the largest of the seven islands in the Tuscan archipelago – and the largest segment that remains of the land bridge that once connected the Italian mainland to the French island of Corsica.
Now an important tourist destination, it is difficult to envision this beautiful island as the Greeks found it in the 8th century, when they dubbed it Aethalia, meaning “fumes” or “smoke.” Then, as home to mines rich with iron ore, it was veiled in thick clouds of smoke from the iron furnaces. From ancient times, that wealth of minerals and natural resources made it an attractive prize for invading civilizations – from Etruscans and Romans to Barbary pirates and the British – until it became part of the unified Kingdom of Italy in 1860.
Elba is literally shaped by the seas that surround it. With one coast on the Ligurian Sea, another on the Piombino Channel, the Tyrrhenian Sea to the south, and the Corsica Channel on the west, Elba is home to some of Europe’s loveliest sand beaches, along with sections of wild, rugged coastline. Visitors typically reach the island via ferry from the mainland, and in addition to sunning on the beaches, they can explore ancient castles, fortresses, lighthouses and Napoleon’s villas – and stroll the morning markets for fresh foods and locally made handicrafts.
Dining in Elba revolves around fish and seafood, Aleatico red wine from the island, mushrooms, honey, and chestnuts that have grown there since the 14th century – often enjoyed from a restaurant terrace overlooking the sea that is the island’s soul.
Acqua dell’Elba is the essence of the sea. Its uniqueness resides in the development of products on one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean Sea’s Tuscan Archipelago, utilizing natural raw materials inspired by the idyllic island and its surrounding sea.
Now celebrating 20 years as a family-run business, the brand continues to emphasize production models based on artisan’s workshops during the Renaissance -- when masters and their students experimented with new techniques and forms in pursuit of beauty and excellence. Acqua dell’Elba applies that vision to a focus on creating beautifully crafted and authentic fragrances and products that capture the spirit of the Tuscan islands. In fact, the idea for the company itself was born on a May morning, when its founders were out for a sail and discovered a small ivory figurine depicting the Greek gods Dionysus and Pan that was later determined to be the lid of an ancient perfume container.
Today, Acqua dell’Elba’s artisans craft their products by hand on Elba, taking the time to select the finest raw materials for their limited-production line.
To enjoy an enchanting sea breeze from the heart of Elba, we recommend some of our Mozzafiato favorites:
A marine harmony created with the notes of citrus, scent of salt, marine algae, myrtle, cedar woods, cane apple and mastic tree woods.
A special fragrance inspired by our beloved island where the freshness of the sea air and the wildflowers enhance the perception of self and time.
Mare (pronounced "MAH-ray") is a fresh harmony with the notes of lemon, rosemary, sea-lily, marine algae, marine cistus and the wood of Mediterranean shrubs.
Pamper your skin with a luxuriously creamy lotion infused with Acqua dell'Elba's Arcipelago scent for women, a fresh and flowery fragrance with notes of lemon, mandarin, jasmine, cedar, and musk.