Trekking GTE: CAVO (2m) – (RIO ELBA 170m) – CIMA DEL MONTE (515 m) – SAN MARTINO (370 m) – MONTE CASTELLO (227 m) – SAN CERBONE (526 m) – MADONNA DEL MONTE (634 m) – IL TROPPOLO (744 m) CHIESSI (30 m)
Starting point: Cavo (2 m a.s.l.)
Arrival point: Chiessi (30 m a.s.l.)
Length 58 km
Duration 19 h
Total ascent 1,823m
Total descent 1.803m
Highest point 703m
Lowest point 2 m
Type of terrain: Mulattiera Sentiero Strada
Interest: historical, archaeological and panoramic
Great Elban Crossing
The Grande Traversata Elba or GTE represents the most significant itinerary of the hiking network of the Elba Island .
It is a ridge that connects most of the Elban trails, allowing you to observe the incredible geological, vegetational and morphological variety of the island.
The route, classified as level E (hiking), near Monte Capanne forks. Thus two paths are identified. One that leads from Cavo to Patresi, extends for 57.99 km and has a travel time of 24 h and 20 min. The other, from Cavo to Pomonte, measures 49.57 km and can be covered in 19 h and 30 min.
Due to its length, it is recommended to walk the path in 4 stages. In this case it is necessary to add to the length of the GTE mentioned above, about 8 km of connection with the inhabited centers, arrival and departure of the different stages.
The first 3 stages are common to the two versions of the GTE. Stage 4 differs according to the final destination: stage 4 A leads to Patresi, stage 4 B to Pomonte
Stage 1: Cavo – Porto Azzurro
Length: 17.75 km
Average travel time: 8 h 05 min
Stage 2: Porto Azzurro – Procchio
Length: 20.56 km
Average travel time: 6 h 55 min
Stage 3: Procchio – Poggio
Length: 11.84 km
Average travel time: 5 h
Leg 4 A: Poggio – Patresi
Length: 16.28 km
Average travel time: 8 h 10 min
Leg 4 B: Poggio – Pomonte
Length: 9.26 km
Average travel time: 4 h 40 min
Stage 1: Cavo – Porto Azzurro
The path starts at the Cavo from the Faleria ring road. After about 700 m you reach the crossroads from which the short road leading to the Tonietti Mausoleum and path no. 260.
Subsequently, the route slowly climbs up to 344 m of the panoramic Monte Grosso, on which a traffic light station was built in the Second World War, now used as a residential building.
From here, go down the hill until you reach the provincial road n. 33 of the Parata.
The road flanks the Fosso del Vignolo with a pleasant shady ups and downs and later crosses the road to Nisporto at the saddle of the Aia di Cacio, where paths n. 201 and 202.
With a short detour from the itinerary you can take the asphalted road towards Rio Elba strong> to visit the Orto dei Semplici of Elba which can be accessed via path no. 203.
After crossing the road, the GTE continues steeply, the walkway becomes stony, passes by Monte Strega (426 m) and Monte Capannello (405 m), up to Le Panche (326 m) where the view sweeps across Western Elba with the Castle of Volterraio and the Gulf of Portoferraio in the foreground.
At Le Panche the route crosses the provincial road n. 32 del Volterraio climbing up the ridge, up to Cima del Monte (515 m).
In this section the itinerary is panoramic, the view extends to the coast line the coast on both sides of the watershed.
After a while the road crosses path no. 205, of EE level (expert hikers), which leads to the suggestive Sanctuary of the Madonna di Monserrato. From here, after about 1200 m, path no. 210, gliding through the vineyards, reach Porto Azzurro in 30 minutes.
Stage 2: Porto Azzurro – Procchio
The second stage has a wide walking surface with less demanding gradients than the other stages. The route crosses the hinterland of the central area, with respect to the previous stage the direction of travel changes, proceeding towards the west.
After traveling just over 3 km from the junction with path no. 210, cross the provincial road n. 26 and then climb near Monte Orello (376 m), a panoramic point that can be reached with a short detour.
The road then skirts the Colle Reciso quarry, joins for 200 m on an asphalted road where the junction with path n. 266 which continues towards Portoferraio, takes a wide former military road immersed in a luxuriant Mediterranean scrub.
The track, staying at the same altitude, then crosses path no. 221 for the Napoleonic Villa of San Martino and, at a distance of 1500 m, the two ends of the short path n. 214.
The second intersection with path no. 214 coincides with a crossroads. From here the path takes a descent and overlaps path n. 248, up to the junction with path n. 244 which running parallel to the GTE reaches the Colle di Procchio , located in the immediate vicinity of the town of the same name.
Stage 3: Procchio – Poggio
The route climbs up from the Provincial Road n. 25 up to Monte Castello (226 m), where you can admire the view of the Gulf of Campo, the ruins of an important Etruscan fortress hidden among the vegetation and a military post from the Second World War.
The way, before to graft onto a cart track, it crosses an area where the vegetation develops above the path forming a “tunnel”. A short distance away is the intersection with path no. 180 to Poggio and, after about 500 m, with path n. 121 for Sant’Ilario.
From here the GTE leaves the dirt road and climbs up to Monte Perone (630 m) where the path for the blind is located no. 122, after having crossed paths n. 117 and 169. It is about 1700 m of ascent with a difference in height of about 400 m.
After crossing the provincial road n. 37 del Perone the route joins the Butterfly Sanctuary, with which it coincides for about 2 km.
In this section there is the junction with path n. 107 for San Piero and with the path n. 100, of EEA level (equipped expert hikers), in addition to the viewpoint of Monte Maolo (749 m), where the gaze can sweep to the north on the north-western coast of Elba and the island of Capraia, to the south on the Gulf of Campo and the islands of Montecristo and Gigliom to the east on eastern Elba.
About 1500 m from Monte Maolo the GTE reaches under the buttresses of Monte Capanne where it forks into two branches: one leads to Patresi, the other to Pomonte.
To reach the destination of the third stage, follow the Patresi branch for about 1300 m until you take path no. 105 which, with a steep descent, leads to Poggio.
Overall, excluding the connecting paths with Porto Azzurro , Procchio and Poggio, the GTE up at the fork it measures about 42 km and it takes about 16 hours to cover it.
Stage 4 A: Poggio – Patresi
It is necessary to retrace one’s steps to the junction between the GTE and path no. 105.
From here Patresi is 16 km away, which can be covered in about 8 hours.
The track heads west, staying around 600 – 700 m, up to the intersection with path no. 110, where it turns left in a steep climb going up the western ridges of Monte Capanne.
At the end of the climb, which in the final part has several hairpin bends called “zete”, you reach an altitude of 921 m, at the junction with path n. 100, the only track on the island classified EEA (expert hikers equipped).
The route then slowly descends, to the locality of La Terra (582 m), where according to some the medieval village of Pedemonte was located.
From here, after about 1,500 m, in the upper part of the Chiessi valley, after having passed the detour to the ruins of the Romanesque church of San Frediano, you reach the junction with path no. 125.
The path then heads again towards the northern side of the Monte Capanne massif, after a wide turn towards the south, up to Serra Ventosa where it takes the descent to Patresi.
Stage 4 B: Poggio – Pomonte
It is necessary to retrace your steps up to the fork of the GTE.
From here Pomonte is 6.8 km away and it takes about 3 hours of walking.
The route heads south-west following the spectacular ridge which divides the wide valley of Pomonte from Vallebuia where it is not uncommon to find specimens of mouflon.
The panoramic position was exploited by ancient peoples.
In the area, in fact, artifacts related to settlements of the Bronze Age have been found.
There are also some goats near the Colle della Grottaccia (645 m) and Monte Orlano (549 m), evidence of a more recent presence. human dedicated to pastoralism.
Among the reliefs that characterize the ups and downs there are also Le Mure (629 m) and Monte Cenno (589 m).
Path n. 109 which goes into the valley, path no. 130, the path n. 108 for Seccheto.
Near Monte Cenno you cross the short path n. 135 A which connects the GTE to path n. 135.
The track, after passing the caprile located a short distance from Monte Orlano, takes a narrow path between magnificent terraces that quickly leads to a second intersection with path no. 109.
From here, a few minutes’ walk among beautiful vineyards leads to Pomonte .
TO KNOW BEFORE TAKING THE GTE
We recommend downloading the Avenza Maps app on your smartphone and from there the free maps of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, thanks to which you always have the geolocation in real time (even in the absence of a signal).
We also suggest a visit the CAI page Elba Island
The best times for the crossing are from mid-September to May. Full summer is absolutely to be avoided. In the months from November to February, the climate is favorable, however it is necessary to pay particular attention to the weather conditions and keep the forecasts under control.
The GTE does not pass from the top of Monte Capanne, but a little further north. To go up to the Capanne you have to go along path 101 round trip – calculating the extra time – or take the via ferrata of path 100, as long as you have the necessary equipment.
In some areas of the island, cell phones have no signal.
The only water point is Fonte Schiumoli (coordinates 42.78486, 10.32047), along the second leg. Attention: some maps show an incorrect position, while others indicate on the source paths that are now channeled or exhausted. Leave with the proper escort!
There are no shelters or bivouacs. “Free” camping is formally prohibited throughout the island (it is clear that camping on private land is allowed if you have the consent of the owners!)
Along the GTE there are no accommodation facilities, so it is necessary to go down to the inhabited centers.
The classic stops where to stay overnight are at the start and at the arrival (Cavo, Patresi and Pomonte), then Porto Azzurro, Lacona, Procchio, San Piero and Poggio; possible alternatives are Santo Stefano / Magazzini, Marina di Campo , Sant’Ilario, Marciana.
Most of Elba’s facilities, restaurants and shops are open at least from Easter to autumn: it is always advisable to call for confirmation and book overnight stays in advance.