Smoking kills, but the Island of Elba doesn’t find that reason enough not to accommodate the smoker and everyone else at the same time. Terra cotta ashtrays, as pretty as planters, are everywhere. And if it weren’t for the crop of cigarette butts thriving in many of them (in other words, cigarette butts that aren’t littering the ground), that’s exactly what you’d think they were.
The first one I spotted was affixed to a lovely art gallery, so I assumed it had been put there by the property owners. Then I realized that they were everywhere—next to the doors of barbershops and butchers, by drainpipes and the carved stone marking the water-level of the great flood of 1899. And finally, on close inspection, I realized that they were public installations, for each ashtray is marked with an oddly shaped blue-blob: a minute Island of Elba.