It is 8.20am in Livorno and the ferry is warming up its engines for takeoff toward our destination: the island of Capraia. Reaching this Tuscan Archipelago gem takes just a two hour and thirty minute trip. Connections from Livorno run daily, at least once per day—usually in the morning at 8.30.
We are in the aptly named “Santuario dei Cetacei” (“Cetaceans’ Sanctuary”); throughout the trip, it’s not uncommon to spot dolphins jumping spiritedly around the boat. This is an incredible, unspoilt paradise for wildlife lovers.
Capraia itself will appear harsh and wild to the visitor’s eye. You won’t find the fine sands of the Argentario Coast or the convenient amenities offered by seaside resorts in Versilia. But on the flipside, you’ll find disarmingly beautiful cliff bays; kaleidoscopic crystalline waters; and rigid, dizzying cliffs, alternating between barren and shrouded in thick Mediterranean shrubbery.
Up until 1986, Capraia was a penal colony and the abandoned branches of the former prison can still be visited today. The two island centers where people reside are the Porto (Port) and the Paese (Town), linked by an 800 meter asphalt hill. As a direct consequence, it’s useless to load scooters or automobiles on the fairy; for the few roads on the island, these means of transport are more of an obstacle than anything.