Hiking, snorkelling, birdwatching, biking: these days you can walk, go for a bike ride. Take in the most authentic scents of the Mediterranean and eat locally produced food on the former prison islands in the Tuscan Archipelago.
Gorgona, Capraia, Montecristo and Pianosa are still not fully accessible to tourists. In some cases, this is because the prisons are still in operation, but it’s also mostly due to the fact that these islands are delicate oases of nature, like the island of Montecristo, which remains well-preserved thanks to strictly limited access to visitors.
Read on for our recommended itinerary through some of these islands: Gorgona, the smallest, immersed in crystal-clear waters off the coast of Livorno and home to a prison farm; Pianosa, a flat sheet of land surrounded by sea that once hosted the oldest of all the prisons in the archipelago, today one of the best-preserved examples of the Mediterranean ecosystem, with crystalline sea bottoms, cliffs and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities both on foot and by bike; and Isola d’Elba, the largest island in the archipelago and Napoleon’s unique choice for his exile and imprisonment: the frigate HMS Undaunted delivered him to Portoferraio on May 4th, 1814.