Legend says that Venus, emerging from the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, lost some of the pearls of its precious necklace in her hurry to reach the shore. The seven pearls resurfaced and became the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba, Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Giannutri, and Gorgona. Today, the islands are known as wonders of the heart of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Every island is a unicum of history and landscapes characterized by an extraordinary environmental heritage, protected by the PNAT- Parco Naturale dell’Arcipelago Toscano (Arcipelago Toscano Natural Park) and under the aegis of Mab (Man and the Biosphere) UNESCO program, to enhance the areas that safeguard the balance between man and nature. Elba is also on top of the Pelagos Cetacean Sanctuary, making the surrounding sea even more valuable from an environmental point of view.
You can enjoy the uniqueness and the beauty of these pearls any season of the year. Each island is different from the other. The islands have a story, a legend, or a feature that fascinates and enchants visitors, whether they arrive for a single weekend or choose the island and its archipelago as a destination for the trip. If it is impossible to resist the charm of the sea in summer, history, culture, and nature offer many possibilities for an exciting journey in other periods.
The Archipelago is almost entirely open to visitors starting from Elba Island, the main one, which is the ideal starting point for a holiday to discover a thousand views of this fascinating corner of the sea, with its long tradition of tourist hospitality. Choosing the Tuscan Archipelago as a destination means discovering a thousand destinations that the pearls of Tuscany offer, combining the advantages of a permanent trip with those of a traveling one. Capraia, Montecristo, Giglio, and Pianosa can be reached directly from Elba Island during summer.
Even just the „capital of the Archipelago“ is worth the trip. With over 200 beaches, nature trekking, amazing views, historical routes that cover 3000 years of history, artisan shops, nightlife, and excellent food and wine tradition awarded worldwide, Elba offers something surprising every day. It is impossible to summarize in a few lines an experience that deserves to be lived more than told. The variety of offers of the island is too wide that allows you to build your holiday formula, mixing different experiences, from the full relaxation ones to the total active activities.
Pianosa is a flat island (the only altitude measures only 29 meters) and has remained virtually intact biologically until a few years ago, thanks to the prison which prevented the access to the island, and which today is open only to 250 visitors per day. Do not miss a visit to the Roman Villa of Agrippa Postumo, nephew of Emperor Augustus, now the subject of recovery by the Italian Ministry of Culture for the exceptional archaeological heritage preserved in it. However, lovers of the underwater world cannot miss the dive in Cala Giovanna (with authorized diving centers) to discover the submerged nature among the most fascinating of the entire archipelago.
The charming island praised by Alexandre Dumas in his masterpiece the Count of Montecristo is today an unspoiled and wild place where nature is the undisputed master. Visiting this portion of the Archipelago is not a classic „tourist visit“: it is an exclusive and immersive experience, limited to about 2,000 participants every year to preserve the biodiversity of the island that has made Montecristo a universal heritage. On the island, it is forbidden to stay overnight, swim or fish. It is the perfect experience for every lover of nature trails looking for the essence of living in harmony with the environment.
Among the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, Capraia is the closest to Corsica. They are separated only by a stretch of sea that looks directly towards the Cap Corse. Its history is quite troubled: inhabited since prehistoric times, assaulted by pirates, and object of continuous handovers between the various potentates because of its strategic position. Today Capraia is the perfect place to totally relax: two hundred inhabitants, a handful of houses, and beautiful naturalistic landscapes. Don’t miss the night observation of the starry sky that is extremely impressive thanks to the low light pollution.
As mentioned in Giulio Cesare’s De Bello Civili, the island was set of one of the most dramatic moments of the struggles between the Maritime Republics that also marked the moment of the greatest power of the Ghibellines in their historical opposition to the Guelphs. In addition, the Genoese fleet engaged the Pisan fleets in Giglio’s waters with the victory of the Pisan. Do not miss a visit to the towers, fortresses, and defensive walls of the island.
HOW TO REACH ELBA AND THE OTHER ISLANDS OF THE ARCHIPELAGO?
Elba Island is easily accessible by ferry from the port of Piombino in just an hour of navigation, or by plane from Milan Linate, Bologna, Florence, Pisa, and Lugano (with Silver Air); Bastia, Parma, Genoa, and Perugia (FlyLeOne). The islands of the Archipelago are accessible by ferry from Aquavision during summer.
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