Capraia (Isola di Capraia) is a relatively small Italian island residing by the coast of Tuscany. The island has attainted a status of protected national park, and it is remotely unspoiled and fruitful in wildlife. With established hillside footpaths and gorgeous views, Capraia is an excellent destination for nature enthusiasts and hikers. The island’s rocky coves are also well known for the sea bathers, while boat trips and hire boats are also available for those wishing to enjoy the coastline. Capraia can be reached by daily ferries from the Tuscan port Livorno, close to Pisa. (photos by robertonencini)
Capraia Island, Arcipelago Toscano National Park, Tuscany, Italy – marina boats
Saint George Fort
tower of the port with sea views
the tower of the port with sea views
Capraia Island, Arcipelago Toscano National Park, Tuscany, Italy – Saint Nicola Church
Capraia Island, Arcipelago Toscano National Park, Tuscany, Italy – the tower of the port with sea views
Reganico path for Zurletto bay
Capraia Island, Arcipelago Toscano National Park, Tuscany, Italy – Reganico path for Zurletto bay
Seagull with children
Capraia Island, Arcipelago Toscano National Park, Tuscany, Italy, trekking trail to the tower of Zenobito and Calarossa among arbutus trees, asfodelie flowers and gulls
The Tuscan Island of Capraia
By Elizabeth Waddington
Perhaps the wildest and most natural of the Tuscan Archipelago, Capraia, is reachable by ferry from Livorno and is also a popular stopping off point for private yachts travelling to Corsica or other islands in the Mediterranean. It is a good island for walking and the wildlife you will see here is varied and interesting. Ornithologists and twitchers will be particularly drawn by the rare bird-life found on the island. The island is also a draw for photographers who love the wild landscape of the island itself and the breathtaking views across the cerulean sea to Corsica and other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Stop by the Capraia tourist office to find information about walking trails and the nature and human history of the island.
Walking on Capraia it is fascinating to think of the people who have walked on these trails over the centuries and their varying impact on this beautiful island. Be sure to visit the Fortress of San Giorgio, where there are interesting historical remains including the Torre del Bagno beside the sea. Enjoy the views from the terraces of the aptly named Bellavista, looking across to the steep eastern slopes of Mount Campanile. For stunning views of a peaceful bay, head for Cala dello Zurletto.
Another excellent walk is to take the old mule track past Laghetto to Monte Les Pennes, across country, to the site of the old Penal Colony that was situated on the island for over a hundred years. You can continue on a circular route that will bring you back down through spectacular scenery to the port. Other ancient trails will take you to the rugged and breathtaking west or south of the island where solitude and panoramic vistas are the order of the day.
Capraia is that rare thing in the Mediterranean: an escape from the crowds. It is easy to find a quiet trail or peaceful cove to get some rest and relaxation. But Porto is still geared up for tourists and there are several lovely accommodation options there, and in historic, colourful, peaceful Capraia, from which village you can descend to sandy beaches in little coves along the coast. In Porto there are restaurants and pubs and you can hire boats or sign up for one of the many boating tours round the island. Perched up above La Porta is the Max Resort La Mandola, which has terraces with lovely views of the bay, a sea-water pool and fifty pleasant rooms for guests.
A boat trip round the island will reveal its rugged and cave-filled coastline and is a must for nature lovers wanting to see the amazing geology and wildlife up close. Perfect coves, red rock faces and caves are just some of the wonderful sights to be seen around the coast of this magical island.
So if you are looking for the perfect Mediterranean holiday with all the beauty and lovely weather but without the heavy crowds, then why not consider this little island for the ideal natural getaway?
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