CHARTER A YACHT FOR THE Tuscan Archipelago
“Legend has it that Venus, goddess of beauty, rose up from the clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and as she did so, seven of the pearls on the necklace round her neck came off and fell into the sea, and this is how the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago came to be”
Elba, Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Giannutri and Gorgona are the 7 beautiful islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. There are smaller islands and rocks also belonging to the Tuscan Archipelago National Park: Palmaiola and Cerboli, just out of Elba, Le Formiche of Grosseto, in the north of Giglio island, the Affrica Rock or Formiche of Montecristo, Le Formiche of Capraia, of Palmaiola and La Zanca.
The archipelago is a perfect place for a charter yacht vacation, visiting each island and discover their characteristics.
It is a somewhat “unusual” archipelago because each island has it’s own unique “personality” and rich in variety of natural environments, vegetation, culture, history and arts.
Although there are very strict rules concerning the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, access is allowed to all of them. Access to the Island of Montecristo is very limited, but from April 1st to October 31st you may request the permission. Also the island of Giannutri has very restricted rules and it is not possible to berth there.
The Island of Gorgona was a penal colony, so up till recently you were allowed access only with a special permit and under the watchful eye of the Prison Authorities. Since spring 2016, the access is now granted to both tourists and to those who wish to go even just to study the natural environment.
The biggest island of Tuscan Archipelago, Elba hold lot of places, beaches and coves that you can not miss. The Island of Elba measures 224 square kilometres and is the third largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago and it is just 10 km away from the mainland.
The island is divided into seven communes; of its approximately 35.000 inhabitants, twelve thousand live in Portoferraio, the major town on the island.
Its total coastline length is only 147 kilometres, it has a mild climate and a wide variety of scenery: small villages high up on the hills, romantic fishing towns, ancient castles, fascinating gulfs, green valleys, all magically intermingled with beautiful sand and pebble beaches.
One moment you are admiring the sheer drop from the cliffs to the crystal clear sea, the next you are facing the Monte Capanne granite massif, 1019 metres above sea level.
Its breathtaking natural beauty, make this island a unique and magical holiday resort both from the land or from the sea.
The legend tells that the original name of Montecristo comes from Saint Mamiliano, who was taken prisoner and kept as a slave. When he escaped, he sought shelter in a cave on the island, called the Saint’s Grotto, and then gave the island the name of “Mons Christi”.
Very nice to visit, the island is almost made by grey-pink granite covered by a very varied flora and fauna. The island is rich in Mediterranean shrub and bush, above all heather, rosemary, helichrysum and cistus , all of which provide shelter for lot of species of migrant birds.
Protection laws concern the whole Island of Montecristo, and the entire territory with all the sea around the island up to 1 kilometre come under protection.
The sea floor around the island of Pianosa is certainly among the richest and most unspoiled, on the one hand thanks to the protection from fishing for the presence of the prison, but also thanks to the particular morphology of Pianosa that makes the water shallow, ideal habitat for wildlife of the sea. In this part of the sea, during the cruise with charter yacht or catamaran, it will be possible to sight dolphins, and the rare turtles or monk seal.
Coast with cliffs with a sheer drop right down to the sea, rocks smoothed over the years by the wind and the sea, are proof of the various eruptions that brought about the different layers of lava. All this can be seen in Cala Rossa, probably one of the most unique coves in the Archipelago, where the cone shaped rock walls go from black to red. Anchor your motor yacht or sailing yacht there and dive in this amazing little cove.
Giglio Castello, the main town, is a medieval fortify town situated in the highest point of the island. Giglio Porto, a little fishing village in the past, now is the main commercial town of the island, is where most of the boats, catamarans, yachts and megayachts arrive. Arriving with your charter yacht, from the harbour you can clearly see the small, pastel coloured houses along the sea front, the Saracen Tower and two lighthouses at the end of the quay. Giglio Campese, on the west side of the Island, is the most popular beach, the ideal place for tourists and snorkelling lovers, characterised by a famous rock and unforgettable sunsets.
The most southern island in the Tuscan Archipelago, opposite the promontory of Monte Argentario, was called “Artemisia” by the Greeks and “Dianium” by the Romans, due to it being shaped like an arch. Giannutri is a calcareous island with limestone caves, ancient sedimentary rocks and a very rocky, jagged coastline full of grottos.
The numerous tropical plants on the island, today practically no longer to be found in the Mediterranean, prove that here the climate is very mild all year round.
You can get to the inlets either by boat or by following any of the many paths on the island; the sea bed is rich in gorgonias, coral and sponges, and attracts many scuba diving lovers and deep sea divers every year.
In winter, Giannutri is completely deserted because there are no residents there.
The major gulfs of the Island is Cala Spalmatoio with the only square on the entire island, called the Piazzetta and Cala Maestra. You can find ruins of a Roman Villa built in the II century AD by the ancient Domizi Enobarbi family.
The Island of Gorgona is the smallest and most northern jewel in the archipelago, and is the last prison island in Italy.
The rocks are mostly ophiolite and calcareous, and the territory is mainly mountainous, with Punta Gorgona being the highest peak at 255 metres above sea level.
There has been an agricultural penal settlement in Gorgona since 1869, that was originally a branch of the prison in Pianosa. Here about 70 prisoners work the land either in the vegetable gardens or in the vineyards, as well as looking after the animals, enabling them to make their own wine, cheese and honey.
Being a prison island means that up till recently you were allowed to go there only if you booked beforehand, but bear in mind nobody is allowed to sail, swim or fish around the entire island. There are many inlets round the coast of Gorgona, and the most suggestive are Cala Scirocco, where the Grotto of Bove Marino is, once the home of the monk seal, Cala Maestra and Cala Martina.
There are two fortresses on the island: the Ancient Tower that was built under the Pisan rule as both a defense and watchtower, and the New Tower on the west coast of the island.