There is more to Tuscany than rolling hills, medieval towns and good wine. On Italy custom tours, you can also explore the Tuscan archipelago with its seven islands: Elba, Giglio, Giannutri, Capraia, Pianosa, Montecristo and Gorgona. The islands and the surrounded waters form the Tuscan archipelago national park, the largest protected marine area in Europe. Each of them have their unique character and history.
The biggest of the Tuscan islands and the most popular, Elba is famous as Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile where he spent almost a year before escaping to regain control of the French government. The island’s 70 beaches fill up with holidaymakers in July and August but there are also some secluded coves and hiking trails to explore.
Stunning views, beautiful beaches and picturesque towns keep visitors spellbound. Don’t miss the lovely village of Giglio Porto with lively bars and an old Saracen tower, winding streets and dramatic castle ruins in Giglio Castello and sunsets in Campese.
A favourite of snorkelers and scuba divers, the island has a small port and a fishing village with a 16th century castle. Explore Capraia’s pebbly beaches on foot or by a chartered boat that will take you to see sea grottoes and secluded bays.
A natural reserve, this island is uninhabited. There are only several buildings and one of them is a lovely 18th century villa. Only 50 people are allowed to step on the island’s soil per day on a 6-hour tour. Although the legends about the island of Montecristo’s pirate treasures are still abound, people come here for another reason: to see the unforgettable sea views and the unique wildlife.
A Roman villa, beautiful views and tranquillity await for you on this southernmost Tuscan island. During summer months, only 300 people per day are allowed here to preserve the island’s fragile ecosystem.
Almost as secluded as the Montecristo island, Pianosa has majestic Roman ruins and stunning beaches. Only 250 visitors are allowed daily to sunbathe on the Cala Giovanna beach, snorkel or take a walking tour of the island.
You need a guide to visit the island due to a penal establishment located there. You can spend a day swimming, walking along the rugged coastline or cruise the island on a private boat.
Photos via Flickr by: Marie Jirousek, Luca Lazzazzera, Simone Carletti, Federico Scorzoni.