The island of Capraia is one of the islands of the Tuscan archipelago and it distances 36 nautical miles from Livorno. To get there one takes a ferry from Porto Mediceo in Livorno and it takes approximately two and a half hours (or an hour and a half on the hydrofoil). We asked Fabio Guidi, who lives on the island, to tell us about “his Capraia”. Here is what he told us:
Capraia is where I have lived for more than 12 years; now it’s my home but I remember pretty well my first days when everything was new and the island meant discovery to me.
I remember that my first trip to Capraia was very pleasant: the moment I entered the ferry I felt like I was already on vacation. It was really great to navigate through the open sea; in summertime, passengers take off their shirts to get a tan and it’s normal to see people in swimsuits atop the ship. A few minutes after departing we could no longer see the continent and after some time we could see just a little piece of the island… it’s really amazing. During the journey in the ship there is silence, nature, the ocean… just like on the island itself.
When we are traveling to Capraia we realize that it is different from all other islands. There is a small port and a small village around a Castle from the 15th Century which was built by the Repubblica di Genova, the rest are volcanic rocks, wild nature, fragrances and sea.
The fragrance comes first. If the wind blows against the ship it wraps around you even before you set foot on the island.
Capraia was formed after the eruption of an ancient volcano 10 million years ago. The last mouth of the volcano was closed around 5 million years ago but we can still see it: the Cala Rossa. The consequence of this old intense volcanic life are red and black rocks around the island and the coast. Now the volcano is inactive, but the water around Capraia is warmer then elsewhere and probably means that the volcano is not completely dead.
Capraia became part of Tuscan territory only in the 19th Century and it’s architecture is similar to the small villages of the Ligurian coast with towers (to defend from the pirates), the castle, churches, the ex-prision, the colored houses… I took some pictures of the houses and you can view them here.Only 3% of the island is populated the other 97% is a National Park or the area of the ex-prison (that was active from 1873 to 1986). The best way to explore Capraia is on foot or with a boat. Most of the beaches don’t have sand – except for Mortola.
Walking around the village you will find yourself surrounded by nature. Early in the morning, to see the rising sun, I recommend this easy path to Cala dello Zurletto in the Oriental Coast. According to the season you find different flowers and animals like the wild rabbit or gulls. All that is only 15 minutes from the village! In the Spring it’s possible to swim with fishes, it’s like being in an aquarium.
A boat is a must to visit the island because there are no roads in the land, only paths. There are different types of tours for groups from 6 to 12 people and this is a good way to admire the coast and hidden beaches with crystalline water. There are tours in the morning, at noon, in early afternoon and in the end of the day and normally they last from 2 to 4 hours. My favorite stops are:
Cala del Ceppo, 20 minutes to the south:
Lo Scoglione is another special place, the sea bed is 45 meters (147 feet) high but the water is so clear we can see every single detail perfectly with a mask.Cala Rossa is a must-see, the place where the last volcano mouth of the island is.
The yellow rocks colored by the sulfur are very common at La Peraiola :Grotto, natural arches, waterfalls during the summer and fisherbirds at Il Reciso: At the end of the day a stop to visit even bigger grottos in the direction of the sunset. Absolutely unforgettable:
In the north side there is Torre La Teglia:Depending on the sea level it’s possible to enjoy the amazing sand beach at La Mortola:
My Capraia offers also delicious meals with fresh fish and local products like jams, liqueur and goat cheese.
My Capraia welcomes you in the wildest and more natural island of Tuscany!
How to get there
To reach Capraia you have to catch the ferry from “Porto Mediceo” in Livorno, in front of the “4 Mori” statue. Here’s Toremar’s timetable, remember that “Sunday” is “Domenica” (D, in Italian – unfortunately the web site hasn’t an English version, but with some patience and a dictionary you’ll be able to understand )
Read more about hiking on Capraia Island