An island out of time, the ancient Egilora as it was called by the Greeks, the smallest of the "major" islands of the Tuscan Archipelago, still retains a very special atmosphere both at the naturalistic level with its high cliffs, and at the level of historical evidence such as Roman remains and old Watch Towers, but also because of its more recent history related to the establishment of an agricultural penal colony that is still active today.
The island of Gorgona hosts a farm and, of course, the famous prison. It is the last island penitentiary in Italy located opposite the coast of Livorno, about 36 km away. The entire territory is protected and divided into zones of different levels. With the exception of the docking corridor - managed by the management of the Detention Home - access, navigation, stopping, anchoring, fishing and diving are prohibited.
Gorgona's coastline is characterized by numerous inlets, including the beautiful Cala Scirocco, where the Grotta del Bove Marino, once a refuge for monk seals, Cala Maestra and Cala Martina, opens. On the island are the fortifications of Torre Vecchia and of Torre Nuova, located along the island's eastern coast.
Fun fact: about 70 inmates work in the gardens and vineyard, tending animals and producing wine, cheese, and honey. Even today about sixty residents still live in the ancient village, which crowns the small port, however, only a few permanently. Visits are regulated and restricted to a limited number, hence the need for a reservation well in advance. Our trek will begin with a brief visit to the remains of a Roman Villa and the island's commissary run by officers and inmates. We will then walk to the Frescobaldi vineyards where inmates work producing the famous "Gorgona" wine, climb to the vantage point of Cala Maestra, visit Torre Vecchia, a spectacular Pisan fortress overlooking the sea, and then to the old "Semaforo" now decommissioned.