Looking for wonderful beaches in Tuscany

Capraia Island adventure

Fabio Guidi byFabio Guidi

Capraia is in the Tuscan archipelago and is 36 nautical miles far from Livorno. To get there there's a ferry from Porto Mediceo in Livorno and it takes approximately two and a half hours or even one and a half on the hydrofoil. 
To tell you more about this beautiful island, we asked Fabio Guidi, who lives there, to illustrate us "his Capraia". Here is what he said:

"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.

Torretta del Bagno (1790-1791) [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
Torretta del Bagno (1790-1791) [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

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 the 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.

Capraia [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
Capraia [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

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 16th 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.

[Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
[Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

Capraia became part of Tuscan territory only in the 20th Century and its architecture is similar to the small villages of the Ligurian coast with towers (to defend from the pirates), the castle, churches, the ex-prison, the colored houses... I took some pictures of the houses and you can see them here.

Il Castello. Forte S.Giorgio. La garitta [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
Il Castello. Forte S.Giorgio. La garitta [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

Only 3% of the island is populated, the other 97% is a National Park or the area of the ex-prison (that has been 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.

Cala dello Zurletto [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
Cala dello Zurletto [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

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.

 

Capraia must-sees

My favorite stops are:

Cala del Ceppo, 20 minutes to the south.

It's not a swimming pool, it's Cala del Ceppo [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
It's not a swimming pool, it's Cala del Ceppo [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

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.

Lo Scoglione [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
Lo Scoglione [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

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.

La Peraiola [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
La Peraiola [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

Grotto, natural arches, waterfalls during the summer and fisherbirds at Il Reciso:

Il Reciso [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
Il Reciso [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

At the end of the day a stop to visit even bigger grottos in the direction of the sunset. Absolutely unforgettable.

[Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
[Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

In the north side there is Torre La Teglia.

Torre La Teglia [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
Torre La Teglia [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

Depending on the sea level it's possible to enjoy the amazing sand beach at La Mortola.

La Mortola [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
La Mortola [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

My Capraia offers also delicious meals with fresh fish and local products like jams, wine and liqueurs.

Mirto (Liqueur) [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]
Mirto (Liqueur) [Photo Credits: Fabio Guidi]

My Capraia welcomes you in the wildest and more natural island of Tuscany!"

This guest post was written by Fabio Guidi, an expert about the island of Capraia. You can contact him by e-mail and follow his Facebook Fan Page.

Ps: to reach Capraia you have to catch the ferry from "Porto Mediceo" in Livorno, in front of the "4 Mori" statue. Here's Toremar timetable.

Read more about hiking on Capraia Island

Cover image credit: Michela Simoncini

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