Capraia Island

» Posted

C of the Tuscan archipelago. It is the wildest and most untouched of all. In ancient times the Greeks called it Aegilon, or Island of Goats (Capre), from which descended the current name. Some also say it may be an Etruscan name, as Capre in Etruscan means stone, to remind the rocky nature of the island. The Etruscans followed the Greeks, then in 174 BC the Romans annexed Capraia to the Empire. However, it was only in 67 BC that they got rid of piracy and the entire archipelago became a Roman possession.
The island was an important commercial port, and it was in this period that the first urban developments started to grow where today is the port and the old city.
After the fall of the Roman empire peoples from Ancona colonized the island and started cultivating vineyards. Curiously, the Palmazio wine, this was the name of the Capraia wine, has been produced up to few decades ago, and its production may start again in the near future.
During the following decades the island was again theater of piracy, and then of alternating dominions by Pisans, Genoans, and French invaders. During the years all the woods on the island were completely burned down.
The main highlights of the island are the fort of Saint George built by the Pisans and the Genoans during a span of five centuries from the Eleventh to the Sixteenth, the Twelfth century Assunta Church, and the towers of the Port, Bagno, Zenobito and Regina built in the Fifteenth century. It was only in 1926 that the island become Tuscan, passing from the Genoa jurisdiction to the one of Livorno.
The territory of Capraia is particularly hilly, with just one flat portion called La Piana. The origins of the island are volcanic, which is the reason of its particular conformation. The lack of dense vegetation areas makes of Capraia the perfect hiking ground, with a pretty steep change in altitude from the sea to its center. From any point of the island the landscape is wonderful and the vision is not impeded by the low rising vegetation. There is just one paved road on the island, but walking trails cross it from side to side and can be traveled in one day. They are all signaled trails in the wildest and most untouched landscape of Tuscany.
The beaches of Capraia are mostly rocky and stony, generally small inlets reachable walking or by sea with private boats or rafts. There is one sandy beach only, called Cala della Mortola. The rest of the island is characterized by cliffs over the sea that can be as high as 120 meters. A spectacular sight not to miss.

Where is the Island of Capraia?


View Capraia Island in Tuscany Italy in a larger map