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Tourist Travel Guide to Holidays in Tuscany

Isle of Montecristo


The Island of Montecristo is an island situated in the Tyrrhenian Sea and it is part of the Tuscan Archipelago. Administratively it is included in the town of Portoferraio and therefore in the province of Livorno.

It is State Integral Natural Reserve and it is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. The island is mountainous with several rocky ledges overlooking the sea and consists almost entirely of granite.

The few buildings are located in the Cala Maestra and their construction dates back to the mid-nineteenth thanks to an Englishman, Watson Taylor.

The most important building on the island is the villa defined “real” for hosting Vittorio Emanuele III. It is mainly a wild and uninhabited island, covered with Mediterranean vegetation.

Therefore it is an important place of refuge and resting place for migratory birds. It extends for about 10 km and is one of the most inaccessible and rugged islands of the entire Tuscan Archipelago, and also the most distant from the coast of the Peninsula.

It is mainly composed of pink-gray granite and it is shaped like a pyramid, broad and low, rich in low vegetation. Its very inhospitable aspect kept people away from the island over the centuries, until from the fifth century, monks and hermits started to live here.

The fauna of the island sees the wild goats as undisputed ruler of the territory: there are indeed about 400-500 animals, presumably originating in Asia Minor, led perhaps by the Phoenicians and now feral.

Cala Maestra is located in the north-west bay of Monte Cristo and it is the only port where the docking of boats is fairly easy. The Council of Europe, in attributing the European Diploma to the reserve for environmental conservation, imposed not to exceed a certain number of annual visitors.

So it is very difficult to visit the island. Often the number of applicants exceeds the availability, so there may be waiting quite long.

Photos from the albums of: PrinceVlad, Voirella, Ondablv.

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