Summer break ideas: Pianosa Island

Check out our adventure on Pianosa Island and find out an uncommon daily tour in a beautiful protected area in the Tuscan Archipelago

Pianosa island Cala dei Turchi sea
"Little islands are all large prisons; one cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow”- Sir Richard Francis Burton

A security prison until 1997 then become a marine protected area, Pianosa island is a wild pearl of Tuscany, where clear crystal waters

 

Our itinerary in a nutschell

  • 04/08/2019: Piombino - Cala Giovanna - Cala dei Turchi - Piombino

 

Getting there


Pianosa is a small island close to the most known Elba island in the Tuscan archipelago. Once a penal security settlement, today is part of a marine protected area and the access is strictly regulated to protect the environment.

Daily visit to the island are possible for a limited number of people, so we decided to book a guided tour for today.


Our trip starts from Piombino where we board the Aquavision boat (http://www.aquavision.it/pianosa.html) to get to the island. The journey takes approximately 2 hours and half and we enjoy the sunny morning and the fresh breeze blowing in the upper deck of the boat. Close to the Elba coast line, not so far from us some dolphins jump off from the sea, playing with the wake among the waves. It's incredible how these animals can fascinate people and immediately make people happier.


During the journey some certified guides from the marine park explain us some nice activities you can take during your daily stay in the islands, including: snorkeling in Baia dei Turchi, participating in some guided trekking or mountain bike ricing, kayaking and visiting the small village.



Cala Giovanna cove


Disembarking from the boat we head to Cala Giovanna for a refreshing bath in its clear waters. The beach is a long strip of fine white sand and we find a spot for our beach umbrella with few people around; the sun can be very hot so we prefer not to risk an insulation.

Some sharp rocks close to the shore suggest us to wear our rock shoes before plunging into the water.


We spend some time snorkeling the coast and suntanning before lunch time, enjoying this little paradise.


Behind the beach a large wall reminds the recent purpose of the island and the strong security measures to guard the prisoners; a deep wound to the beauty of the island.

Very important: on the island no waste baskets are available and visitors are requested to bring back all the rubbish; it is a simple but important gesture everyone can do to preserve this beautiful park and its environment.

A small restaurant is open serving foods and ice-creams.


Hopefully, close to the beach another pleasant surprise wait us: the roman ruins of the Agrippa's villa with its restored baths and mosaics. Few parts are visible today but we love to imagine how beautiful could be such a villa 2000 years ago.


The village and the penal security prison


In the afternoon, we stroll around the abandoned but charming alleys and the empty houses of the village, surrounded only by the sound of sea and the silence..

In the past the village was mainly inhabited by the guardians of the prison and their families and when in 1997 the prison was closed it was quickly abandoned.

Today those who desire spend more time in the island can book a room in the only hotel available: Hotel Milena (https://www.hotelpianosa.it/).

From the village it is possible to participate in interesting guided tours to the catacombs and other interesting activities. For more info you can have a look at the official website of the marine park (http://www.islepark.it/visitare-il-parco/pianosa).



Cala dei Turchi



At 3 pm we head to the "Casa del Parco" meeting point where we meet our marine guide for the Snorkeling daily briefing.

Because Pianosa is a protected site under the natural park it is not possible to dive alone in any part of the sea outside Cala Giovanna, therefore we decided to take part to a guided snorkeling activity in Cala dei Turchi to discover more about the marine ecosystem of the island.

The cost of the activity is really cheap, 15 Eur by person, and it is possible to rent for free all the needed equipment: diver's mask, snorkel, flippers and also wetsuits; very useful especially for people who do not want to bring all these things from home for the daily trip.

The guide explains us that we will coast from the sea the rocky Cala dei Turchi for approximately 1 km, listing all the possible sightings about the Pianosa marine life: packs of diplodus or sea bream, gilthead bream, stone bass.. very exciting.

The sea bottom is very reach and large area of Posidonia, the "green lung" of the sea; did you know that this seaweed can oxygenate the water producing around 14 litres oxygen by day by square meter?

The water temperature is quite nice and we decide to not wear the weatsuit.

Once there we are projected into a beautiful, deep blue world. The area is mostly uncontaminated and fishes are not scared about our presence in their habitat; unfortunately under a small cave our guide shows us some fragments of plastics. It is unbelievable how human impact can be so negative even in a well preserved and controlled area like this; once more this warning should push all of us to be more careful about pollution and to the health of our (unique) planet.


At 5pm the horn of the boat remind us that it is time to come back home. It's incredible how some places can restore you clearing all the stress and Pianosa is one of them; with its calm and wild beauty we return home happy and fascinated by this island.


To discover more about this island, have a look to our posts and stories dedicated to Pianosa Island dated July 2018 and August 2019 on our Instagram page @2intour


If you have more time, we suggest to spent some additionnal days in this area to visit the others islands of the Tuscan Archipelago (such as Isola del Giglio or Giannutri) or the Feniglia Natural Reserve and the Argentario. For more info on these places, have a look at the dedicated articles on our blog and the posts and stories dated July 2018 and 2020, August 2019 and 2020 on our Instagram page @2intour


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