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ISLANDS in Tuscany
|The Tuscan Archipelago is a chain of islands between the Ligurian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea. The archipelago contains the islands of Elba (the largest island of the group), Pianosa, Capraia, Montecristo, Giglio, Gorgona and Giannutri, all of which are protected as part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. The Archipelago extends from the upper-middle coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea until the Corsica, indeed, when the sky is particularly clear you can see the French island from the Elba Island.Full of history and rich in nature and landscapes, the archipelago is a charming place to discover and live in every season. The climate is the typical Mediterranean one, and the big diversity of the seabeds and of the coasts that characterize every island, has brought to the different development of many animals. In order to protect them, it has been instituted the Park. The Archipelago is the biggest protected area of the European seas. This has allowed to maintain beaches and coasts of the islands intact and dominated by the wilder nature.Elba is the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, located between the Tyrrhenian Sea and Ligurian Sea. The island is divided into eight municipalities, of which Portoferraio is the main one, the others; Campo nellElba, Capoliveri, Marciana, Marciana Marina, Porto Azzurro, Rio Marina, and Rio nellElba.Originally inhabited by Ligures was then taken by force, first by the Etruscans and later by the Romans. After the end of the Roman Empire, the island suffered from ravages by barbarians and Saracens. In the early 11th century it became a possession of the Republic of Pisa. In 1546 part of the island was handed over to Cosimo I de Medici, while in 1577 the rest of the island was returned to the Appiani. In 1596 Philip II of Spain captured Porto Azzurro and built there two fortresses. In 1802 the island became a French possession, and its economy flourished. Following the Treaty of Fontainebleau, French emperor Napoleon I was exiled to Elba after his forced abdication in 1814. In the Congress of Vienna the island was given to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In 1860 it became part of the new unified Kingdom of Italy.Rich in iron, Elba Island, with its crystalline sea and a country dominated by the intense green of the Mediterranean bush, is the ideal place to spent your holiday. In this splendid island you can pass in few minutes from the steep reefs on blue sea to the massif of Monte Capanne (1019 meters high).Giglio Island is part of the province of Grosseto and is separated by a 16 km stretch of sea from the Argentario promontory. Giglio Island is washed by limpid waters and has reefs, beautiful beaches, many bays, coves and gorges that allow to live the sea in absolute solitude.The modern island was probably born 4.5 - 5 millions years ago, and has been inhabited since the Iron Age. Later it was probably an Etruscan military stronghold. In 805 it was donated by Charlemagne to the abbey of the Tre Fontane in Rome, and was later a possession of Aldobrandeschi, Pannocchieschi, Caetani, Orsini families and the commune of Perugia. From 1264 Giglio was a Pisane dominion, from which it passed to the Medici. It suffered several Saracen attacks, which ended only in 1799.The crystalline sea, with its seabed rich and abounding in fish, is among the most appreciated of the Mediterranean; it is a charming frame for a wild territory, that invites to walk along the beautiful paths.Capraia is an island of the Channel of Corsica, it has volcanic origin and it is nearer to the coast of Corsica than to Tuscany. It has high and rocky coasts, lacking of beaches, and a small lake in the hills. It became Genoese in 1527 and was strongly fortified. In 1796 it was occupied for a short time by Horatio Nelson. Part of the island was formerly occupied by an agricultural penal colony, but it was shut down in 1986. Most of the island has been made into a national park.Gorgona is the smallest and the northernmost island in the Tuscan Archipelago.The latter quality resulted in the foundation of Gorgona Abbey in the Middle Ages. After its closure the monastery grounds and buildings were appropriated in later times as part of an agricultural penal colony, which is currently in use.The visit of the island is allowed, for small groups, every tuesday in the summer. The tourist will be fascinated by the green: approximately 90% of the island, indeed, are covered by the Mediterranean bushes and woods. The sea of the island is forbidden to navigation; therefore the small presence of men allowed the water to be clear and blue. Montecristo Island is situated south of Elba and west of the Giglio Island and the Argentario. The island is remote and kept by the Italian government as a nature preserve and hunting park, and only accessible by private yacht and permit. The island is probably best known as a fictional setting in the novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, but the actual island does not correspond closely to the description in the novel.he conditions, that have forbidden the peopling, favourited the prospering of the flora and the fauna. The island is the most solitary, fascinating and wild of Tuscan Islands.Pianosa is the closest island to Elba, and offers an unique, splendid and absolutely intact atmosphere. Its name expresses the idea of the Italian word pianura (plain): its highest point stands only about 72 ft over sea-level. The ancient Romans knew the island as Planasia. It became noted in history when the princeps Augustus banished his grandson and ex-heir Agrippa Postumus there in AD 6 or 7. Postumus remained there until his execution around the time of the death of Augustus in 14.Pianosa has no permanent residents, but was the site of a maximum-security prison from 1858 to 1998. Today the island accomodates only some partially free prisoners who work here, and some police officers.
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