Legend has it that the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago originated from the brilliant pearls of Venus fallen into the Mediterranean. Elba, Capraia, Gorgona, Pianosa, Montecristo, Giannutri and Giglio are in fact precious gems that need care and protection. The territory of the islands and the stretch of sea between them is protected within the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago.
The park was established in 1996 to preserve intact the natural wonders of the archipelago. This concerns both the mainland and the seabed. This stretch of sea is in fact the habitat of large cetaceans (dolphins, whales and sperm whales) and native species that must be protected. It is for this reason that several underwater areas of the Elba coast are classified as “nature reserve” and forbidden to humans.
Even the islands of Pianosa and Gorgona, even if open to tourists, have severe restrictions on the conservation of the natural environment. Having been colonies of maximum security, the two islands are pristine paradises that can now be explored with a guide.
It is possible to participate to excursions on foot or by bike and also dive in specific points of their coast.
The only island in the archipelago closed to mass tourism is Montecristo, the furthest from the mainland. Montecristo is an “integral nature reserve” to which only 1000 visitors can enter each year. The visit always takes place in the company of forest guards who lead the group along the paths of the island to reach the ancient monastery of San Mamiliano.