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La CNN international parla delle Isole dell'Arcipelago Toscano

 

CNN luglio 2014

La CNN parla delle isole carcere dell'Arcipelago Toscano: Pianosa, Montecristo, Gorgona e Capraia

oltre che di Ponza, Ventotene, Asinara S. Stefano Pantelleria e Favignana

ecco il link per l'articolo completo    http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/22/travel/italy-prison-islands/

(CNN) -- For centuries Italy has housed its convicts and political enemies on some of the myriad tiny islands that dot its stunning coastline.Though they once held some of the country's most-wanted criminals, these prison islands are now among its most-wanted vacation destinations.Thanks to their remote locations and a former resident who once acted as a deterrent to visitors, many of these one-time penal colonies are largely unspoiled.Tourists are few, beaches are pristine and flora and fauna abundant.

Montecristo, TuscanyThe island that inspired Alexander Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo" novel is now as hard to reach as it was once to escape from.A white granite mountain that rises out of the sea, this jewel of the Tuscan Archipelago became a penal colony in the 19th century and later served as a hunting ground for Italian royalty.Wild and uncontaminated, Montecristo is so pristine it's been designated a biogenetic reserve by the European Union and is now home to the island's solitary guardian, some wild goats and a few seals.Getting there: The island allows just 1,000 visits per year and there's a long waiting list, managed by Italy's forest service (+39 056640019).Those that do get permission for day trips will need to hire a boat.Once there they'll get a tour from a state forest guide, taking in a cave and monastery dedicated to hermit Saint Mamilian, who is said to have defeated a dragon here about 1,500 years ago.

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Capraia, TuscanyCloser to Corsica than mainland Italy, Capraia's volcanic origins can be seen in its reddish Mars-like cliffs.The island, whose name means "goat" in Italian, hasn't housed prisoners since its penal colony closed in 1986, leaving a collection of spooky dungeons that are now on its list of attractions.A single road connects the port to a medieval village where the San Giorgio fort, once the population's shelter during pirate attacks, overlooks the sea.The island is a protected marine park, making it a prime diving destination. The local diving center organizes underwater trips to Cerniopoli, or Groupers' City, an area abundant with fish.The best way to explore is by boat -- especially at sunset -- or along the many trekking routes. There's bathing beneath the Zenobito tower, at Ceppo bay and Cala Mortola, a beach accessibly only by taxi boat.Hotel picks include La Mandola (Via della Mandola 1; +39 0586905300) and Valle di Portovecchio (+39 0586905242), a restyled dungeon.At Il Carabottino (Via San Giorgio), a restaurant in a stone house, the local cook serves up whatever her fisherman husband catches in the net.Getting there: Toremar runs regular ferries from the mainland port of Livorno (+39 199 11 77 33).

 

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Gorgona, TuscanyItaly's only island still functioning as a prison, Gorgona is covered in typical Mediterranean bush vegetation.Inmates work in vineyards and farms, making wine bottles, cheese, biscuits and pasta.There's a tiny fishermen village with 20 inhabitants, a church and lighthouse.Ancient towers and a fortress offer spectacular views.The isle is part of a so-called Cetacean Sanctuary -- great for whale and dolphin watching.Getting there: Sentieri organizes daily boat trips from the mainland port of Livorno and guided trekking tours to the isle's Cala Maestra cliff and a mosaic-covered Roman villa.Only 75 tourists are allowed each day.There's a small guest house run by prison authorities (+39 0586861032) that offers food and shelter for the night, but usually only in emergencies.MORE: 10 things Italy does better than anywhere else.

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Pianosa, TuscanyShaped like a flat T-bone steak and covered in fossils and shells, Pianosa fictionally played host to Joseph Heller's paradox-ensared U.S. Army Air Corps bomber crews in "Catch-22."In real life the island's maximum security prison, which closed in 1998, held some of Italy's most feared Mafia criminals.People have been incarcerated on what convicts called "Devil's Island" for centuries -- Emperor Augustus' nephew Agrippa Postumus was jailed and sentenced to death here in 14 A.D.Prisoners still play a role on the island with a handful of supervised convicts involved in running the Hotel Milena (+39 340 0689920).There are guided tours on mountain bike, foot or horseback.Offshore, Pianosa's waters are brimming with fish. Snorkeling and scuba diving are allowed, but only in certain areas.Getting there: Aquavision runs daily boat trips (+39 0565 976022) from nearby Elba Island and Piombino harbor on the mainland.

 

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