The Forbidden Island of Montecristo, Tuscany

The island of Montecristo of the Tuscan Archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea has officially become uninhabited. The last nature reserve keeper and his wife left the island about a month ago due to the budget cuts.

Montecristo is not easy to visit.  Until a few years ago only scientists and park rangers could disembark at Cala Maestra, the island’s natural harbour, where boats are allowed to dock. It was open for guided tours only in 2008 but the number of visitors is limited to 1000 a year.

Only 50 people are allowed to step on the island’s soil per day. The tour lasts 6 hours and takes the curious to see the 19-th century Royal Villa, botanical garden, the natural history museum and along the three paths running through the island. It is prohibited to swim, camp, fish or stay overnight on Montecristo.

Due to restricted access and very few humans that have lived here over centuries the island’s wildlfe is thriving. There are some endemic and rare spieces here, enangered plants and tranquility. in the 19th century Alexandre Dumas was inspired by the island’s old St. Mamiliano monastery ruins and legends about pirates’ treasures buried here. Edmond Dantès, the central character of Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo, comes to this isolated place to find the enormous treasure of the Spada family.

Although the legends about the island of Montecristo’s pirate treasures are still abound, people come here for another reason: to see the unforgettable sea views and the unique wildlife. The price of the admission is about €50 per person and the waiting list is long, sometimes it takes up to two years to get a permission. But it is certainly worth it. To apply for a one-day Montecristo visa you can call or email the Park authority:

Corpo Forestale di Follonica
Telefono: 0566 400 19

Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

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