Capraia is one of the islands of the archipelago furthest from the coast, being 54 km away in the Tyrrhenian Sea, and is about 40 km from both Elba and Gorgona, situated to the Northeast.
ProLoco Capraia Isola
Via Assunzione, 72 (presso l’attracco del traghetto) 57032 Capraia Isola (LI)
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With a surface area of 19 square kilometres, it is the third largest island in terms of size and its territory is characterised by steep hills, of which the highest is Monte Castello, 445 metres above sea level. It currently consists of two small villages that are autonomous municipalities in the province of Livorno, namely the marina and the old town, near Fort S. Giorgio. The total number of inhabitants on the island is 300. Capraia is the only island of the Tuscan Archipelago which originated from volcanic activity, and these origins can be seen in the rugged nature of the landscape.
The earliest evidence of life on the island dates back to the Neolithic period, with evidence of a settlement found at Monte Castello: fragments of pottery, weaving spools and a millstone have been recovered there, as well as obsidian tools that show Capraia’s inclusion in the route linking Corsica and Sardinia with the mainland. Subsequently, it is believed that the island was an Etruscan naval base and later a Roman centre to control the routes and keep out the Carthaginians. A column base, a bust of Venus and a marble sarcophagus have been recovered from the Church of the Assumption, indicating the probable existence of a sacred area. In late Antiquity, starting in the 4th century AD, Capraia was home to an anchorite Christian community which chose to live in total isolation, while the 5th century saw the arrival of Zenobite monks who introduced the cultivation of African vines and built the monastery of Santo Stefano. This community is the first to be recorded in written sources and must have enjoyed a certain fame if even Rutilio Namaziano mentions it in De Reditu suo of 416.
Il fascino di un’esperienza quasi mistica in una delle perle più isolate e selvagge dell’Arcipelago Toscano.
From the 9th century AD. Capraia was the scene of continuous clashes with pirates and was first abandoned for almost two centuries, then reoccupied alternately by Pisans and pirates until the battle of Meloria in 1284, which passed the island to under Genoese protection. From 1540 onwards, the Genoese built a defensive system consisting of the fortress of San Giorgio and three watchtowers.
From 1873 to 1986 the island was the site of a penal colony (Colonia Penale Agricola di Capraia), which caused a massive migration of the native population.
The Museum System in Capraia
The warrior’s return and other archaeological stories from Capraia