Pianosa is an island with an exceptional morphology, similar to an atoll, whose highest point above sea level is 29 metres. Geographically, it is 14 km south-southwest of Elba, 27 km from Montecristo and 40 km from Corsica. Its surface area is only 10.2 square kilometres, making it the fifth largest island in the archipelago.
The first evidence of human habitation dates back to the Neolithic period, when the island was in the right position to act as a stopping point along the route that brought Sardinian obsidian to the Tyrrhenian coast. The island also flourished during the Roman period, when it was chosen as a place of exile by Postumius Agrippa, nephew of Augustus and owner of the large maritime residential complex that is still partly visible.
Una giornata a Pianosa equivale ad un’esperienza fuori dal tempo e dallo spazio, godendo di una pace paradisiaca.
Its peculiar conformation must have led Pianosa to be chosen as one of the first early Christian centres on the islands of the Archipelago, the only one of all to have a complex of catacombs dating back to the early 4th century AD and now located near the small, partially abandoned village. The history of Pianosa continued when Pisa tried to build a settlement there, but it was raided and razed to the ground in the 16th century, as the lack of natural high ground made it difficult to defend against pirates. In more recent times, the island was used as a maximum-security prison, and was divided between the agricultural areas, used by the prisoners, and a small village used to house staff: this division continued until the prison was closed in 1998 and, since 1999, guided excursions of the island have been possible.