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The island of prisoners serving life sentences
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The island of prisoners serving life sentences

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The island of prisoners serving life sentences

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Livorno, Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 42.58477°N / 10.07603°E

Date Ridden: Aug 14, 2005 12:00 am

Activities: Cross Country

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall


Page By: chaberton

Created/Edited: Jun 21, 2013 / Jun 21, 2013

Object ID: 287356

Hits: 3215 

Page Score: 74.01%  - 4 Votes 

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The island of Pianosa is part of the Tuscan archipelago and is located south west of the island of Elba, is 14 km from Marina di Campo, 26 km from Montecristo has a triangular shape and grows to a maximum width of about 4.6 km and a length of just over 5.7 km (area: 10.25 square kilometers, coastal development: 26 Km)

We live in the prison service workers resigned; hosted a maximum security prison until 1998, so each access and chance to visit were foreclosed.

Its inaccessibility has ensured the preservation of an environment of exceptional interest and scientific importance.

The Island

Getting There

Getting There.
To achieve Pianosa you need to get to the island of Elba and embark from Marina di Campo in the morning (from 9 to 10).

A shuttle service is available from Portoferraio Marina di Campo.

Hotel Pianosa

The ancient fortress, today Hotel.
Pianosa Fortress & Hotel
Since 2011 (July) that it is possible to stay overnight on the island of Pianosa, in the small hotel run by Cooperativa Sociale San Giacomo.

It is possible to visit the country, but also to decide, every day, what kind of excursions do, these fields must be accompanied by licensed guides by the Park. We regularly organize guided tours and excursions with sports activities (hiking, in moubntain biking, sea kayaking). It 'also possible to perform a guided tour of the country (including Catacombs).

There are few hotel rooms Pianosa, a living room in silence and a little out of time. A beach, sea and nature and nothing else.

The decor of the rooms is basic but decent, have a bathroom (no TV, no mini-bar). Mobile phones with card TIM take almost all over the island, while those with the card WIND, VODAFONE, TRE and in some areas are not covered by the telephone network.


Called Planasia by the Romans, the island is morphologically a sub horizontal platform that emerges from the sea with vertical limestone coast. Due to its geological origin of the island is a flat sedimentary rock formation consists of organogenic limestones and accumulation cochiliferi well as flaps marnoargillosi of Pliocene and Miocene age having a thickness of about 18 meters, interspersed with layers of travertine more compact and homogeneous. The permeable substrate and the absence of reliefs explain the lack of a lattice surface water.

The water that comes from France.
The Phoenician Source
Water is life!
Water is Life

About 20,000 years ago, the island was connected to the Elbe and the Italian mainland, as evidenced by the discovery of bones of cave bear, horse, ox or deer, of course, had to graze in these areas before the sea insulate them.

Inhabited since prehistoric times, and which later became a Roman colony, was a place of exile for Marcus Agrippa, grandson of Augustus (I am witness to the remains of the beautiful spa complex of the Roman villa).

The ancient Roman fish ponds.
The Roman Fishponds

Towards the end of the fourth century A.D. Pianosa was inhabited by an early Christian community. The site catacombs, which testifies to this period, is the largest found in the north of Rome.

In the Middle Ages the island was at the center of battles between Genoa and Pisa and at the end of the fourteenth century came under the rule of the nobles of Piombino Appiani which began a process of restocking tragically interrupted by the pirate raids, which culminated in 1553 with the destruction of the country and the deportation of the population.

In 1814 Napoleon, the ruler of Elba and Pianosa, visited the island, defining the possible developments.

Later in 1856 it became an agricultural penal colony and under the direction of Leopold Ponticelli outlined the present appearance of the country.

During the "years of lead" was established on the island a maximum security prison, "Agrippa branch or 41 bis", which remained in operation until the summer of 1997 and General CA From the church erected the wall that separates the country from the rest of the island.

Main architectural and natural wonders.

Baths of Agrippa: Important Roman thermal baths dating from around the first century. A.D. Located by the sea, at the northern end of Cala Giovanna, takes its name from Agrippa exiled on the island and murdered here in 14 AD the death of the Emperor Augustus, to ensure the succession to Tiberius. Within the complex there is a small theater, a fish pond and a swimming pool as well as countless marine environments for entertainment and spa functions.

The Beach and the Giovanni Falcone Wall!
Agrippa Thermae

The country: The present appearance of the town is linked, mainly, to the period from the early nineteenth century to the present. Merli, pointed windows and other embellishments of medieval taste matched with oriental motifs and Renaissance are attributed to the will of the director Jumpers, intelligent and sensitive man who had understood the fundamental importance of the built environment on man, he wrote: "... Also the houses have given an entirely different appearance than the one of a prison, and the quiet that prevails and harmony that is found in every service every visitor pleasantly surprised ... "

The Penal Colony Harbor.
The Harbor
The Village.
The Village

The Fort The tray: Napoleon Bonaparte, exiled to Elba in 1814, he decided to take advantage of Pianosa and make it become the granary of the Elbe. The main aim was to ensure the island a military defense, building a platform for cannons and a barracks, and then populate it and cultivate it. The fort The tray with the platform and the barracks, built on a spur of rock that closes the port, is the testimony of this period. Later the fort was expanded, under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and completed much later by Ponticelli.

The ancient fortress, today Hotel.
Napoleonic Fortress

The Marquis: Imposing structure located at the north end of the island. Bridges built by the director in the 1880s, was one of the first prison sectors. The facade, towers and crenellated walls are similar decorative with some buildings in the country. Used as a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, around 1900 it was used, in part, to Bacteriological Center of the University of Rome.

The Penal Colony

The prison was established as a penal colony in 1858 and this was perhaps the salvation of this natural heritage, the island was used to crops and livestock, the prisoners were divided into various buildings, the town was separated from the rest of the island .

In 1979, he was made the maximum security section that housed inmates in section 41a Agrippa, was also built another wall that is called from the church.

In 1997, the maximum security prison was finally closed, the country is currently uninhabited island there are about twenty inmates placed on probation and are concerned with the renovation of several buildings and to manage the small restaurant bar "galley kitchen" and the guest Pertini - Caponnetto.

External Links

Pianosa Association

Very beautiful Video: The History of BERTO (it's not Me).
The story of a chick Berta Maggiore (I recommend you see all)



Getting There.The Roman harbor.The Penal Colony Harbor.The water that comes from France.Water is life!The palace of the Marquis.The Island
turquoise!The ancient fortress, today Hotel.The Village.The Beach and the Giovanni Falcone Wall!The ancient Roman fish ponds.


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