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Isola d'Elba e Aecipelago Toscano
Cenni storici dell' Isola d'Elba Presentation
La  storia dell' Isola d'Elba History
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Isola d'Elba natura e ambiente Nature and environment
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GIGLIO >> Presentation
In comparison with Elba, this island could be considered tiny, but is instead the second largest island in the Tuscan archipelago and ideal for those who want to immerse completely into nature and peace that nowadays is hard to find at beach-resorts on Elba that are literally assaulted by tourists during high-season. Giglio's profile is mostly hilly and the central ridge of the island slopes softly towards the sea. With exception for the promontory del Franco, characterized by deep limestones, the island consists entirely of granite rocks and from its highest peak, Poggio della Pagana situated almost 500 meters above sea-level, you can enjoy an extraordinary view over the whole archipelago. Although the nature is mostly hilly there are still cultivated areas, especially in the vicinity of the area Campese, and on the del Santo, del Franco and della Fontuccia plains. Analogous to what happened on Elba, fires, sheep-farming and agricultural activities have caused the almost complete disappearance of high-tree woods that once covered the island but that today instead is clad with a luxuriant mantle of Mediterranean bush. Agriculture and fishing have ceased to be the substantial activities in the islands' economy as they have left space for tourism that now is the main spring for the inhabitants.
Traces from the presence of man on the island since pre-historical times have been found and it has been able to confirm that the Etruscans landed here and probably used it as a military outpost.
The islands period of glory is connected to the presence of the Roman aristocrat family Domizi Enobarbi that made it a fundamental marine junction for trade between the different provinces within the empire. Even today there are traces of this prosperous period at the Roman Villa that was the Enobarbi residence and in the many wrecks resting on the bottom close to Isola del Giglio's coasts. Later, the island was passed on to numerous lords and masters and kept on being the prey for pirates' raids, sometimes as terrible as those of Barbarossa who managed to literally raze it to the ground. On the 18:th of November in 1799, the raids on behalf of the pirates' and the Saracenes' were put to an end as the population beat the "Turchs" in a heroic battle that finally freed them and made them masters of their own land again. With that, a long period of peace started that encouraged economic activities, a demographic increase and also led to an intensification in mining. The granite caves, that had been explored already by the Romans, were re-opened and with that the exportation of the islands' most valuable materials that still today decorate some of ancient Rome's high-class mansions and numerous Italian basilicas. Today, without a doubt, what attracts tourists are the outstanding sea-beds. The original habitat has been safeguarded by an intelligent environmental protection program and continues to represent a true submerged treasure that every year attracts thousands of scuba-divers. Impressive granitic beds raise from the sandy bottoms and surround the coasts. Rock-faces are covered with sea-fans around which white breams, groupers, morays, corvines and sea-eels swim. The rocks that spring out from the sea-beds' sand form shoals teeming with life and you often see fish like dentex and flocks of tuna and barracuda. Passionates of under-water photographing will not have any problems finding exiting subjects for their shots. Definite protagonists of the islands' submarine set are the yellow, candelabrum-shaped sponges.For those who do not intend to submerge armed with tubes and video-cameras are instead offered coastlines variegated with reefs and dotted with coves and small sandy beaches protected from the wind. Arenella beach is picturesque and gives a romantic atmosphere, just as the small beaches Campese, Cala delle Cannelle and Cala delle Caldane. The tiny Cala del Saraceno, near Giglio harbor, is worth visiting for at least a couple of hours. Those who love walking in the nature or bird watching will find a wide range of possibilities to enjoy themselves on condition that they pack the right equipment in their suitcases and do not put themselves through trekking during the hottest hours, when the sun is pitiless on the rock-paths. Getting from Giglio Porto to Castello is an easy and short walk that takes about one and a half hour. You take on a to a mule-track close to the fork for Arenella along the road that connects the two localities. The track is immerged in the Mediterranean bush and runs along an Ilex grove that stretches from Pettaio to Vado di San Giorgio. Not much further on, a granite threshing floor allows you to enjoy a lovely view over Cala dell'Arenella, Caletta and Torre del Lazzaretto. Continuing along the path you get to the small square infront of the city-walls at Giglio Castello. From this locality, a road of intermediate difficulty starts that in about three hours takes you to Punta del Capel Rosso. You follow the panoramic road that goes from Castello, at Vado del Catinello you take on to a path and as you have surpassed Vado di Pietrabona, it runs along Poggio del Serrone and leaves you walking between vineyards and cultivated pines. The path continues to climb for about half hour and takes us to a panoramic point from where you can sight the sea and the outline of the island Giannutri. The lighthouse at Capel Rosso is situated just behind and from here the path starts to descend towards the southern cape of the island, marking a track immerged between rock-rose and broom bushes. The very same Punta del Capel Rosso can also be reached by taking on to a second path that also starts from the vicinity of Castello but takes on a much more demanding course that takes about six hours. It starts south of Castello, in the locality Le Porte, and as you surpass a small quarry, the path starts to descend and you surpass Cala delle Cannelle, Punta di Campo Marino and Cala della Caldane. After about a one hours walk you wander around the Castellucci crests and get to a saddle situated along the islands' hilly ridge. It is a true sanctuary for nature lovers and you can easily sight wild rabbits and buzzards. A fork on the right leads to Poggio Terneti from where the path descends into the bush until it reaches the granitic block called Poggio del Sasso Ritto. From here you get a lovely view over Cala delle Caldane, Cala delle Cannelle and Punta del Lazzaretto. After having enjoyed the panorama you take the fork for Mortoleto from where the path continues, running along some vineyards and nowadays abandoned terraces until it becomes more narrow and reaches the lighthouse at Punta di Capel Rosso. On the right hand of the lighthouse you come on to a flight of steps that have been carved in the granite and that lead to the sea, above Cala Saracinesca and behind Giannutri and Argentario.

Photos from APT Grosseto and Mediaweb srl.
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