From La Spezia, Tuscan or Corsican coasts, Capraia is always an ideal beautiful destination. Here, the arrival is always exciting: the island is there, in the middle of nowhere, with its sheer coasts and its wonderful landscape, sometimes bare sometimes green.
The inhabitants of Capraia are both islanders and Tuscans, an interesting mixture of smartness, congeniality and inflexibility, matured over long winters of isolation, storms and rare but violent north-east wind.
The first time I came here, boats moored in droves, even up to the third row, but I’ve never seen anyone fighting when, in the morning, there were tons of chains, inevitably tangled one another, to unravel.
Then, there was the harbour and, with it, Sonia, a strong frank woman, the real soul of this wonderful dock. In 2006, it was the turn of the multi-buoy mooring berth which, located just before the harbour entrance, give a safe landing place to other 40 boats up to 20 metres in length. Like in Corsica, boats can enter it from 01:30 pm on in the order they came and they lose their stop right if they abandon the dock.
But if you want to discover the real Capraia, we suggest to avoid August, when the 240 berths in both the harbour and the multi-buoy mooring terminal are literally overwhelmed by requests even five times higher than their real capacity.
In August, the small village, its inhabitants and Sonia’s mood suffer an enormous strain, so it’s better to choose one of the three “safe” roadsteads of the island: Cala del Vecchio Porto ( Bay of the Old Harbour), the roadstead near the multi-buoy mooring berth (to be avoided in August) and Cala del Ceppo, the most beautiful one, at least for me. Cala Rossa is a good solution only when weather is good or for a bath.
If, on the contrary, you come here in July or September, you will discover the real face of the island and its inhabitants, including the “fearsome” Sonia Severi, a very quiet person on the contrary who, off season, smiles and spends her time in chatting with yachtmen.
Capraia also belongs to the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, a protected area founded in 1996 which includes the islands of Gorgona, Elba, Pianosa, Giglio, Giannutri and Montecristo. The whole area forms the biggest marine park of Europe which aims to preserve the Tuscan Archipelago’s beauty and heritage.
Sonia Severi, Director of Marina di Capraia
Zone 1: located on the western coast of the island, it is a totally protected area, where the following activities are strictly forbidden: visitor tours, fishing, diving with self-contained breathing apparatus, deterioration of the environment, emission of pollutants and waste, navigation, access, stop and anchorage of boats except for residents or authorised people.
Zone 2: made up of the remaining part of the island’s coasts, except for the Municipality of Capraia, whose area is excluded from the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, this is a protected zone where recreational fishing (with fishing or trawl line) and the extraction of sea urchins is allowed to residents, householders and citizens who stay on the island for at least seven consecutive days and have a fishing permit. On the contrary, it is forbidden: to damage and/or disturb wildlife and spontaneous vegetation, to introduce not native plants or animals, to collect material of geological interest, to use motorized means, to access to colonial nesting sites for marine birds, to fish (except for authorised residents), to camp free.
Zone 3: coastal zone of the harbour and the municipality of Capraia, excluded from the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.
Another usufel website is Isoladicapraia.it
Well, we let you enjoy the beauty of the island through the following pictures.
All photos are by Zeybel Casanova Baruh.