Area: 19 km2
Location: Tyrrhenian Sea, off the Tuscan coast
Number of inhabitants:
Seasonal: 360 in the touristic season
Protected island: yes
Terrestrial protection status: 80% of the island are part of the heart of the Tuscan archipelago National Park and are classified as a Special Protection Zone
Marine protection status: 80% of the boundary waters are part of the Tuscan archipelago National Park
Third island in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park and the furthest from the Italian mainland, Capraia is closer to Cap Corse than to Italy. It is the only island of volcanic origin in the Park. It has great biological richness, due to the large non-urbanized area of the island. The people of Capraia make a living from tourism, fishing, traditional agriculture and aquaculture.
Capraia is the third island of the Tuscan archipelago in terms of area (after Elbe and Giglio). This island is located in the Ligurian Sea, 15 nautical miles from Cap Corse and 30 from the Italian coast, it culminates at more than 400 m above sea level.
Bushy Mediterranean vegetation (maquis) and a few trees (maritime pine and oak) cover most of this island of volcanic origin.
Access to the island was forbidden until 1986 because it housed a prison. The prisoners cultivated the land there. This prison, now in ruins, is located in the north of the island. It can be reached on foot from the port. The terraces and irrigation systems used at the time have been abandoned and their condition is deteriorating.
We note the presence of several Genoese towers scattered over the island and more or less maintained. The tower closest to the village serves as an exhibition space for an island artist.
Capraia lives mainly from summer tourism (boaters and hikers) but fishing and aquaculture still hold an important place in the local economy. There is a fish farm, which employs around ten people a year.
Most consumer products are imported from Livorno via ferries. Some residents visit the mainland on a weekly or monthly basis. Several families live on the island and children can attend school there up to the age of 14.
Only two areas are urbanized (the port and the village) and represent less than 10% of the surface of the island. Agriculture is not very present today: there are two small plots of vines, and a farm with a few cows. Almost 90% of the territory is thus a natural space.
The seabed surrounding Capraia are mainly Posidonia meadows and submerged rocks. The island is a nesting area for rare bird species such as the crested cormorant (Phalcrocorax aristotelis desmarestii), Audouin’s gull (Larus audouinii), gray shearwater (calonectris diomedea), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus ), two species of warblers (Sylvia sarda and Sylvia conspicillata) and the Mountain Venturon (Serinus citrinella corsicana).
Capraia is also home to two endangered species of reptiles: Phyllodactilus europaeus and Hyla sarda (endemic species of Corsica, Elbe and Capraia).
Despite a very preserved natural area due to the island’s low urbanization and agricultural decline, waste management, energy and heritage development remain important issues for Capraia.
The island’s remoteness from the mainland is a challenge for the autonomous and sustainable management of energy and waste. This is why, within the framework of the ISOS project, two major actions were initiated: a feasibility study for energy savings by replacing public light points with low consumption systems; and the pilot installation of structures for solar power generation.
In this same project, an awareness campaign on selective sorting of waste will also be carried out. The historical heritage of the island’s grape presses is in poor condition and must be restored in order to be preserved and enhanced.