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Along the Tuscan coast

By boat, from Marina di Pisa to Cala Galera, along the Etruscan Route

Boat route
2 days
Number of Stages

"Let Capraia and Gorgona move, and hedge the Arno at its mouth (...)" The lofty verses of Dante Alighieri, in the third-to-last and penultimate canto of the Inferno of his 'Comedia', echo here, where the Arno kisses the waters of the last strip of the Ligurian Sea that is about to become Tyrrhenian and embraces those coming from the north, leaving the Golfo dei Poeti behind. Infernal is the story that the 'great Poet' narrates in those verses, of the Count Ugolino della Gherardesca, a rich dynasty that has been perpetuating itself for nine centuries and has marked the boundaries of this piece of sea with its exploits. Dante places him in the ninth circle, where the traitors of the homeland are to be found. In these fascinating places, we propose a two-day itinerary, to be spent in a boat along the coast of Tuscany with stops at some of the most beautiful islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea following the ancient routes trodden by the Etruscans.

Day 1

Elba Island

Elba Island

The starting point for our sea adventure, discovering the wonders of nature and history, is just a few kilometres from the famous Piazza dei Miracoli with its Tower. It sails from Marina di Pisa passing through the last few metres of Bocca d'Arno, pushed a little to the west, it turns 90° to head for Livorno. We have not been more than 10 miles away, yet already one can feel a strong energy of the great story running under the keel. Marina di Pisa was the outlet of Pisa Maritime Republic. Bocca d'Arno was intercepted, and the Medici took arms and baggage to Livorno, giving safe conduct with the Livornina constitution to anyone who populated that rock in the middle of the marsh.

In Livorno , you can enter the Medicean port guided by the Shiplight, one of the most powerful lighthouses in the Mediterranean. If you prefer to take a break, this is a good time. Otherwise, you can get back on the road to the island of Gorgona, taking care to go beyond the Secche della Meloria, the lighthouse that signals and the tower of Pisa, because this is another place where history speaks in silence. Here, on 6 August 1284, Genoa and Pisa, two maritime powers that controlled the western Mediterranean, clashed in a fierce battle. The Genoese won. For those who love the sea, those events tell a true tale, whose protagonists are Alberto Morosini, Oberto Doria, Benedetto Zaccaria and Ugolino della Gherardesca himself. An exciting story, to be discovered during these days of 'marine adventure', and an even more fascinating and remote one comes to you as you sail south, into the waters of the Etruscans. At Meloria, you can decide to pull a westerly tack and, after 21 miles, you will find yourself in front of the island of Gorgona. From there, 25 miles south-west to reach the small island of Capraia, the only volcanic island in the archipelago where we recommend a stop to admire the spectacular landscape and see the monk seals, an endangered species.

Continue south-east for another 15 miles to find yourself at Portoferraio, the first Municipality of Elba where Napoleon Bonaparte reigned for 300 days, from 3 May 1814 - the day he boarded the English frigate 'Undaunted' - to 26 February 1815. Elba is an absolute marvel, and circumnavigating it is an unparalleled thrill. This concludes the first leg of this two-day itinerary.

Day 2

Cala Galera

Cala Galera

After discovering the wonders of Elba, why not head off to Pianosa. As this is a protected island, mooring is not allowed, although you can admire the beautiful coastline before heading south-east towards Castiglione della Pescaia, in the Maremma region around Grosseto. With a little detour to the northeast, you can stop off in the enchanting Gulf of Baratti where you'll find out just how important the Etruscans were for developing maritime trade.

Returning northwards again, here are two great places to visit. First up is the port of San Vincenzo, the gateway to Bolgheri, land of sumptuous wines and the poetry of Giosuè Carducci, one of the famous sons of the proud and rugged region of Maremma . The other must-see destination is Castiglioncello, which overlooks the rocks between two coastal bays of enchanting beauty. Berthing is available at Cecina or Rosignano. Continuing southwards, after about 30 miles you'll come to Talamone. From here you can make a 260° detour for 16 miles to discover the pure enchantment of the island of Giglio; just 2 miles away is Giannutri, a little island with a wild and rocky coastline that was a favourite with the Patricians, the Etruscans and then the Romans. Turning northeast for 12 miles you come to the main destination of this itinerary: Cala Galera, from where you can enjoy stunning sunsets over the sea of the Etruscans.

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