Pianosa: Paradise in the Tuscan Archipelago and How to Reach It

Nestled in the heart of the Tuscan Archipelago, Pianosa is a small, flat island that boasts a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and strict environmental protections. Unlike its more famous neighbors, such as Elba and Giglio, Pianosa is less frequented by tourists, offering a serene and untouched landscape that feels worlds away from the bustling mainland. This article explores the allure of Pianosa and provides detailed insights into how you can embark on an adventure to this secluded paradise.

The Enchantment of Pianosa

Pianosa’s charm lies not just in its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, but also in its fascinating history. Once home to a maximum-security prison, the island has stories of infamous inmates and daring escapes, adding a layer of intrigue to its peaceful appearance. Today, the prison stands abandoned, and nature has largely reclaimed the land, turning it into a haven for biodiversity.

The island is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, Italy’s largest marine park, which ensures the protection of its unique flora and fauna. Visitors to Pianosa can enjoy hiking through its untouched landscapes, snorkeling in its protected waters, and exploring the remnants of its ancient Roman villas and early Christian catacombs.

How to Reach Pianosa

Reaching Pianosa requires a bit more effort than visiting other islands in the Tuscan Archipelago, primarily due to the strict regulations in place to protect its delicate ecosystem. However, the journey is well worth it for the unparalleled tranquility and beauty that await.

Pay attention that if you are without authorized guide, you can ONLY stay on the one beach permitted.

If you have authorized guide, you can also visit the little town, know the special history of island, know the story of its prison, visit catacombs, do snorkeling, walk on the secret nature of the island etc.

From the Mainland

The most common way to reach Pianosa is from the Tuscan mainland, specifically from the port towns of Piombino. It depends on the period of the year.

From Elba

Once on Elba, the town of Marina di Campo is your next stop. Here, you’ll find authorized boat services that offer day trips to Pianosa.

Planning Your Visit

It’s important to note that visits to the island are strictly controlled to minimize environmental impact, and all trips must be booked in advance through these authorized operators.

Due to the environmental protections in place, visiting Pianosa requires some planning. Here are key considerations to ensure a smooth and respectful visit:

  • Book in Advance: Space on boats to Pianosa is limited, and all visits must be booked ahead of time. During the high season, it’s advisable to make reservations well in advance to secure your spot.
  • Check the Schedule: Boat services to Pianosa are not daily and can be affected by weather conditions. Always check the schedule and communicate with the boat operator a day before your trip to confirm departure times.
  • Guided Tours: To protect the island’s ecosystem, visitors are only allowed in certain areas and must be accompanied by authorized guides. These guided tours offer a wealth of information about the island’s history, flora, and fauna, enhancing the experience.
  • Pack Wisely: There are limited facilities on Pianosa, so bring everything you need for the day, including water, sun protection, and snacks. However, remember to leave no trace behind to help preserve the island’s natural beauty.

What to Do on Pianosa

Despite its small size, Pianosa offers a range of activities for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Here are some highlights:

  • Hiking: Explore the island’s trails to discover its diverse landscapes, from Mediterranean scrub to coastal cliffs. The hike to the Cala Giovanna beach is particularly rewarding, offering stunning sea views. Hike on Pianosa is for anyone.
  • Snorkeling and Diving: The waters around Pianosa are part of a marine protected area, offering some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Tuscan Archipelago. The clear waters are home to a vibrant array of marine life.
  • Historical Sites: Visit the abandoned prison for a glimpse into the island’s past. The ruins of a Roman villa and the early Christian catacombs are also must-see sites, offering a window into ancient life on the island.


Pianosa is a testament to the beauty and resilience of nature, offering a rare glimpse into an untouched Mediterranean paradise. Its combination of natural wonders and intriguing history makes it a unique destination within the Tuscan Archipelago. By respecting the island’s environmental protections and planning your visit with care, you can experience the serene beauty and rich heritage of Pianosa. Whether you’re hiking its rugged trails, snorkeling in its azure waters, or exploring its historical ruins, a trip to Pianosa is an unforgettable adventure into one of Italy’s most protected and pristine landscapes.

Reserve Pianosa with expert guide and organization