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Photo ©Shutterstock / Claudiovidri

A walk through the history and nature of the island of silence

Pianosa, hiking in the green and blue paradise

From Porticciolo to the Villa of Agrippa Postumus
Pianosa, the port
Pianosa, the port - Credit: Shutterstock / Marco Saracco

This is one of the most famous hikes on the island, an easy walk along the coast, amidst the colours and fragrances of the Mediterranean scrub, leading to Pianosa’s northern promontory. During the walk, the guide will point out the historic sedimentation that characterizes the island, along with the most important aspects of its nature. The hike begins at the port, from where visitors can reach the town via a brief, straight road to the courtyard just before the church, at the entrance to the penal farming colony. Once beyond the tall border wall that separates the town from the prison area, take the sunny road that starts off running along the wall before branching off toward the coast, reaching the ruins of the Villa of Agrippa Postumus. Walk through the ruins of the villa, where Agrippa was sent in exile between 7 and 14 BCE by Augustus. The emperor that had adopted him did so because he favoured Tiberius as his replacement, and exiling Agrippa would eliminate his rival. Out of the ancient buildings that were originally paved with black and white mosaics and embellished with decorations of mythological sea creatures, only the ruins of a small theatre, the thermal baths, the reception hall, two nymphaea and a terrace overlooking the bay are all that remain. These are the areas that, according to Roman historians, Agrippa preferred, where he would fish and hang out in front of the sea.

second leg
From the Villa of Agrippa Postumus to the port
Pianosa, the outer walls of the Casa del Marchese
Pianosa, the outer walls of the Casa del Marchese - Credit: Shutterstock / Stefano Cellai

Leave the archeological ruins and the history of Agrippa behind as we continue the hike alongside the sea. While walking, observe the large amount of posidonia on the banks, carrying out the important role of containing the sand. Resting on the rocks off the coast, we can see some cormorants, while the route continues to move inland, reaching the ruins of the Casa del Marchese, known as the Convalescenziario (convalescent home in English). True to its name, this was where sick prisoners, particularly those suffering from tuberculosis, spent time recovering, and, for preventive measures, it was decided to use the building furthest from the port. After a short while, we’ll come across another beautiful cove, boasting a thousand shades of colour. What today is a beautiful landscape, for the Ancient Romans must have been “a deceiver for explorers,” a landing point that was anything but peaceful and safe, as the amphorae discovered here tell us. The seabed is often low along the coast, making Pianosa difficult to dock at. Back in the town, after a restorative break, visit the exhibition that recounts the history of Pianosa, its settlement and the penal colony. Before returning to the port, take a walk through the ghost town, with streets named after people tied to the fight against the mafia.

Art and Culture