Protected from the prison for 142 years, the penal colony built in the nineteenth century had been turned into a maximum security prison with a consequent prohibition of landing except by special permission of the Ministry of the Interior or for good cause due to navigation, such as on-board failure or heavy seas.
Since 2011, the prison has ceased the school activities and ended the absolute prohibition of landing that precluded tourism on the island.
In the former house of the prison director he was made a small hotel, where they can stay a few tourists, managed by volunteers and detained in regime of semi-liberty in the Porto Azzurro prison, which together with the volunteers themselves, are the island's population.
Tourists, in limited numbers, can get to the island, and possibly stay at the hotel, with a ferry that leaves every morning from Elba island and performs the return stroke every night.
The island is flat but also a unique resource: meadows of Poseidonia, a real "nursery" of the ichthyic fauna of the high Tyrrhenian sea , the most important catacombs to the north of Rome, the roman villa of Agrippa, the sanatorium of Punta Marchese where also Sandro Pertini was banished, a rich fauna and flora with many rarities due also to the isolated evolution and to an extraordinary migratory flow.
The prison moreover, with its potentials, is a modern monument of the history of our land which goes from the robbers of the Maremma to the Austrian prisoners and includes the years of the terrorism and the slaughters of the Mafia.
The wall which splits the island , was built in the 1978 and it is a historic proof too. Unfortunately in the closed area there are the bays and the most beautiful cliffs of the all Tuscan archipelago.
Pianosa is the only tuscan island composed of sedimentary rocks.
Thanks to its calcareous nature and to its level ground it has been cultivated since the ancient times. It belonged to the Romans and Augustus banished there his nephew Postumio Marco Giulio Agrippa who was killed.
In the cave of S. Giovanni you can see still today the ruins of Agrippa's villa.
The island in spite of its rough and rugged coastline changes gradually its landscape into a quite and flat ground: cactus, olive-trees, agave, mild climate, corn and barleyfields.
The depths of Pianosa are shallow and deepen gently , the bathymetry of minus 50 is reached on average at about 1500m from the coast.
The island is included in the national park of the Tuscan archipelago ( http://www.islepark.it ).
The navigation and the fishing are not allowed within the radius of 1 mile. The admission is referred to a permission issued by the direction of the park.
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