Montecristo, the legendary island that floats on the cloads

The legendary treasure, the enchanted cave, the holy hermits, the secular orders and of course, the pirates… These are just some of the adventures waiting for you on the Island of Montecristo. Shrouded in legend, this island has amazingly well preserved historical and natural treasures that will leave you breathless.

The Island of Montecristo was became famous thanks to the novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This novel revolves around a huge, mysterious treasure guarded by monks. While the treasure has never been found, the novel accentuates the unique sounds, colors, and legends of this mysterious and beautiful island.

Take a trip to the Island of Montecristo in search of treasure. You can arrive by sailboat, and the conical shape of the island, almost like a pyramid, will greet you imposingly on the horizon. Montecristo will stand before you and her presence will never leave you, confirming her legendary powers. On particularly misty days, the silhouette of the island appears to be floating on a bed of clouds above the sea. If you love the sea, Montecristo is the place for you. Before arrival, make sure to equip yourself with a great camera so you can capture the beauty of this unique Mediterranean island. Just getting to Montecristo is a real achievement, as the island itself is a protected nature preserve and you need a permit to step foot on it.

As you see the island for the first time from a few miles away, her austere beauty will overwhelm you. It is a natural fortress, characterized by smooth white granite walls that are arranged into wedges overlooking the sea. The only landing port is Cala Maestra. Montecristo Island was a popular stopping point of pirates. In most cases, they stopped for the famous “acquata,” or holy water, which was taken in respect for the Monastery of San Mamiliano. However, on August 7th 1553, Dragut, the terrible Turkish-Barbaresco tyrant, attacked the monastery and completely destroyed it. The islander monks, who had lived on the island for more than a thousand years, permanently abandoned their home. Halfway up the mountain from Cala Maestra you can still admire the imposing ruins of the abbey. Even further up you will find the legendary Grotta Del Santo, or “Cave of the Saint.”

Since then, the Island of Montecristo remained uninhabited for nearly three centuries. Finally, in 1852, the English Lord George Watson Taylor bought it and transformed the area of Cala Maestra into a luxury village. He built a gorgeous home for himself with a lovely park and garden, which later became the Royal Villa. This eccentric nobleman – according to the gossip – lived here for eight years with his young French bride. Legend has it that he was obsessive and jealous of her. Surely, the complete isolation of Montecristo was the solution to his jealousy regarding his beautiful young wife. In 1869, Lord Taylor sold the little island to the Kingdom of Italy.

Immerse yourself in thousands of years of prayer. The Grotta del Santo (Cave of the Saint) is a very holy place not far from the Monastery of San Mamiliano. You can still feel the tangible spirituality and devotion of the hermit monks. Poor and helpless by themselves, as a collective they were real and powerful. The Abbey was wealthy; it even owned land in Corsica and on the European continent. The existence of a treasure, which is still spoken of but has never been found, is not far fetched.

The island of Montecristo has a circumference of 16 km and is 645 meters high at its tallest point: Monte Fortress. It is 40 km from Elba, Corsica and the Tuscan coast and is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. The island itself belongs to the municipality of Portoferraio.

A bit more information: The Island of Montecristo is a truly precious gem, carefully preserved in its natural wealth. So, how do you get to the island of Montecristo? In order to access the island you must obtain a permit from the State Forestry Territorial Office for Biodiversity of Follonica (Gr). Their contact info is as follos: tel. +39 0566 40019 - email utb.follonica@corpoforestale.it. They will give you all needed information including a Montecristo hotel and other travel arrangements.

If you love adventure and mystery, Montecristo awaits! We wish you a great climb to the top!