The Cala Rossa in Capraia, a wound in lava

Cala Rossa di Capraia, Livorno

“Sailing on you can see Capraia, a wild island where men go to escape light”: this evocative description was given by Claudius Rutilius Namatianus, a 5th-century Roman poet who in his unfinished “De reditu suo” recounted his journey from Rome to his hometown in Gaul (the poem actually only gets to Luni).

The men he mentioned were the cenobites and Christian monks who settled in the volcanic island of the Tuscan Archipelago starting in the 4th century.

Perhaps they chose Capraia exactly for its hostile appearance – with mountains and no sandy beaches, but mostly rocky coastlines that dive down into the sea – and for the distance that separates it from the mainland.

Southern Capraia is dominated by the tip of the Zenòbito, a volcano whose activity – five million years ago – left its mark with many “wounds” on the island, such as the bleeding wound on its eastern side, the Cala Rossa (Red Bay) portrayed in our gallery.

Here is a taste of this beautiful view, which just like Namatianus we can enjoy only from the sea.

©Rodriguez, ©Simone Faini

March 3, 2017

The Cala Rossa in Capraia, a wound in lava