Isola di Montecristo: a wonderful source of literary inspiration

Isola di Montecristo: a wonderful source of literary inspiration


Situated in the Tuscan Archipelago, Montecristo island has inspired adventurous legends and it still remains a territory rich in mystery; perhaps so, because it is not easy to reach and visit.

The island was the source of inspiration for Le Comte de Monte-Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Wild and silent, it was the perfect scenery for the intricate plot of this famous literary masterpiece.

Montecristo's ground is mountainous and it is almost entirely made up of pink granite. Some old buildings are situated in the Cala Maestra and they were used in the past as branches for Pianosa's prison. Due to the absence of man, the island is an amazing cradle for wildlife. Plants, trees and animals live undisturbed on the island, which hosts two famous local types of fauna: Montecristo's viper and a rare amphibian, the discoglosso sardo.

The most known places include Cala Maestra which is caracterized by its sandy floor and the XIX Royal Villa, la Villa Reale, including a botanic garden and a small museum of natural history. From Cala Maestra, a path leads to the Belvedere, Italian for panoramic viewpoint. As the name suggests, there is a breathtaking view from this place. Other creeks offer the lucky visitors beautiful sea scenery and the possibility to spot some birds' communities, along with marine fauna.

The access to the island is possible only under a special permit and it is usually issued for special purposes by the Ministry. Researchers, biologists and people working in the field of academia are usually those who are given the chance to explore the island. In fact landing, bathing, parking and anchorage around the so-called "area one" are not allowed. Therefore, access is restricted to a limited number of people per annum and under reservation.

Even if people don't have the opportunity to visit, they have always tried to imagine what  the island is like through the descriptions given by Dumas in the ' Conte di Montecristo'. The story  was based on the legendary existence of a  big treasure hidden into a cave. Some researchers maintain Dumas' treasure actually consisted of holy furniture and ancient objects, and that it was stolen by pirates headed by Dragut, a Turkish commander, three centuries before the book was even conceived.

The island of Montecristo is, at all effects, a desert island. It is inhabited only by the guardiano, the keeper, and his family. They live in a house and they get in touch with the external world through technological devices.

Unfortunately, this wonder of the world cannot be appreciated by the human eye, but it is also for this reason that curiosity around it has increased: the air of mystery surrounding the island can be breathed in even when nearby, at sea,  or this is at least what happened to me. A forbidden land which can only be discovered by few lucky ones: that is what the isola di Montecristo is.




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