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4 min.

Capraia, a small paradise for sailors

Capraia is a volcanic island in the Channel of Corsica, the least populated of the country. Its rocky coasts hide caves and coves eroded by the sea and inaccessible by land.

La Sagra del Totano a Capraia

The first time I got there it was July and the heat was stifling. While sailing under the sun and with the crosswind from the Tuscan coast I only felt the scent of salty water, but nearing the coast in a flash the scent changed … a powerful scent of the Mediterranean maquis, myrtle, rosemary, land and who knows what else, it was amazing how that small and large rock of Capraia could manifest itself in that way, an oasis of land in the sea.

The Squid Festival in Capraia

Another thing is to sail to Capraia between the months of October and November, but, surprisingly, no less fascinating! Who embarks on this season usually does it to take part in the Squid Festival , a classic that melts passion for the sea, food and wine.

Last winter the sailing association to which I belong, Vento in Poppa, formed a crew of habitués of the event, and I signed up without hesitation. On Thursday I then embarked in Piombino with the great “group of the squid feast”: Marcone, Davidone, Ga, Pippo, Mame and two twins friends of Marcone and we raised the moorings heading to Capraia.

La sagra del totano a Capraia

Just a mile outside Piombino, ready and equipped to the teeth, we started fishing while sailing towards Capraia, but got not a fish … Nothing, not even a small one to cook for dinner. In return we discovered how a reel for deep sea it’s done because we dismounted one to fix it 😉 We sang, hoisted and set the sails, told anecdotes and snippets of life, in short, we enjoyed sailing all together.

Sagra del totano a Capraia

Sailing along the Tuscan archipelago gives the impression of being in a giant lake with Elba, Corse, Capraia and Gorgona all close together in a small stretch of water – often busy – where is not impossible to spot cetaceans as large as whales and sperm whales. A wonderful sailing leading from mainland to the island that was under the Republic of Genoa.

This year the Squid Festival was more popular than ever and we counted seventy sailboats moored in between the harbor and the bay and that in itself is worth the trip!

La Sagra del Totano a Capraia

On the island there are no specific activities so the best advice is to simply enjoy Capraia! Here you can enjoy the harbor life or stroll through the narrow streets of the village up on a hill. Everything is small and beautiful to the eye and the spirit: the houses, the landscape, the well-known scent of the island, also the Tuscans, pure and forthright.

To me islands make a special effect … small places, but huge for what they represent. I imagine them like in adventure novels, emerging from an ancient volcano and with a Captain Nemo nearby.

La Sagra del Totano a Capraia

The Squid Festival of Capraia is a small village festival, enlivened by lots of people who want to visit the island, try a not easy kind of fishing, sail and enjoy the sea.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and as usual we ate anolini broth (handmade pasta typical of the Parma region) brought specially from our Parma to celebrate, over the navigation, even the arrival of autumn and then what’s better than a soup with homemade anolini ? 😉

After dinner we disembarked to take part in a great party in the only bar of the island we known, in a wonderful atmosphere that brought together a bit all the crews around whose only goal was to party and maybe let go with a little of rum. Sailors stuff!

La sagra del totano a Capraia

The next day gave us a pretty lucky fishing. A good wind allowed us to sail around the island and to draw a fair amount of tombarelli (a sort of small tuna not valuable, but such a good meat) and the still mild climate has favored a long bath in the sea, in November! A nice swimming break in a blue and fresh sea… very special.

La sagra del totano a Capraia

Upon our arrival back to the pier our friends, especially the legendary Mr. Profumo and his wife Elena, were waiting to welcome us in order to begin an extraordinary evening cooking and eating together our fish. We organized a sort of festival in the festival, because every passerby stopped by to have a seat at our long table 🙂

We left calmly, on Monday morning. I do not have photos of the way back though as we were quite busy with a stormy sea and heavy rain… we got to Piombino wet and cold!

La Sagra del Totano a Capraia

Useful info

  • The port of Capraia is enclosed in between the North Pier, quay and entirely suitable for docking and the South one which instead you can not dock.
  • The entry into the port is allowed from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, with a maximum speed of 3 knots and prior telephone contact with Sonia. You can call her at +39 338 3744102 and arrange with her. She runs a little bit of everything … I would say she has less power of a mayor of the island, but a bit more than the president of the Tourist Info Point.
  • Watch out for the reefs Chiapparelle, in front of Punta tray (Lat. 43 ° 04 ‘, 46N – Long. 009 ° 49’, 69E)
  • For more information and practical advice about life on board, I recommend this post: Life on a sailing boat.

 

Capraia is amazing regardless of the season in which you visit it, an essential stage in this area, with the charm of its history, with its smells, its people and its being a great little island.

Ah, as I write (late I know) some of us are in Capraia …

Fair winds (and calm seas)!

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.