#1 Top Location!
You’ll be right in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. The Capraia Rock Trail takes place on one of Italy’s remotest islands, Capraia. A wild and beautiful island which is bound to both captivate and fire your imagination.
Capraia is the only island in the Tuscan Archipelago that is of volcanic origin. The other islands that make up Italy’s Tuscan Archipelago National Park are Elba, Giglio, Giannutri, Pianosa, Montecristo and Gorgona.
Capraia island has quite an interesting and varied past having been raided by Saracen Pirates and also coming under rule of various kingdoms, republics and countries, even briefly by the British under Nelson in 1796.
The island of Capraia is located about 64 km from Livorno, 42 km from the island of Elba, and 31 km from Corsica. It takes a 2 and three quarter ferry journey from Livorno in Tuscany to get to.
#2 Robinson Crusoe effect
If you’re looking for several days of near isolation, the Capraia Rock Trail is right for you.
With a true Mediterranean feel to it, the island is largely uninhabited, and with only between 300 to 400 people living there and only about 75 full time residents, it won’t feel crowded. There’s no dentist, hairdresser or cinema’s, but there are some small shops, bars and restaurants, a chemist and a doctor. The Capraia Rock Trail takes place in March, which is low season, so many of the islands second homes will be empty, meaning that you’ll have the idea of an island all to yourself.
#3 Technical race course
There are two distances to choose from in the Capraia Rock Trail, 24km and 14km.
If you think that the relatively short distances will be a gentle trot, you will be in for a surprise. The Capraia Rock trail runs along the official hiking paths that cross the island.
We spoke to Italian athlete (who placed 2° at 2015 Tor des Geants) – Gianluca Galeati who won the 24km race, and he told us, “The technical level was quite unexpected, completely different to what I’m used to running. The only way to run on the Roman road was to do so… by tip-toeing!”
The (presumed) Roman road, is certainly quite a wonder. But it’s not only the long stretches of this oddly paved track than make the Capraia Rock Trail technical. Steep rocky climbs, gnarly single tracks, roots, branches and thorny bushes all require the trail runner’s full concentration.
#4 Nature & Views
The race route is pretty spectacular, through low, wild Mediterranean maquis that provides little shade but an incredible heady aroma of rosemary, juniper and myrtle. Plus plenty of spring onions, which accompany you for the majority of the course.
You can expect a rustic, rugged landscape, hilly, with steep inclines, and plenty of rocky coves. Cliffs dominate the shoreline, so don’t expect to look down to sandy beaches. The highest point in the island is a moderate 445 mt at Monte Castello.
#5 Post Race Relaxation
This is totally up to you. You can take it either way. Active, or passive relaxation.
Take a boat trip around the island. Since 1986 Capria is part of part of Italy’s Tuscan Archipelago Marine Park, many people come to Capraia in the summer months for diving and snorkeling.
Enjoy just looking at the views, sit in one of the bars in the harbor and enjoy a local beer, made with local Liquorice scented ‘Elecriso’ plant.
Take a walk up to the ex-prison. The island was also a working penal colony (from 1873), and the many farm buildings that made up the colony are still there today. As you run past the old, abandoned prison it’s quite a special moment as you are faced with a strong reminder of what it must have meant to be a convict far from home, on an island with no escape!
The Capraia Rock Trail takes place in March.
Organised by the Leopodistica A.S.D.
Race course is 24/25 km with 1700m D+ and 14km
Fly to Pisa, Bologna or Genova – see our airport guide here.
You do not need a car on the island.
Car parking available by the Port Mediceo in Livorno – we stayed here Parking Mediceo telefono: +0039 338 8969912
Ferry goes from Livorno – Porto Mediceo to Capraia – see Toremar
We stayed in the lovely Hotel Saracino. Located in Capraia Village.
Maria Elisabetta Bellini is Italyontrail.com’s founder, born in the U.K, she came to running whilst living in Italy, where she still lives and trains. Never ceasing to marvel at what’s at the summit of a hill, or around the bend along the trail, she loves using trail running as a means to explore nature, contemplation and Italy.