Image credit: Allumeur
You’d be surprised to find out that the toughest place to visit when you’re in Italy is not the top restaurant listed in Milan nor is it the new and trendy underground club found in Florence. It is actually Montecristo, an island just off the coast of France.
Montecristo has not been accessible and opened to tourists at all right up till 10 years ago, and access remains extremely limited even today. There are two travelling windows that are available for visitors, the first one from 1st April to 15th April and the second one from 31st August to 31st October. That being said, it does not mean that anybody can visit the island. The Italian government is only giving out 1,000 day permits annually, and up to 600 of these permits have been reserved for students.
The island happens to be the setting for the Alexandre Dumas’s famous “The Count of Monte Cristo”, resulting in a high demand to visit the island.
Image credit: Güldem Üstün
Visitors will be rewarded with a remarkable experience at the island. Montecristo is a part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, and is home to various endangered species on the Montecristo Nature Reserve. A ban on fishing and swimming within 1km of the coastline has been erected in bid to protect the biodiversity of the area.
Montecristo also has a rich history having been occupied but The Etruscans, Greeks and Romans. In addition, the Turks, Catholic monks as well as the French have also passed through the island.
According to Tuscan Archipelago National Park, it is advisable to visit the park in groups of at least 40 as individuals may face difficulties in organising the trip alone. You can apply for your visit to Montecristo online, but don’t be surprised that you might have to wait years to receive a response.