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Italian Prison Islands — Hellish Paradises

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Last Updated: Jan 18, 2016

If you’re looking for a travel destination that is not quite what the usual travel ads offer or feature, you can consider heading out to some of the most hard to reach but equally well-preserved tourist destinations, the Italian prison island paradises. You may easily be turned off after the fact that these places once held Italy’s most-wanted criminals, but know this, not everyone can go to these places without having to wait for a long waiting list. That only means that these places are not as crowded as the popular Italian locales usual tourists flock to. AND if you’re looking for that kind of experience, you may be interested to check out the places this article enlists.

1. Montecristo, Tuscany. Yep, you got it right. This is the place that inspired Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. If you’re an avid fan of that literature, make your reservations right away as Italy’s forest service only allows 1,000 visitors a year.140721162249-prison-islands-3-horizontal-gallery

2.  Pantelleria, Sicily. This Island Prison is more Tunisian than Italian. Nevertheless, you can enjoy geysers, the hot springs, the dammusi, and the Pantelleria Gold, which is the local’s proud monicker for their swett and amber-colored Passito wine. 140721162245-italy-prison-islands-4-horizontal-gallery

3. Capraia, Tuscany. If you want to spook yourself with prison dungeons and Medieval village, head on to this Capraia, which means ‘goat’ in English. It is also a favorite diving spot because it has a protected marine park.140721162222-italy-prison-islands-5-horizontal-gallery

4. Santo Stefano, Latium. From afar you can immediately see an abandoned prison fortress built in the 1700s. Some travelers already called the prison structure a grim circle of hell. Thousands of people have died in this place back when it was still a jailhouse. now tourists can enjoy the thrills of that fact and the Julia’s tub, which is a natural rock pool that the ancient Romans enjoyed as a jacuzzi. 140721165625-prison-islands-10-horizontal-gallery

5. Gorgona, Tuscany. This is the remaining Italian Island Prison that is open for travelers who want to enjoy home grown and very delicious wine, cheese, and authentic Italian pasta that the inmates have worked on. The fortress and the ancient towers also become the perfect  and spectacular backdrops for any picture-taking. 140721162217-italy-prison-islands-6-horizontal-gallery

Honorable mentions:

  • Ventotene, Latium
  • Asinara, Sardinia
  • Ponza, Latium
  • Pianosa, Tuscany
  • Favignana, Sicily

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