The most famous prisoner of the island, about 50 km (30 mi) south of Elba, was fictional: Alexandre Dumas's legendary count. Today the island is a well-protected nature preserve with wild Montecristo goats and vipers, peregrine falcons, and rare Corsican seagulls who make their home amid rosemary bushes and stunted pine trees. Scientific-research teams are given priority for permission to land on the island, and an annual quota of 1,000 visitors strictly limits even their number.
Corpo Forestale. Montecristo is monitored by the National Forestry Service. Contact them for access permits to the island. Via Bicocchi 2, Follonica, 58022. 0566/40019. www.corpoforestale.it.