Isola di Pianosa - Italy
Isola di Pianosa
Parent Site Name
Pianosa Island (Long. 10° 04' 44” E and Lat. 42° 35' 07” N) is the fifth, by extension, of the seven islands of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park with a total area of 10.2 km2 and a coastal perimeter of approximately 20 km. The island is almost completely flat, with some small undulations. The highest elevation is 29 m above sea level (a.s.l.), while the average is about 18 m a.s.l. The climate of Pianosa is influenced by its flat morphology that prevents the condensation of moist air, resulting in a mean annual rainfall considerably lower than on the other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago; furthermore, due to the high permeability of the soils, the rain is quickly drained. On the basis of an historical meteorological dataset (1951-2009), mean air temperature is 15.8 °C and mean annual rainfall is 497 mm, ranging between a minimum of 176 mm (1999) and a maximum of 716.2 mm (1984). A clear seasonal precipitation pattern shows a maximum from October to December followed by a decrease with a minimum value in July. The first historical record of Pianosa island dates back to the Roman age, when the Emperor Ottaviano, in the 6-7 A.C., forced the grandson Agrippa Postumo to live on Pianosa island. Following the decadence of the Roman Empire, during the periods of Barbarians’ invasions, the island was abandoned. The name of Pianosa island newly appeared in some documents of the Repubbliche Marinare of Pisa and Genova (XII and XIII century) that reported the remarkable strategic position of the island. The 27th August 1802, Napoleone Bonaparte established that the islands of Elba, Capraia, Pianosa, Palmaiola and Montecristo were united to the territory of the French Republic. Bonaparte visited Pianosa twice and found it the most interesting of the other islands, appreciating its richness of vegetation and animals. In 1858 Pianosa became an Agriculture Penal Colony, where the prisoners were forced to work in the fields. During the ’70s the jail of Pianosa became a maximum security penitentiary. Only in the ’80s, representatives of the Government and members of the civil society started to propose to close the prison and to return Pianosa to the competent civil authority. In view of this, the number of the prisoners was drastically reduced and, consequently, several agriculture activities progressively stopped. In the 1997 the territory of Pianosa was formally included in the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and since than it is a site for natural conservation. In 1998 the penitentiary was completely dismissed
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