Giglio Island

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"The Atlas of Islands, Stories and Legends from the Tuscan Archipelago."

by "La Compagnia dei Cosi"

Giglio Island, located about 11 miles off the coast of Argentario, at 21 square kilometers is the second largest island in theTuscan Archipelago and has a population of about 1,200. The terrain is mostly granitic, except for the Franco promontory, located in Loc. Giglio Campese,and characterized by Triassic cavernous limestone and Paleozzoic quartzite. In this area, from the early 1900s until the 1960s, the Pyrite mine was active.

Later dismantled, its remains, located in the middle of Campese Bay , of platforms and a pylon can be seen. The territory is hilly in nature and reaches its maximum height of 498 mt reached by the Poggio della Pagana. Entirely covered with Mediterranean scrub, this, guards around the old Vaccarecce Lighthouse, on the road to Giglio Castello the Scopeto pine forest , on the same road and in other places, one can encounter holm oak and cork trees. Spring and fall are, without a doubt, the best seasons to explore, the island on foot along the many trails that run the length and breadth of the island. Paths and mule tracks were once used to reach the vineyards, where they are still cultivated today, theAnsonica, from which comes the typical wine: theAnsonaco; the vegetable gardens and fields of cereals and fruit trees, and to reach the three villages: those already mentioned of the Campese, and its wonderful bay framed by the cliff of the stacks and the medicean tower, located on the west coast of the island where unique sunsets can be admired; that of the Castle, listed among the most beautiful medieval villages in Italy, where the relic of the arm of San Mamiliano; e Giglio Porto, the small harbor that, with its characteristic colorful cottages welcomes, first, travelers.

In Giglio Porto you can find the remains of anancient Roman villa located in the Caletta del Saraceno and another Medici tower part of the complex of fortifications built over the centuries to protect against pirate raids. For fans of the underwater worlds, the seabed is rich in paretti, hidden caves and ancient shipwrecks; strewn with posidonia, colorful argonias and sponges, inhabited by schools of amberjack, snapper, bream, octopus and lobster. Coastal development alternates between coves and sandy beaches. The most important beaches are Campese, whose sand is reddish,Arenella, Cannelle and Caldane, all three located on the island’s east coast.

All are accessible on foot or by car, except for the Caldane, which can only be reached on foot via a beautiful path from the Cannelle or by boat, either by chartered boats or the cab boat service that leaves from Giglio Porto. To really enjoy the island, a boat tour of the island is recommended, which lasts without stopping, about an hour.

To fully get to know,however, the island, one must experience its oldest traditions, the most important annual events include:

  • San Lorenzo who is celebrated on August 10 in Giglio Porto, the day on which the Palio Marinaro, an ancient rowing race, is held.
  • San Rocco who is celebrated on August 16 in Giglio Campese
  • St. Mamiliano patron saint of Giglio Castello and the whole island is celebrated on September 15, the day on which the Palio degli Asini ancient peasant tradition is contested.
  • Grape Festival and Open Wineries, which is celebrated in Giglio Castello on thelast weekend of September to mark the end of the grape harvest.