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Giannutri Island

The Archaeological Island par excellence: its entire southern portion is entirely occupied by the large maritime villa

Giannutri-Map

The island experienced significant occupation during the Roman period, between the late republic and empire, when the Enobarbi family chose it as the base for one of its maritime villas (along with that of Saraceno al Giglio and Santa Liberata near Porto Santo Stefano). The enormous size of the complex took up the entire eastern portion of the island, distributing productive and functional structures, such as cisterns and fishponds, along with parts of the residential portion, such as peristyles, chambers, reception rooms and latrines, in its Mediterranean scrubland. Once the splendors of Roman times ended, the island found itself effectively uninhabited for many centuries, being situated in the open sea and having an almost flat terrain that did not allow natural shelters in case of pirate raids. The pirates themselves often landed there to find temporary hideouts in the island's caves in preparation for assaults toward the coast of Tuscany. Becoming part of the Presidi State in the second half of the 16th century, Spanish rulers studied the possibility of building a defensive system on Giannutri, but such plans were never realized. Instead, the Fort of Discovery was built in the early 19th century by the French during the Napoleonic period, in collaboration with the regents of the Kingdom of Etruria, but no trace of it remains. In 1861, when the island had become part of the Kingdom of Italy, a lighthouse was built along the southern coast to signal the island at night to passing vessels. Finally, the island was assigned to the municipality of Isola del Giglio of the province of Grosseto. The rich marble furnishings, combined with the evidence of the large monumental volumes of the rooms, have attracted scholars and archaeology enthusiasts to the island since the 1800s. The excavation of the structures to which they have dedicated their lives has been carried out with love and dedication, immersed in contemplation of the past.
Many fell victim to Giannutri's charms: first and foremost the former Garibaldino Adami and his companion Marietta who, enraptured by that peace, decided to spend their days in voluntary exile on the small island, along with the seagulls, the crystal clear sea and the remains of the great Roman villa that was Nero's.