Island of Giglio, one of the blue jewels in the Tuscan Arcipelago

The Island of Giglio lies opposite the Argentario Promontory, and measuring 21 square miles it is the second largest island after Elba.

Sad to say, it has become famous in the past few years because of the disaster of the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran into the large rock called "Le Scole" just off Giglio; the huge hole in its side caused it to partially sink and remain on its side on the sea bed, and many passengers died or were injued.

Apart from the Franco promontory, where the sedimemtary rocks are near some iron ores, the rocks are mostly of granite origin. There is a mountainous area in the middle of the island, and Poggio della Pagana, at 496 metres above sea level, is the highest peak.

The Commune of the Island of Giglio, in the province of Grosseto, also includes the Island of Giannutri, and has a total population of about 1400 in the three main areas of the island.

Giglio Castello, the main town, is a medieval town is the highest, innermost part of the island. Giglio Porto, once a fishing village and now the main commercial town of the island, is where most of the boats arrive, and from here you can clearly see the small, pastel coloured houses along the sea front, the Saracen Tower and the two lighthouses at either end of the quay. Giglio Campese, on the western side of the Island, is the most popular beach area among tourists and snorkelling lovers, fascinated by the famous rock and unforgettable sunsets. The Gulf of Campese is also famous for its Tower, built so a constant watch could be kept over any enemy ships and above all pirates.

In the past the vegetation on Giglio consisted mainly of holm oaks and cork trees, and there were vineyards with terracings all over the island. In 1900, the botanist Sommier carried out some research work on the flora on Giglio, and counted approximately 700 different species, some rare and endemic. Today, apart from the area around the old lighthouse, where both stone and cluster pines were planted, Mediterranean bush grows over most of the Island of Giglio.

As regards the fauna, there aren't many different species of animals on Giglio, but there are some rare species like the Sardinian discoglossid frog, more typical of the Corsica Sardinia area, and the Sicula Tyrrenica lizard that can also be found on the island of Giannutri.

Giglio is famous for its magnificent marine environment, with a unique crystal clear sea and almost magical sea bed. Many different species of moray eels, lobsters, groupers and tuna fish live on the sea bed. It is quite normal both in spring and in summer to see sperm whales and blue whales swim near the island, or watch dolphins play as they follow the boats and ships.

Protected area and regulations

Apart from half of the territory of the Island, no sea area is part of the National Park, but Le Scole, Lo Scoglio del Corvo and the Cappa Islands come under 100% environmental protection.

You can get to the Island of Giglio all year round, and the crossing from the Port of Santo Stefano (province of Grosseto) takes about an hour. In the summer months there are also excursions from the Island of Elba (Porto Azzurro) and from San Vincenzo.

Useful information

Commune of the Island of Giglio 0564 806064 -

Pro Loco Island of Giglio and Giannutri 0564 809400 -

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