You might have heard of the Isola del Giglio because of the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship in 2012 and due to the massive wreck-lifting operation that is hitting the international headlines. But Giglio Island should be known for other reasons. Many Italians are already aware of this, but many abroad still ignore that this 23.80 km² (9.19 sq mi) pearl in the Tyrrhenian Sea is an exotic paradise that hides beautiful surprises.
The island is surrounded by crystalline waters with intense blue-emerald shades and a rich, lively seabed. 90% of its land is covered by wild Mediterranean vegetation (with about 700 botanical species), and can be explored by trekking along footpaths. The territory is mostly mountainous and reaches the highest peak at 486 meters a.s.l.
From flat sandy stretches to dramatic cliffs, the beaches offer breathtaking backdrops and beautiful views of the horizon. Scuba divers can delight themselves by admiring a variety of fish, caves and ancient wrecks. During summer and spring, when the sea is calm, you might be lucky enough to spot some whales and dolphins from your boat!
Giglio Island features three small charming villages:
Giglio Porto – a unique and colorful port with waters that will surprise you for their cleanliness and transparency despite all the boats and ferries that move around it. Here you can enjoy a gelato on the quay, visit local shops and take a boat-taxi that will accompany you to a beach or bay of your choice.
Giglio Castello – this hilltop hamlet features a castle from the XI century, with high walls, three towers and small alleys. Here you can visit the wineries that produce the typical local wine, called vino Ansonaco or Ansonico.
Giglio Campese – featuring one of the most popular local beaches, this big bay is delimited by the ancient Campese Tower on one side and a peculiar rock stack on the other. The area is ideal for surf and sail lovers, and offers unforgettable sunsets.
Giglio Island is 11 miles from the Argentario Promontory and can be reached with a 50-minute ride in a ferry boat departing from Porto Santo Stefano.