Giglio Island

Giglio Island is completely cut off from Tuscany and not just because it's an island.

Geographically, Giglio is close to Monte Argentario, only 11 miles away, and its port is rarely free of mainland ferries either arriving or departing.

Instead, Giglio Island's isolation runs deeper than distance. It's more of a feeling, brought on by the attitude of the people and the spectacular environment they live in.

The island is effectively a self-sufficient city. The locals rarely leave Giglio if they can help it and have instead laboured to create a little world of their own, with a culture and lifestyle that differs entirely from that on mainland Maremma.

This lassier faire lifestyle, it's the best way to describe it, is the type you'd see on any island paradise where the days are always mild and calm, and its inhabitants enjoy extremely close contact with nature.

In Giglio, 90 per cent of the landscape is unspoiled.

Almost 700 of the local flora species are rare and unique to the island. The 28km of coastline, which alternates between polished granite cliffs and sandy beaches, is home to several rare fauna species including the Sardinian frog, peregrine falcon and herring gull, and that's without mentioning the wonders that live in the water around the island.

The locals are living in what can only be described as a nature park of enviable beauty.

It's hard to imagine a place where you can go from port city, with its bustling shops, restaurants and hotels, to completely deserted beach or forest. But in Giglio, it's not only possible, it's achievable in a matter of minutes thanks to the local's dedication to preserving the splendour of their surroundings.

The best way to navigate Giglio Island is by bus. Buses regularly depart from Giglio Porto and run to Giglio Castello and Giglio Campese - the main stops on the island. Tickets are €2 per single trip. If you want to explore the rest of the island, you can on foot or by taxi. You can also bring your car from the mainland.

How to get here

There are two main ferry companies that travel between Porto Santo Stefano and Giglio Island every day. It's up to you to decide which one you like better. They both charge the same amount for a daily ticket - around €14. They're called Toremar and Maregiglio.

Both have timetables on their websites so you can plan your journey.

If your Italian is stellar, you can buy the tickets online. Otherwise just pick them up from the booths on Porto Santo Stefano on the day you want to travel. Both companies have big booths on the port's boardwalk.

Giglio is divided into three districts. Each with its own story and sights:

Giglio Porto

The district

Giglio Porto is the commercial and tourist heart of the island. It’s where the boats and ferries from Porto Santo Stefano arrive.

Torre del Saraceno

Commissioned in the 16th century and rebuilt many times after that, this stone tower is a striking contrast to the brightly coloured houses the sit on either side of it.

Giglio Castello

The district

Giglio Castello is where the island’s history comes to life. Here the locals live embraced by the walls of the Rocca fortress.

Rocca

This castle was the foundation around which the thriving village of Giglio Castello was built by the Aldobrandeschi in the 13th century.

Parrocchiale San Pietro

This 15th century church isn’t much to look at on the outside, but inside, its beauty reflects a bit of the island lifestyle and its treasures.

Giglio Campese

The district

Giglio Campese is the place to go if you’re seeking sun and some fun on Giglio Island. It’s where the best beaches are.

Torre Campese

Built in the 18th century at the behest of Cosimo Medici, this tower was part of Giglio Island’s defensive system against frequent pirate attacks.

Activities

Beaches

Cannelle, Caldane and Arenella are Giglio Island’s most popular beaches. Each different, they embody the best of Giglio’s coastal beauty.

Walking and bike trails

There are plenty of walking and biking tracks that wind all over Giglio Island, taking in the best of its landscape, beaches and history.

Diving and snorkeling

The beauty of Giglio Island is only paralleled by the beauty that surrounds it underwater. Most of the waters around the island can be explored by scuba divers and snorkelers.

Events

Festa di San Mamiliano

September

Really five festivals rolled in one, this annual event is a smorgasbord celebration of food, music, games, dancing, tradition and donkeys!

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