Isola di Giannutri, “Fuori dal mondo”

August 4, 2015 / Places
Isola di Giannutri, Tuscany

Fuori dal mondo – “out of this world” – is what you feel as you step off the ferry onto this tiny Mediterranean island (3 km. long and barely 500 m. wide). The turquoise/emerald water of the island coves is certainly “out-of-this-world” and you are “out of this world” on this island with 180 houses (all reservedly tucked away – we spotted six in our three Giannutri days), fewer than twenty permanent residents, one small piazza with a single restaurant-bar (mostly empty), one meagerly-stocked grocery (usually closed) and only rocky dirt paths leading to the two or three coves of crystalline water. At a fork in the footpaths, the only three signs on the island indicate the swimmable coves and the warning not to verge off the footpaths from early May until late October unless accompanied by an authorized naturalist guide.

Giannutri,--la-mezzaluna-isola-
Giannutri-sea---clear-as-glass
On-arrival,-an-immediate-sense-of-another-world
One-small-piazza
Four-signs-only-on-the-island

Severe regulations preserve the splendid beauty of Giannutri, Parco Nazionale dell’Archipelago Toscano, once a summer island retreat for the Roman patrician Domizi family (Nero’s wife, Agrippina, was a Domizi). Three intricately-sculpted Corinthian capitals, piles of marble once ornamenting the vast baths, stretches of walls now taken over by caper vines, majestic flights of steps and pavements in opus spicatum (“spiked work,”, i.e., herring-bone pattern) are fragmented testament today to the second-century glory of Villa Domizia.

Roman-villa,-2nd--c-AD---remains-of-the-glory

During the summer, the ferry arrives daily from Porto Santo Stefano, with an extra summertime “run” on Friday for weekend vacationers headed to their Giannutri havens. When Pino and I headed to the island home of Roman friends, we asked what we could bring: melons and water. Marina and Angelo met us at the port and we four hauled the eighteen litres of water we’d transported up the dirt path to their cone-shaped tukul plastered in the characteristic rosa antica pink. The tukul – typical house of the island – is a small circular house, windows all around to draw in sea breezes, once with a simple thatched roof: until a roof caught fire in the 1970’s. Now the tukul roofs are tiled.

Young-vacationers-await-the-arrival-of-their-Papa'
Time-to-leave...
Typical-tukul-house-of-Giannutri

The Giannutri daily routine is simple: leisurely breakfast on the terrace looking out over the water towards Giglio (you could once see the carcass of the Costa cruise ship laying in the water, like a huge beached white whale), swims, lunch on the terrace (same view – different light), read and/or write, doze or sleep, head to the cove for late swims, back to the house to read/write or chat, aperitif, leisurely dinner as the sun sets over the sea (same view, different light). Only Angelo’s routine might alter a bit: up early to fish and then time to clean and cook the fish for our lunch on the terrace (same view).

Late-afternoon-view---Giglio-seen-through-the-mist
Angelo-with-the-morning-catch
Pastel-colors-of-early-evening-sky-outline-Giglio
The-setting-sun-drops-into-the-sky-behind-Giglio---view-from-terrace

Giannutri is not another Capri and has nothing in common with even the lesser-known Mediterreanen islands such as Ischia, Procida, Ponza or Ventotene. If you’re looking for seafood restaurants on the port, outdoor cafes, boutiques, and animated nocturnal piazza life, head for one of those.

On Giannutri, the only disturbing sounds are seabreeze whispers, seagull squawks, the cicadas’ buzz. Those sounds and turquoise-emerald waters are the island’s only offerings.

After all, Giannutri is fuori dal mondo.

What-water!
Limestone-outcrop-surrounded-by-limpid-waters

A-touch-of-paradiso

Anne Robichaud

by Anne Robichaud

An authorized Umbrian tour guide, Anne and her husband Pino worked the land for many years in the 1970’s so rural life, rural people, rural cuisine are una passione for her. See Umbria from “the inside”: join her May 2017 ten-day tour centered on discovering Umbria, Anne’s Umbria.

See www.annesitaly.com for more on her Umbria tours. Do see www.stayassisi.com for news on the Assisi apartment – and Assisi countryside guest house – she and Pino now rent out.

Anne writes frequently on Umbria and other areas of Italy. Read about her annual U.S. Feb/Mar cooking classes and lectures, as well as her numerous Italy insights on her blog.

25 Responses to “Isola di Giannutri, “Fuori dal mondo””

  1. Kathleen Migliarese Avalone

    I would like an article on Capo Migliarese as previous research, although sparse, indicated a connection to my family

    Reply
  2. Gian Banchero

    Thank you Anne! How great to enjoy my morning coffee at the beach, beautiful! Grazie for the great article!

    Reply
  3. Rosemary Johnson

    Very interesting life they lead–laid back, restful, detached from big city noise. And, so few permanent residents. What a nice place to visit! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. John Jacobs

    You translate “fuori dal mondo” as out of this world but shouldn’t it actually be “fuori dal questo mondo” for that translation?

    Reply
  5. Nancy Mazza

    How fascinating to see a place so unspoiled by tourism! The colors of the water are amazing. Glad you have some Roman friends with a “summer place” here.

    Reply
  6. Jack Litewka

    The “daily routine” sounds perfect. Thanks for the tip about this off-the-beaten-track place.

    Reply
  7. Anne Wright

    The colors of the water are incredible, truly a little paradiso, fuori dal mondo. Thanks Anne for another wonderful tantalizing piece of writing about Italy’s treasures.

    Reply
  8. Marie Castino Ramey

    So perfect. Is this part of the Tuscan coast islands? And are there any places to stay? Thinking of visiting Italy in mid-October this year. Thank you for sharing this beautiful island. Marie Ramey

    Reply
  9. Patrizia Carroll

    Hi Anne, liked reading about this more than the terrific heat wave! Looks like a beautiful getaway.

    Reply
  10. Beautifully written article! I felt like I had been there enjoying the peace and beauty. Thank you Anne for sharing!

    Reply
  11. Maryanne Maggio Hanisch

    Gorgeous photos! You have friends in all the right places!

    Reply
  12. Trisha Lenarz-Garmoe

    A wonderful “mental” vacation as I enjoyed your vivid descriptions, Anne. Thanks for the mini Italian vacation as I sit here in Iowa. Trish

    Reply
  13. Hello, Anne, as to Agrippina, Nero`s mother (not his wife),, she was not a “Domizi” (you mean “Domitia, I presume) but from the noble Claudius clan, she founded Köln (you say Cologne or so) as “Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensis”. Nero`s wife was Poppaea Sabina. A Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus was Nero’s f a t h e r, a great-grandson of Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, famous Roman consul in 54 BC and Caesar’s enemy. Greetings from Germany, Tyra Sertorius, Haan/NRW

    Reply
  14. Sandra Spector

    Sounds sooo lovely & the pictures, I am sure, don’t do it justice.
    Hope to see you in a few weeks

    Reply

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