isola del giglio

Archeological sites

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Villa del Saraceno (Saracen Villa)

In Giglio Porto near the tiny Cala Saraceno bay or Moray Eel bay, are the ruins of a cetaria, a natural pool used as an ornamental fishpond, and the ruins of a Roman villa of the 1st and 2nd century A.D. belonging to the Domizi-Enobarbi family, who were related to Emperor Nero (Nerone).

Torre del Lazzaretto (Lazaret Tower)

Built by Cosimo I de' Medici in the second half of the 16th century and completed in 1624, the tower was used at first as a base for pirate spotting. Subsequently it became a quarantine station for those affected by serious infectious diseases, such as plague.

At the end of 17th century it became state property and by the end of the 19th century it was sold to private owners.

Nave oneraria romana (Roman Ship)

The remains of a Roman ship used for commercial transport was found in 1962 only 100m away from the red wharf (molo rosso) of Giglio Porto. Together with the ancient ship, many African amphoras of the 3rd century A.D. were found.

Villa di Giannutri (Giannutri island Villa)

On Giannutri is not only a villa but an entire residential complex which belonged to the ancient Roman Domizi-Enobarbi family dating back to the 2nd century A.D.

The construction is characterized by a complex architectural structure of three levels overlooking a large courtyard and connected with each other by stairways. The villa used "cutting edge" Roman technology: it had a central heating system via ducting in the walls, hot water, separate quarters for staff, a cetaria for raising fish, and two ship docks.

Faro delle Vaccarecce (Vaccareccie lighthouse)

Built in 1789 as reference for navigation, the lighthouse was left unfinished due to the frequent, dense fogs that during the winter months made the signal light invisible from the sea.

It has been restored and presently belongs to a private family.

Other discoverings and sites

Other interesting discoveries , as reported and witnessed in Cenno Storico sull'Isola del Giglio by Andrea Brizzi, include Roman coins, fittings and furnishings, skeletons, and lead pipes used to transport water from springs directly to the villas built near Saraceno Bay (Cala del Saraceno).

Evocative and historic is the medieval town of Giglio Castello, particularly because of its city walls and ancient stone buildings. Close inspection of the walls reveals many traces of its past: visible plaques, engravings, or coats of arms obscured by time can be seen etched into, carved out of, or protruding from the walls. In Piazza della Rocca, by the entrance door next to the sentry box, the name of Ferdinando II, "Dux Etruriae", can be read, restored in 1623. Above the second entrance door to the village from Piazza Gloriosa, the official coat of arms of the Medici family is to be seen.

Another site is the church of San Pietro in Giglio Castello that safeguards an ivory crucifix attributed to Jean Boulogne (Giambologna 1529-1608), and a shrine containing the relic (a forearm) of the patron saint of the island, San Mamiliano, as well as weapons and armaments left behind during the last pirate attack in 1799.

The Corinthian capital used as base for the basin containing holy water in the church at Giglio Castello dates back to the 2nd century A.D.

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