Giglio Castello is one of the most fascinating villages on the island of Giglio, a place where time seems to have stopped, preserving the medieval atmosphere that characterizes it intact. Located on the heights of the island, 405 meters above sea level, this ancient village offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
Giglio Castello is a village that enchants and fascinates, a place where history, traditions and natural beauty blend in perfect harmony. Whether you are a history buff, a foodie or simply looking for a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the landscape, Giglio Castello has something to offer for everyone. With its imposing walls, its narrow winding streets and its unique atmosphere, this village is a must for anyone visiting the Giglio Island.
History and Architecture
The village was built for the first time by the Pisans in the 12th century and, over the centuries, it was repeatedly enlarged and restored by the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Its massive walls, interspersed with three circular and seven rectangular towers, tell stories of battles and defences. Inside, the narrow streets, often surmounted by arches, and the balzuoli, external stairs leading to the upper floors of the houses, offer a unique glimpse of the daily life of the past.
At the center of the village is Piazza XVIII Novembre, dominated by the Rocca Aldobrandesca, a defensive construction that bears witness to the strategic importance of Giglio Castello over the centuries. The Church of San Pietro Apostolo, located inside the village, is another architectural jewel, which houses the “treasure” of Pope Innocent XIII, an ivory crucifix made by Giambologna, and a reliquary containing the arm of San Mamiliano, the patron saint of the island.
Traditions and Gastronomy
Giglio Castello is also a place of traditions and festivities. Every 15th September, the village comes alive to celebrate San Mamiliano, the patron saint of Giglio Island and the Castle. This fiesta, the most important on the island, is an opportunity to bring the community together and celebrate with palios, concerts and traditions. Furthermore, on the last weekend of September, the Grape and Open Cellar Festival takes place, an event that celebrates the island’s winemaking tradition and attracts many visitors.
Speaking of gastronomy, one cannot fail to mention the Ansonaco wine, an amber and robust wine produced on the island of Giglio. This wine, made from Ansonica grapes grown in small vineyards overlooking the sea, is a true symbol of the island. But the gastronomy of Giglio Castello does not stop at the wine: wild rabbit alla cacciatora, cooked with tomato, spices and a pinch of chilli pepper, is a typical dish of the village, often served during festivals and traditional events.
Services and Reception
Despite its ancient atmosphere, Giglio Castello offers a number of modern services for visitors and residents. Inside the village there are the municipal office, the post office, a pharmacy, a doctor’s surgery and numerous restaurants, craft shops, bars and small food shops. Even if there are no hotels, the village offers various Bed & Breakfast solutions and apartments for those who want to stay in this corner of paradise.