Giglio Isle Landscape
Giglio Island is located about 16 km west of Monte Argentario, 50 km south of Elba, in the southern corner of the Tuscan archipelago - a group of island that lie between Tuscany and Corsica. It covers an area of 23,89 square kilometres, is about 8 km long, 28 km in circumference and has axis N-NW to S-SE.
Almost completely mountainous, its highest point, Poggio della Pagana, reaches 496 meters a.s.l. (around 1500 feet). From the top, particularly on a clear day, one can enjoy a spectacular panorama of the coast and of the other islands of the Tuscan archipelago.
The impressive coastline, 28 kilometres long, where cliffs of smooth granite alternate with coves, bays and sandy beaches, is generally more gentle on the eastern coast while on the western side you find steep slopes and lofty, majestic cliffs running right down to the sea.
Giglio is almost totally made of granite, with the exception of the promontory of Franco, which is characterized by limestone and Palaeozoic quartzite. At the northern point of the promontory you will find a spectacular rock, the Faraglione of Campese.
Giglio Isle Flora
The Isola del Giglio lies uninhabited for 90% of its territory - here flora and fauna of great beauty and interest dominate the wild nature, especially in springtime, when the island explodes in colours, becoming a picture of incredible beauty.
If you want to explore the island and discover its nature, you will find many surprises. A flora that varies from strawberry trees to heather, with the unusual presence of chestnuts, and the predominance of the Mediterranean bush, but also the Aleppo pine, replanted on the island because of the many and always devastating fires that take place here during summertime.
The mild Mediterranean climate, characterised by high levels of summer dryness, accompanied by continual sun exposure and frequent marine winds, favours evergreen plants such as those with coriaceous leaves or thorns.
The original vegetation of elm oak woods has made place nowadays to the Mediterranean macchia, a shrub-like vegetation 2-5 metres high. Dominant species include the arbutus "Arbutus unedo", the evergreen "Rhamnus alaternus", the book thorn tree "Pistacia lentiscus", the juniper "Juniperus phoenicea", the myrtle "Myrtus communis", the heathers "Erica arborea" and "E. scoparia", the rosemary "Rosmarinus officinalis", the phyllireas "Phyllirea angustifolia" and "P. latifolia". The lavander "Lavandula stoechas", the strawflower "Helichrysum italicum" and the colourful cistus "Cistus incanus", "C. salvifolius" and "C. monspeliensis" grow in the glades and clearings, while the splendid brooms "Calycotome spinosa" and "Spartium junceum" predominate on sunnier slopes.
The only forest on the Giglio island lies around the old, abandoned lighthouse, thanks to a re-forestation of domestic pines carried out some decades ago.
Giglio Isle Fauna
Amongst the green you can come across wild rabbits (also one of the main dishes of the local cuisine) and diversified species of migratory and nesting birds - cormorants, red partridges, shags, seagulls, woodcocks, kestrels and ravens - who choose the Isola del Giglio as their haven.
Moufflons, originally from Sardinia, inhabit the promontory of Mezzo Franco. Reptiles on the island include the Prairie Lizard, the Podarcis Sicula and the Cerbolensis, and the "Biacco", a timid and harmless snake, useful in lowering the population of rodents. Vipers and other poisonous snakes fortunately don't inhabit the island.
Noteworthy is also the Sardinian Discoglosso, the only amphibian on the island, similar to the common green frog but darker in colour.
Bird watching on the Isola del Giglio can lead to many surprises. Woodpeckers, robins, sparrows and blackbirds, the Corsican Seagull and the Royal Seagull, the lesser Berta and the major Berta, the kestrel, the Hawk and the Buzzard, the Black cap, the small Goldcrest, the melodious Nightingale, the Wren and the The Redpoll, all inhabit the Isola del Giglio in different times of the year. In springtime, from March to June, when the summer chaos hasn't yet reached its peak, the island becomes an incredible display of nature.
Giglio Isle Sea
The Giglio Isle, with its never too cold, crystal clear waters (among the cleanest of Italy) and its many caves and ancient wrecks, offers many interesting diving spots. Sea beds rich in fish, a rocky coastline of smooth granite, broken by bays, coves and sandy beaches promise a holiday full of surprises, all year round.
Morays, barracudas and giant tunafish, some reaching 3 meters in length, inhabit the deeper waters. On a clear Spring or Summer day, dolphins and whale-calves can be seen out in the calm, open waters.