Isola del Giglio

After our Oz friends left to go home at the beginning of July, Lyn & I decided to visit the Isola del Giglio which is an island that is part of Tuscany, southwest of Florence in the Mediterranean Sea about 15kms off the coast.
It is a very small island that has the claim to fame of being where the Costa Concordia ran aground several years ago. Lorraine (Lyn's sister) spent about 10 days there while she was in Italy (a couple of weeks ago) visiting friends because her previous partner had worked as a salvage diver on the ship, and she had stayed there previously.
The Original Incident - Oh Dear!
Our B&B was in the middle of the town of Porto Giglio and overlooked the whole port area.
The Costa Concordia is now gone and they are in full cleanup mode, but the view of the sunken ship from the observation deck of Leonilde's apartment must have been quite spectacular.

We stayed in an apartment (booked through Airbnb) that was owned by a lady called Leonilde.
The bedroom we had was on the corner of the building overlooking the port area of the town - the view was beautiful.
The View From Our Window
We shared the bathroom with Leonilde and she made us a simple breakfast every morning - and we got a free Italian lesson while we were eating.
The weather was HOT!! Not quite as hot as Florence, but very little breeze at all. We thought that being near the sea meant that there would be cooling sea breezes - but unfortunately no.....
There was no air conditioner in our room, but it did have a ceiling fan and we left the windows open at night to try and get a bit of air movement.
Leonilde said that the weather was much hotter than usual- must be that heatwave Europe is having.
Is That A Ferry In The Main Street?
 It took a long time to get to the Island. We had to catch a train to Pisa at about 10am, change trains to get to Orbetello, catch a bus to Porto San Stefano and then catch a ferry to Giglio. We arrived at about 4.30pm!
Unfortunately the bus to San Stefano doesn't match up with the ferry to Giglio (why am I not surprised?) so we just missed the ferry and had to wait another hour.

We went swimming everyday because it was so hot.
The little beach at the port was lovely, but there was very little shade, so we squashed up against a sea-wall under some kayaks to get out of the sun! There were lots of families and kids - probably locals as the port is not really a tourist destination.
There was a little supermarket where we bought fruit and drinks just down from Leonilde's apartment.
The Local Beach At Giglio Porto
Sitting On The Rocks
Most people go over to the other side of the island to the main beach at Campese, or walk over to a closer beach at Canelli - about 15 minutes over a hill (so we didn't go there!)
View From The Road Leading Out Of Town To Castello & Campese
Leonilde told us that all the restaurants were good, so we picked a different one every night and they were all pretty nice. They are all positioned along the waterfront  of the port, so they all have a view of what is going on with all the boats.
The main dishes are fish and seafood. The prices were pretty similar to Florence, maybe even a bit cheaper. Guy felt the quality of the food was better too.
One Of The Restaurants
One of the things he tried were the (obligatory) marinated anchovy fillets (small sardines called "alici" marinated with olive oil. vinegar and a few herbs). They were served with small, very tasty tomatoes, more olive oil and fresh bread.
Marinated Anchovies & Tomatoes!
The Other End Of The Port - Local Area
The Port At Night
One of the boats in the port - a big stink boat with the name in
neon lights (advertising their wealth!) 
We went for walks in the evening when it got a little bit cooler - it is a little place with lots of bars and restaurants, but the people are friendly and it wasn't very crowded. Maybe it will be later in the summer. 
We decided to go to Castello and Campese which are other towns on the island. There is a local bus that goes from one side of Giglio to the other. The bus went up  the steepest road I have ever been on and raced around hairpin bends (often with the driver on his mobile or texting!) 
Castello is very pretty little town on the very top of the mountain in the middle of the island. It is full of narrow lanes and apartments in little nooks and crannies. It is pedestrian traffic only in the town itself and very tiny. Vehicle access is around the outside of the town (on one side, due to the geography) only.
You can't get in the castle itself (well, we walked right around it and couldn't find a way in). It seems to have been converted into apartments.
Castello From The Bus-stop/Piazza

We then got on the next bus running from Castello to Campese.
View of Campese Beach Showing The Old Watchtower
Then straight to the beach!
We negotiated an umbrella (3 hours for 5 euro) and then had to literally ran down the burning hot sand to the water. The sand is like shell grit and gets very hot, but doesn't stick to your towel!
Not Much Privacy Here!
Guy checking out the beach scene- it wasn't very crowded for such a hot day!

After 3 days, we left Giglio as we were going to the UK to visit Liam and Jo and the grandchildren for 6 days - we are looking forward to the cooler weather as England's heatwave (4 days) is over!!!
It took longer to get back to Florence as the train from Orbetello to Pisa was about one hour late. They kept changing the platform, so everyone was walking back and forward and getting really angry because it was so hot and there was nowhere to sit out of the sun. Anyway, we eventually arrived back in Florence and into our own air con!!
We enjoyed Giglio so much we thought we would like to go back again in October, when Leonilde said the weather is perfect. 

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