A day trip to Giannutri

Cala Maestra Harbour

If you happen to be on the Tuscany coast you should consider a day trip or weekend in Giannutri. 

It is true, lots of tourists are coming to Tuscany for her remarkable heritage. Florence is well known for the Renascence era, Pisa for her leaning tower, and the wines between Chianti e Montalcino are also famous. I could go on more and more to tell about the beautiful place along Tuscany, however, today I want to take you to discover the southernmost island of the Tuscan Archipelago: Giannutri.

A hidden gem

Giannutri Cliff

Although I’ve lived in Tuscany for most of my life as well as been on the seaside every single summer since I was a baby, I never visited Giannutri till last summer. I was on a low-cost holiday with Andrew in Follonica and one day I came up with the idea of going on a day trip to one of the Tuscan Archipelago Islands. We were undecided between Giannutri and Giglio because both of us were already been to Elba. As I was doing my due diligence and gathering info about both islands, it became clear how one day on Giglio Island wouldn’t be enough. Due to this reason, we opted for Giannutri.

Giannutri is the southernmost island of the Tuscan Archipelago and his typical crescent moon shape inspired his name. Actually, among Greek, Artemisia (or Diana for Latin) was the moon goddess. It is a very small island part of the Arcipelago Toscano National Park and Marine Sanctuary. For this reason, I advise you to book an organized trip to visit the island. Although it is possible to travel to the island via one of the many ferries departing from Porto Santo Stefano on the Argentario, once you arrive on Giannutri you can move only between Cala Spalmatoio and Cala Maestra (approx 10 mins walking). 

On the website, it is possible to buy a mini-cruise to visit Giannutri with an expert Environmental Guide. We bought a day trip “Giannutri tesori nascosti” mini-cruise (€65 adults – €38 kids from 5 to 12 y.o.) 

Planning the trip

Giannutri Landscape

We departed from Follonica @ 8 a.m. with our FZ6 and we drove up to Porto Santo Stefano where we arrived around 9.15 a.m. After securing our moto at the harbor parking slot, we met the group tour guide at the meeting point nearby. Once we showed the ticket to the guide, we could get on the boat.

I love boating, I used to go fishing with my dad when I was a kid and since then whenever I can I rent a boat for a small trip. So, I decided to take place on the top of the boat to feel the breeze and enjoy the trip to the island. It is a lovely trip just remember to put on sun-cream protection and a hat to prevent any insolation (it could be very hot). 

On the Island

We arrived at Punta Spalmatoio one of the two Roman harbours of the island. From there, we hiked to the small group of houses on the island. There is a bar where it is possible to buy water and snacks and use the restroom. With the guide, we hiked from there to Faro di Giannutri a lighthouse built in the 800s.

Giannutri Lighthouse

 

On Giannutri there are no vehicles and there are only dirty routes. It is not a heavy hike, but still, keep in mind it is a rural island mainly composed of limestone and jugged cliff so watch your step on the way. 

During the walk, the guide showed us the island’s flora and fauna. He told us about how there is no water on Giannutri so the plans have to find a way to survive. He spoke about the seagulls and the other birds’ migration that are taking a stop during their seasonal movement. 

The walk back and to the Faro takes around 2 hours. Once back, we had time to take a swim in the other Roman harbor in Cala Maestra and eat our lunch. We relaxed a bit, swam a lot, and took a sunbathe before heading to the last part of our trip: Villa Domizia.

The Ancient Roman Villa: Villa Domizia 

View from Villa Domizia

Just above Cala Maestra, there is this beautiful ancient Roman Villa. Built by Domizi-Enobarbi Family which was Emperor Nerone’s family, it had to be gorgeous. With the guide is possible to visit the site and take photos. It still presents the original Corinthian Columns while the mosaic of “Jason and the Minotaur” is kept in Grosseto on the mainland. 

 

The view from the Villa is breathtaking. I can’t even imagine what the sailors who arrived at Giannutri from the sea might have thought when they saw the Villa from the sea. It has to be just magical. Villa Domizia entrance                                                

The guide took us from the entrance to visit the Corinthian Columns. From there it is possible to visit a major part of the Villa such as part of the rooms and the thermal bath, but only with the guide. In fact, the Villa is on private property. 

 

 

   

Giannutri is a fantastic island where to take a day trip to. If you’d like to stay longer, there are some accommodations or it is possible to rent one of the private houses on the site. 

Fun fact

A private airport was in operation on the island of Giannutri until a few years ago. The airport was built in 1964 to bring suppliers to the isnad’s facilities and residents. The airport was close to civilian operation in 1992.
On 20 May 2000, a Cessna 172 touring aircraft crashed into the water from the runway above Giannutri airport, having failed to brake its run in time during an emergency landing attempt following a breakdown. The wreck is currently 34 mt deep on the seabed of Cala dello Scoglio. 

 

 

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