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Giannutri >> Presentation
If you are ready to renounce to the confusion and the turmoil of entertainment arranged for tourist and the worldly pleasures you could enjoy the naturalistic beauties at Giannutri marine park which for the transparency and the varying bottom is one of the most suitable for scuba-divers. And if you do not know how to use tubes and nosepieces you can relax in a virgin oasis in the Tuscan Archipelago while your children play safely on the few streets on the island, where cars can not drive. Giannutri is situated farthest south of the Tuscan islands, a small calcareous sickle that immerges from the water with high and rocky coasts. Sailors and poets, lovers of the search for small dreamlike capes, photographers, ornithologists and scuba-divers have been coming here for a long time and even if you can see a few private villas between Cala Maestra and Cala dello Spalmatoio, the land still preserves the stimulating charm of a wild and uncontaminated place.
Cala dello spalmatoio and Cala Maestra, the latter got its name from the fact that the Mistral wind blows here, are the only points along the coast where berthing motor-boats is allowed and just behind the second one of these small bays you will find one of the most important archeological sites in the whole Archipelago, the so-called Villa di Domizio Enobarbo. The Roman aristocrats through the Enobarbi chose Giannutri for their idleness and built this splendid villa in the 19:th century. The remainders of the Roman residence leave you to know the existence of storehouses, residential and menial rooms, luxurious spas, reservoirs for the water supply and a large belvedere facing the sea. Fragments of mosaics, stuccoes and marble that decorated the villa as well as other Roman villas used for idleness, still testify their majestic elegance. At Giannutri, even as centuries have gone by, you still breathe that calm and relaxed air that normal mortals unfortunately only can allow themselves during vacation. Almost nothing is left, unfortunately, of the ancient Roman gate at Cala Spalmatoio since the construction speculation boom in the 60'ies and 70'ies has suffocated all of it under concrete, while the "Grottoni", a series of cavities and cracks opened by the sea and the wind, near Punta di Capel Rosso, still emit enormous charm. Walking on the slopes of the homonymous hill and those of Poggio del Cannone you can catch a glimpse of the ancient sanctuaries in the middle of the bush, erected in honor of Diana to whom the Romans dedicated the island thanks to its sickle-shape. The knick-name "Sea-gull Island" comes from the many colonies of gulls that, just as swifts, come to the coasts to rest during the migrations and to reproduce. But Giannutri's avifauna, so rich that it becomes a Mecca for bird-watchers, also count the wren, the Italian sparrow, greenfinches and goldfinches and together they make up the non-migratory population. On the southern cliffs nest one of Europe's fastest falcons, the Pilgrim Falcon that in its' amazing dives reach a speed of 250 kilometers per hour. In the tortuous ravines in the Mediterranean bush you also find the grass snake, a completely harmless coluber even though its' dimensions can arouse some instigation as it can become two meters long. No amphibians exist on the island, but the reptile family is present and apart from the grass snake you will see lizards and geckoes, mostly nocturnal species, absolutely harmless and not poisonous. The bottoms at Giannutri are hard to describe as they are so beautiful and so varying in flora and fauna. The calcareous bottoms with their grottoes and caves, the tortuous ravines and the periodic ruins create an incredible multitude of animal and vegetable species that find a safe shelter here. The protection measures on behalf of Ente Parco make a bulwark for the survival of many threatened species or even at risk of extinction. Rare limpets, urchins, anemones and octopus populate the coastal plane surrounded by saddled breams. As you get deeper down in the waters you find prairies of posidonias, the most important as well as threatened marine plants in the Mediterranean sea that produce as much as 14 liters of oxygen a day and between which layers scorpion-fish, urchins, cuttle-fish and the rare sea horses. As you reach the coral reefs you find madrepore, sponges, red and yellow sea-fans, false black coral and from the dens morays, see-eels and lobsters peep out. Around them swim baracudas and on the bottom lie starfish and the very rare triton and groupers, whose survival is much threatened in the entire Mediterranean sea, but here they find safety. The luckiest ones will have an extraordinary encounter with minor rorquals or a playful group of dolphins, witnessing how the intelligent protection programs for the habitat can actually be useful in order to preserve the natural beauties that often are sacrificed on the altars of profit and modernity. On Giannutri island only Cala Spalmatoio and Cala Maestra allow landing, there are no hotels ma a couple of hundred small apartments that can be rented and that however remain at real nature lovers' disposal, as they will know how to move around with awareness and respect in this angle of paradise, without deforming the countenance to bring home a sponge o a piece of coral to place as a nick-nack in the living-room.

Photographs granted by David Ricci and Francesco Massimo Pozzi
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