It has the unmistakable shape of a half moon, characterized by a jagged and rocky coast that features the beaches of Cala Maestra and Cala Spalmatoio. The island is about 3 km (1.8 mi) long and just over 500 meters (0.3 mi) wide.
Giannutri is a small paradise without cars or hotels. If you wish to sleep on the island, there are a few small B&Bs or apartments for rent.
The island is largely privately owned, and although you will spot some villas here and there, the panorama is wild and dominated by the low Mediterranean scrub with its unique colours and scents. The island of Giannutri and its sea is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park and marine sanctuary.
Is Giannutri Island worth visiting?
Giannutri Island is worth visiting for four main reasons:
- Archaeology: it is home to the remains of a beautiful Roman Villa built between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD by the Domizi Enobarbi family.
- Birdwatching: Giannutri is home to numerous colonies of herring gulls and lies along the routes of migratory birds that cross the Mediterranean to move between Africa and Europe.
- Diving: The exceptional transparency of the water, extraordinary biological diversity and presence of wrecks make these seabeds unique.
- Hiking: the only path that can be walked freely (without a guide) is the one from Cala Maestra to Cala Spalmatoio, while all other trails require an authorized guide.
A bit of history of Giannutri Island
The island of Giannutri was already inhabited in prehistoric times, as demonstrated by numerous archaeological findings of weapons and tools. Later, it was frequented by the Etruscans and Romans. The wrecks of merchant ships that still lie on Giannutri’s seabed show that this area was important for the maritime trade of the past.
One of the island’s symbols is the Giannutri Lighthouse at Punta Rossa. This active lighthouse was built in 1882, consisting of a cylindrical tower that is 9 metres (30 ft) tall and painted with red and white horizontal bands. It is completely automated and powered by a solar unit.
How to reach Giannutri Island
You can reach the island of Giannutri with a scheduled ferry service departing from Porto Santo Stefano or with mini cruises and private boat rentals from Monte Argentario, including Porto Ercole and Cala Galera.