For the last thirty-one years, the 81-year-old Italian Mauro Morandi has been the sole inhabitant of a desert island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Morandi has called the island is home since 1989 but now faces eviction because other people are planning to turn the island into something new. Before he moved to the island, Morandi worked a physical education teacher but was willing to put that all behind him after he received an opportunity to become the sole caretaker of the remote island when he happened to wash up on its iconic pink beach Spiaggia Rosa.
Although the Italian government turned the island into part of one of their national parks, the lone hermit wants to fight the government and stay on the property. He loves the Isle of Budelli and fears that the Italian government will completely mistreat it if he leaves it behind.
He spoke to CNN Travel about his ordeal and said: “I fear that if I’m gone, it will be the end of Budelli too.”
Although he is eighty-one-years-old, Morandi has a lot of energy for someone as old as he is. He got marooned on the desert island during a trip from Italy to Polynesia. He was planning to sail his catamaran across the world but found its engine failed, and he floated toward the beautiful island not too far from home.
Since that time, Morandi has taken care of the island and shared many pictures with viewers online. Because of his adoration for the natural landscape of the Isle of Budelli, he has become a beloved hermit associated with it.
However, the government takeover of Budelli merged it with La Maddalena National Park, which has challenged the hermit’s rights to the land. Although he has a large following online, he doesn’t seem to have the right to remain on the island now that the government has added it to the other national park. This has the hermit very upset since he has been apparently squatting on the island for more than three decades.
“I’m ready to do all I can to stay here, even if that means they’ll have to drag me away. I wouldn’t know where else to go live, certainly not back home in the north, nor what to do — this is my life. I just don’t see myself playing cards or bowls,” Morandi tells CNN Travel in Italian.
However, in 2016, the park’s then-president, Giuseppe Bonanno warned Morandi that there were “several legal problems” with his being on the island.
“Morandi symbolizes a man, enchanted by the elements, who decides to devote his life to contemplation and custody,” Bonanno said. “No one ignores [his] role in representing the historical memory of the place … But it’s hard to find a contractual arrangement for a person in his position.”
An online petition has been launched to give Morandi the chance to die on the island as its sole inhabitant. However, the Italian government does not seem keen on letting him win this battle.
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