Italy's Robinson Crusoe - What Italy's famous hermit did next
January 24 2022
6:44 AM
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Italy's Robinson Crusoe

What Italy's famous hermit did next

Story by Silvia Marchetti

Story   Source

Published on October 1, 2021 5:34 AM
Morandi has been sharpening his skills as a communicator. After years of solitude he's now eager to talk to people, exchange views and post photos and comments on social networks to interact with the world. He's also been writing his memoirs. Morandi, originally from Modena in northern Italy, arrived at his former home on Budelli in 1989 by accident while attempting to sail from Italy to Polynesia. He fell in love with the atoll's crystal-clear waters, coral sands and beautiful sunsets -- and became its caretaker.
For nearly 33 years he lived a hermit life on a beautiful island in the Mediterranean, where he was the sole inhabitant.

Mauro Morandi, known as Italy's Robinson Crusoe after developing a loyal online following, was caretaker of the Sardinian island of Budelli, embracing silence, solitude, and the peacefulness of nature while living in an old beach stone hut.

There was no social buzz, no fancy food, no friends -- his only companions were birds and cats. He slept on a cot and had few clothes. Forsaking all comforts, he preached a monastic existence of self-reflection and meditation on Budelli's pink beach dotted with coral dust. Then his blissful world came to an end.

After years of struggling with marine park authorities that wanted to evict him to turn the isle into an environmental observatory, in May Morandi accepted his fate. After posting a pithy message of resignation -- "My balls are broken" (slang for "I'm fed up") -- he left.

Moving home and starting a new life can be tough for anyone. Even more so for an 82-year-old who has spent three decades living a solitary existence on a paradise island. Is it possible to move on and readjust? Says Morandi, the answer is an emphatic "yes!"

"It's never really over," Morandi tells CNN. "I'm the living proof that a second, new life is possible. You can always start all over again, even if you're over 80, because there are other things you can experience, a totally different world."

Proving his point, Morandi has apparently been thriving since moving back to civilization on the inhabited island of La Maddalena, not too far from Budelli. "I'm happy and I have rediscovered the pleasure of living the good life and enjoying everyday comforts," he says...

Budelli island

Budelli is an island in the Maddalena archipelago, near the strait of Bonifacio in northern Sardinia, Italy. It is one of the seven islands that comprise Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park.

Budelli is several hundred metres south of the islands of Razzoli and Santa Maria. It has an area of 1.6 square kilometres and a circumference of 12.3 kilometres . The highest point is Monte Budello, at 87 metres .

In antiquity, the Romans used the island. More recently, it was the site of some of the filming for Red Desert, released in 1964. For decades, the island had a series of private owners.

Budelli is especially renowned for its Spiaggia Rosa , on the southeastern shoreline, which owes its colour to microscopic fragments of corals and shells, such as Miriapora truncata and Miniacina miniacea, and was featured in Antonioni's 1964 film Il deserto rosso . Budelli was one of four uninhabited islands in the Maddalena archipelago—the others being Caprera, Spargi and Razzoli. However, from 1989 to 2021, the island had a permanent caretaker, Mauro Morandi, who took over from a married couple.

Rules imposed as of the 1990s by La Maddalena NP have not allowed tourists to walk on the pink beach or swim in the sea; however, day trips by boat, as well as walking along a path behind the beach, were permitted.

In October 2013, the island was to be sold for €2.94 million to New Zealand businessman Michael Harte after the bankruptcy of the previous owner. Harte intended to protect the island's ecosystem. The government protested, and after a three year court battle, a judge in Sardinia reverted the island to the state, with the national park planning to use it for environmental education.

The sole former occupant of the island, Mauro Morandi, lived there from 1989 until his eviction in April 2021. To explain why he could not be allowed to live on the island indefinitely, the park's president said in 2016: ' symbolizes a man enchanted by the elements who decides to devote his life to contemplation and custody ... 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.'