The guard change that lasted 29 years: the loner of Budelli Island

Mauro Morandi disembarked on a pink sand Italian island and never again left his post as Budelli watchman.


El cambio de guardia que duro 29 anos el solitario de la Isla Budelli Saga Creativa Saga Nature Saga Travel Storytellers
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The island of the Maddalena archipelago, in southern Italy, was two days away from being left without a guardian, when Morandi decided, on the spot, that he would leave behind his whole life to take the vacancy and stay to take care of the paradise he now calls home.

In 1989 the currents took his weak catamaran to the shores of Budelli Island and he felt a call to stay. Shortly after he established himself as the caretaker of the island, the Italian Government recognized this territory as a place of high natural value and forbade the entry of tourists, with the purpose of taking care of its unique pink beach and crystal clear seas.

With an island to take care of, Mauro Morandi has dedicated himself to cleaning and protecting its flora and fauna. His days consist of collecting the plastic that the waves bring and educating the tourists that he finds. His friends, as he describes them, are books; he makes wooden sculptures and his favorite moments are sunsets. According to Gisella Deputato, producer of CNN, he lives with two cats and two chickens.

“Beauty is where there are no people”

In 2016, after a legal battle with an interested New Zealand buyer, Budelli was officially declared as part of the Maddalena National Park. Following this incorporation, he was about to be evicted, but with the support of 18,000 signatures it was determined that he could continue his guard indefinitely. He wants to die on the island, be cremated and have his ashes fly all over paradise.

To learn more about his story, you can watch the Great Big Story or National Geographic report or follow him on his Instagram profile @maurodabudelli