Budelli’s guardian Mauro Morandi leaves the island: ” After 32 years, I’m sick of this”


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Budelli Island

“I’ve been fighting against those who want to send me away for around 20 years, even if I’ve always been supported, not only psychologically, by the island and by all of you. But now, I’m really fed up and I’m leaving, hoping that, in the future, Budelli will be protected as I’ve been doing for 32 years”.

Bye boys and girls,

you’ll see my photos again from another place. After all, Sardinia is all beautiful.

This is the short message written by Mauro Morando, 82, known as the “Budelli’s guardian” He moved there in 1989, following a shipwreck with his catamaran and has not left since then, becoming the island’s sole inhabitant and guardian.

Over the years, he has helped save the island of Budelli, the pearl of La Maddalena archipelago with its pink beach, from vandals and rubbish (without even asking anyone for a euro). The beach is now no longer accessbile because many irresponsible tourists have stolen large quantities of sand in the past.
In an interview with Il Resto del Carlino, he stated: ” At the end of the week I’ll go to the town of La Maddalena and sign the rental contract for the little flat where I’ll be staying. And here in Budelli, work will start on renovating the little house where I’ve lived for over thirty years”.
La Maddalena National Park already wanted to kick Mauro Morandi off Budelli a few years ago. The building occupied by Morandi, a former physical education teacher from Modena who decided 30 years ago to leave city life and retire to the island like a modern hermit, became the property of the Park in 2014. The Park has now decided to demolish the buildings deemed unlawful by the municipality of La Maddalena and restore the old building to be used for activities to enhance the site.
The following is what we wrote about Mauro a couple of years ago.

Mauro Morandi, Budelli islandMAURO’S STORY

Mauro Morandi, 79, arrived on the Budelli island in 1989 on board a 16-meter catamaran.
He was to make a short stop, just a few hours, to learn the ropes and then, following in Moitessier’s footsteps, reach Polynesia. After almost 30 years, he is still there. He is the island’s sole inhabitant, watching over and protecting this paradise as Budelli’s guardian. Mauro doesn’t cost anything, he lives on his baby pension as a physical education teacher.

Some time ago, he told: ” The Park says I can’t stay any longer because there are no safety conditions and because they obviously can’t hire me as a caretaker. Is this the right reward for my efforts to defend the beach? Who has concerned about my safety until now? Don’t let me die in advance, leave me alone. Alone, I’m not askinh anyone for anything anyway.

His is the story of a failed navigator. “In the seventies I taught physical education in Modena. I stuck it out for a few years, then I had the opportunity to take an early retirement and I took it. I was a protester, an uncomfortable person. Later, he opened a vintage clothing shop with his partner. “It went well for several years. And the sea? “Mostly the mouth of the Po, which I sailed the length and breadth of for at least six years with a batana. Until a friend advised me to read Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull and I took off.

Budelli island
Budelli island


I discovered the sea with a 5-meter sailboat. I sailed for the first time from the Adriatic to Trieste. Later, I bought another 8-meter boat. I like sailing“. The turning point came in 1989, when Mauro decided to make his dream come true. Together with some friends, he bought a 16×9 metre catamaran to be restored. “I was tired of society, I wanted a different life,’ he told Fabio Pozzo of La Stampa some time ago. He wanted to reach Polynesia but stopped in Budelli because “the caretaker at the time was leaving. He had two days left. I saw that crystal-clear sea, the pink beach, coral like I imagined those in the Pacific, and I applied to replace him’.

He has never moved from there and has become the guardian of the treasures attacked by boorish tourists. Landing has been forbidden on Budelli since 1999, but if anyone dares, he’s in trouble. Even though Mauro is in his 80s, he still has an enviable physical shape and does not suffer from Robinson Crusoe abandonment syndrome. And he is not isolated from the world – he has a mobile phone, Wi-Fi and an iPad.


What does Mauro eat and how does he treat himself? ” I treat myself with this aloe plant: I eat it and it extends my life. Nettle, asparagus and chicory soups are my favourite dishes. In winter, I also have some mushrooms, but only when it rains. In spring, I make omelettes with seagull eggs. Until a few years ago, I could go fishing, but now I don’t have an inflatable boat and sea bass have become a rare privilege. I eat very little meat.

There are actually 8 inhabitants on the island: Mauro, five cats and two hens. Plus some bats and many mice. And, of course, seagulls which, from dawn to dusk, constantly watch over the pink beach. He lives in a small house built during the Second World War, a kind of fortress. He reads books every day and does Tai Chi exercises in the morning.

Even the Italian tv show Le Iene covered Mauro’s case. Click here to watch the service and here to send an-email to Fabrizio Fonnesu, President of La Maddalena National Park to to ask him to revoke the “eviction”.

(photos are taken from Mauro Morandi’s Facebook profile)



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