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Li Galli archipelago: where mermaids swim

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Aug 142020Li Galli archipelago: where mermaids swim Li Galli archipelago or "of the Mermaids", where Ulysses, the protagonist of Homer's Odyssey, managed to resist the siren song by being tied to the mast of his ship, on the advice of the sorceress Circe. And where the Argonauts were saved thanks to the sound of Orpheus' lyre, which emitted sounds more powerful than those of the mermaids.
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Li Galli archipelago or "of the Mermaids", where Ulysses, the protagonist of Homer's Odyssey, managed to resist the siren song by being tied to the mast of his ship, on the advice of the sorceress Circe. And where the Argonauts were saved thanks to the sound of Orpheus' lyre, which emitted sounds more powerful than those of the mermaids.
The latter, for humiliation, threw themselves into the sea, turned into stones. One of these, Parthenopes, before committing suicide decided to swim to the coast, which since then took the name of Neapolis ("new city"). The mythological place where she died is remembered by the beautiful "fountain of the Mermaid", in Mergellina in the center of Jacopo Sannazzaro square.

The first to tell of these islands was Strabo, a Greek geographer of the 1st century BC in his "Geography", identifying them as the headquarters of the mermaids and giving them the name of Sirenai or Sirenussai. Today the archipelago belongs to the municipality of Positano, a few kilometers from the Sorrento Peninsula and consists of three islands: "Gallo Lungo", "La Rotonda" and "Dei Briganti". Gallo Lungo is the largest of the three and is the only one to have been inhabited since Roman times, as documented by the remains of a maritime Domus.




The approach of the mermaids to the Li Galli archipelago is not accidental. In fact, in Greek mythology, the obstacles and dangers to which sailors were subjected were represented precisely by the mermaids. In that stretch of sea, the currents are such as to lead the boats to crash into these islands. The toponym "Li Galli" could derive precisely from the mythological figure of the archaic Greek mermaid, which should not be confused with that of the contemporary collective imagination that sees the mermaid as a figure half woman and half fish, but was half human and half bird.

In 1225, Frederick II of Swabia donated the three islands to the monastery of Positano, calling them "tres Sirenas quae dicitur Gallus", while today they are part of the Marine Protected Area of Punta Campanella, in which there is also a sanctuary dedicated to Athena (Athenaion).

The archipelago has always aroused the interest of well-known personalities. In 1924, the Russian choreographer and dancer Leonide Massine bought the archipelago, erecting a magnificent villa on the ruins that the French architect Le Corbusier embellished. The ownership then passed to another very famous Russian dancer, Rudolf Nureyev and shortly after his death in 1993, the archipelago was entrusted to other private individuals.

The islands can only be reached with your own boat and despite being tiny they deserve a tour for the splendor of the landscape and the clear water of the gulf.

Have a look at our selected luxury villas for rent on the Amalfi Coast and enjoy an unforgettable holiday!






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