In the 17th century, the character Robinson Crusoe, an Englishman established as a farmer sugar cane no Brazil, ddecides to command a ship to the Africa to buy slaves. A strong storm causes the ship to sink in the sea of Caribe, on Despair Island. All the crew die, except Crusoe, his cat and the dog. The adventurer begins to live on the island and remains there for twenty years, in the company of only one native, called Friday.
Mauro Morandi, made Budelli an island in the Italy, your home also thanks to destiny. During a trip on the way to the South Pacific in 1989, his catamaran broke close to Sardinia. Since then, he has lived alone as a caretaker of the island paradise, known for its pink sand beaches, which earned him the nickname “Italian Robinson Crusoe”.
Unlike the famous character, Morandi never tried to return to his homeland in Modena, but now, at 81, he may be forced to do so by the Italian government, which intends to transform the region into an “environmental observatory”, by the end of the year.
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For the past 3 decades, this modern Crusoe has lived in an old World War II shelter and dedicated himself to taking care of the islet, cleaning its tracks, protecting untouched beaches and teaching vacationers about its ecosystem – he knows all kinds of rocks, trees and animals.
Almost a decade ago, the private company that owned the island went bankrupt. The plans to sell it to the entrepreneur were also wrecked New Zealander, Malcom Harte, who had promised to keep Morandi as a caretaker. In 2016, a judge in Sardinia ordered Budelli to be publicly owned again, and now the island is managed by the national park La Maddalena, the archipelago of which the islet is a part.
In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Morandi said he is on the verge of despair. Return to the land famous for balsamic vinegar, the opera and for being the birthplace of the car designer Enzo Ferrari, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea, but he can’t imagine returning to live in a big city. The last time he left Budelli was in 2018, to visit his children on dry land.
“The thought of returning to live in a society that treats nature badly is very distressing. Nature needs to be loved and respected, ”he told Guardian. The Italian Crusoe says he has no other home and would like to continue looking after the island.
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Your food arrives by boat from the main island of the Maddalena archipelago. The energy comes from a solar system, including internet connection. The account at Instagram (@mariodabudelli) has more than 50,000 followers.
During a pandemic of coronavirus, which hit Italy violently during the month of March, social distance was obviously not a problem. With no tourists to guide, he spends his days collecting firewood, reading and sleeping. Tourists were banned in 1990 from visiting the pink beaches, whose sand was repeatedly harvested as a souvenir, but can take boat trips and hike a trail.
When rumors about Morandi’s eviction emerged in 2017, thousands of people signed a petition to help him. This time, the local press reported on Tuesday 14 that the expulsion seems inevitable, with the justification that the Italian made changes to the historic house without government authorization.