Home Travel This island off the Amalfi coast in Italy is picturesquely shaped like...

This island off the Amalfi coast in Italy is picturesquely shaped like a dolphin

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– Andrea Gallucci / Shutterstock.com

An island off Positano has the distinction of resembling a dolphin. Focus on this island which has had multiple functions throughout history.

A picturesque island

A few kilometers off the coast of Positano, an island floats happily, similar to a cetacean’s side-leap out of the water for fun. Among this archipelago named Sirenusas or Gallos, it is the only one whose astonishing form takes that of a dolphin. Her name Gallo Lungo – the big rooster – may seem surprising but refers directly to ancient mythology.

The mythological lair of the ancient sirens

Indeed, according to the ancient Greeks, mermaids used to rest on island rocks to distract sailors. Far from the current representation of the mermaid – that of a bewitching body of a man or a woman extended by a fish tail – the mermaids of Antiquity had on the contrary a frightening human head as well as the body of a bird. . Thus, we better understand why the island of the archipelago is called Gallo Lungo.

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An island with multiple functions throughout history

In addition to a particularly picturesque geography, the island Gallo Lungo has an equally interesting history. The island is first a monastery, then a prison before becoming a watchtower used throughout the 13th century, during the reign of Charles II king of Naples.

From the ballet of a dolphin to the Russian ballet

Owned by the municipality of Positano in the 19th century, the island was sold to the Russian dancer and choreographer Leonide Massine in 1919. The latter then carried out many works, assisted by the famous architect Le Corbusier. The old watchtower becomes a dance studio, and a villa is built on the ancient Roman ruins.

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The refuge of a runaway dancer

When Massine passed away, possession of the island fell to another Russian ballet dancer; Rudolf Nureyev at the time on the run from the KGB. The latter brings many improvement works: the restoration of the villa, the landscaping of the gardens, the establishment of a better water supply system.

An island now accessible to visitors

Now, it is thanks to the hotel developer Giovanni Russo who bought the island in 1996, that it is possible to discover its secrets to only a few lucky chosen ones. Although everyone can swim along its coasts, only residents are allowed to dock there.

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