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Mauro Morandi interview: the solitary guardian of Budelli island in Italy

Is it possible to live alone on an island? 5 minutes with Mauro Morandi, the guardian of the pink island

Most of all already heard of him, Mauro Morandi, the notorious guardian of the island of Budelli in Sardinia, famous for its pink sand. I thought it would be appropriate to contact him and share with you his experience of life on an italian island: the island of Budelli.

Hi Mauro it’s a pleasure to meet you and interview you. You are the only resident of Budelli island. Can you tell us how you got there and how you chose to live alone?

I have always been a protester in school and in politics and family before. I ran away from home the first time when I was 9 years old; evidently, with my readings, I really convinced myself that I lived in a bad society: a consumer society that convinces people to buy, to have, to own things and in this way destroy nature. I love nature and so I wanted to leave: to go to Polynesia and start again, starting again with other values.

I came here to work and to earn money with tourists and then finished paying the debts I had with the bank, I went to Polynesia and there were 5 of us. But as soon as I arrived here, strangely enough, the caretaker who was here before told me that he was leaving after two days and I arrived two days before he left. Who knows what it was, fate, chance, luck, I don’t know: in any case I have been here for 31 years and I feel good. I also love loneliness; I’ve been living in quarantine for thirty-one years in winter, you can always tell why nobody comes here in winter. We are in the bocche of Bonifacio, the fifth windiest place in the world so it is very dangerous to sail. Only a friend of mine comes three or four times to bring me groceries on a good day but there aren’t any tourists.

If we want to visit you, where exactly is the island?

The island is located in the bocche of Bonifacio, in the middle between Sardinia and Corsica in the archipelago of Maddalena which is now a National Park. It ‘a very small island called Budelli and we say that the surface is about 170 hectares and the only house that exists on the island is this: the militant house of the Second World War because we were at war with France so here was an avan place, a lookout. I live in this house restored by the owner who was the owner of the island until it went bankrupt and then the island was sold and bought by the State; now it is given in management to the Park.

You’ve written several books. Will you introduce us to your work and give us a brief description?

book mauro morandi
“La poltrona di ginepro”

No, I haven’t written several books. I made a book of photos but they are not the representation of the landscape; I take photos, I process them with a program that I have on tablet and I try to put my various moods into them. This is in order to push those who see my photos, to go beyond the surface because I realized that when people look at beauty they only see it on the surface, that’s why they want to have it, possess it and therefore destroy it. What happened here on the pink beach; now it’s not pink anymore because they took away tons of it. When they saw this beautiful pink, they took it away thinking of taking away some beauty without thinking that beauty is not an object but an abstract thing that must be perceived with all the senses and not only with possession: the hiss of the wind, the backwash of the sea, the colours, the contrast between the pink of the beach and the blue of the sea and the green of the Mediterranean flora. It is here that beauty was perceived and not in a jar in the house that now when they look at it they see only a bit of sand.

book mauro morandi

I made this photo book “An Island” which are not just photos because the captions are phrases that try to make people understand my moods and what I wanted to communicate. Then I made another book my personal story to answer everyone’s questions about why I left the company and what happened: I started writing this book and since every now and then I published a page of what I was living under my profile, I was contacted by Rizzoli telling me that she would like to publish my book and if I agreed. So now this book “La poltrona di ginepro, italian version”.

Thanks very mich Mauro for your availability and I share his every single thought and I respect him for the choice of life he has managed to make. Respect!

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