The Archipelago of Li Galli, a paradise amidst nature and legend

Li Galli sits between Capri and Positano. It comprises three islands of amazing natural beauty. They have become essential parts of folklore.

Gallo Lungo, La Rotonda and La Castelluccia are the three islands of Li Galli. This latter is a tiny piece of land, located between Capri and Positano. It represents one of the most suggestive and spectacular venues in Campania and in the Mediterranean area. 

The Archipelago of Li Galli is also known as Le Sireneuse. According to an ancient legend, Sirens once lived in this area. They used to bewitch the sailors, who were dropping by, with their singing. But what do mythology and today’s men say about the Archipelago of Li Galli? 

The Archipelago Li Galli, a natural beauty between history and legend 

The Archipelago of Li Galli is just a few kilometers south of the Sorrento Peninsula. Its three small islands are part of the protected marine reserve of Punta Campanella

Gallo Lungo is the biggest of the three and the only one populated since the Classical era. Originally, Gallo Lungo accommodated a monastery. This latter became a prison during the Kingdom of Charles II of Naples, towards the end of the thirteenth century. The Aragonese Tower was later built during the fourteenth century to monitor the attack of pirates, and is still present today. 

Going back to the mythology linked to Li Galli, it looks as if in this territory Parthenope, Leucosia, and Ligeia, the three sirens of the Odyssey. Sailors, seduced by the singing of the three creatures, crashed against the rocks of the islets. According to mythology, Ulysses’ ship only and that of Argonauts were able to escape their sad fate. 

Therefore, the name Le Sireneuse derives from the myth of the three Sirens, as it is the name Li Galli: in Ancient Greece, these creatures were not half women half fish but rather half women half birds. The Archipelago of Li Galli, literally meaning “the roosters,” is dubbed after the juxtaposition between “feathered” sirens, and chickens. 

The Archipelago of Li Galli, a paradise for celebrities

Sirens were not the only famous inhabitants of the islands, which welcomed feudal and governing families, intellectuals, artists, and entrepreneurs. Indeed, the charm of Li Galli and its natural beauties enchanted lots of people throughout history. Among the celebrities who crazily fell in love with the Archipelago of Li Galli, choreographer Leonide Massine is one to remember.

In 1924, he decided to build a sumptuous Villa. This latter underwent restoration works in 1937, overseen by famous architect Le Corbusier, who also designed a panoramic viewpoint. The viewpoint welcomed a mosaic fountain at its center, which overlooks Capri’s Faraglioni and, on the opposite side, the various jutting terraces whose view is on Positano and the Amalfi Coast. 

When Massine died in 1979, Soviet dancer and choreographer Rudolf Nureyev inherited the Villa. Still, Li Galli welcomed lots of VIP part of the star system: from Anna Magnani to Franco Zeffirelli, Sofia Loren, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Aristotle Onassis.

The charm and beauty characterizing The Li Galli Archipelago received official recognition not only by the star system but also by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, which in 1987 declared this area an “important area of archeological interest”.

Being the islands a private property, you can visit the Archipelago Li Galli by invitation only. Nonetheless, it is possible to admire the grandeur of the Archipelago from a boat tour, which leads you to discover clear water and of the suggestive landscape of the three islands. 

Photo by VesuvioLive