Li Galli is the name of a small archipelago located between the island of Capri and the city of Positano on the Amalfi Coast. It consists of the three main islands called Gallo Lungo, La Rotonda and La Castelluccia, and some smaller ones. The name Li Galli (“The Roosters”) refer to the Sirens that used to live here and had birds’ bodies with human heads.
Li Galli Archipelago Positano
How to visit
Since the islands are private property, you can only set foot on them if you are invited by the owner. Otherwise, the closest you can come is by taking one of the various boat tours of the Gulf of Naples.
Li Galli consists of three small islands called Gallo Lungo, La Rotonda (“The Round One”) and La Castelluccia. The group of islands is also sometimes known as the Archipelago of the Sirenusas, because it is here that the three mythical Sirens of Homer’s Odyssey, Parthenope, Leucosia and Ligeia, seducers of sailors, used to live. Their beautiful songs made sailors lose control of their ships so that they would wreck them against the rocks of the islands. The only two ships to not suffer this fate were the ones of Ulysses and of the Argonauts. Ulysses had his sailors’ ears stuffed with wax and himself tied to the mast when sailing by. The Argonauts got Orpheus to play his lyre. When the beauty of his music surpassed that of the Sirens’, the creatures threw themselves into the sea
In 1924 the island group became the property of the choreographer Leonide Massine. He had a beautiful villa built, which in 1937 was restored by Le Corbusier. The belvedere is decorated with a fountain with mosaics and offers a view of the island of Capri. The terraces on the opposite side of the villa have an unobstructed view of the Amalfi Coast.
In 1979 Massine died and Li Galli were bought by Rudolf Nureyev. The present owner is called Giovanni Russo. The island group ia part of a protected marine area called Punta Campanella.
Gallo Lungo, which was inhabited as far back as during the times of the Greek colonies, is the biggest one of the three islands. The length of this “Long Rooster” is no more than 400 meters, while at its widest point it is around half that. The island was originally occupied by a monastery, which in the 13th century was turned into a prison by Charles II of Naples. The so-called Torre Aragonese was constructed in the early 14th century.
La Castelluccia is also called the “Island of the Bandits” (Isola dei Briganti).