• By: Edward Piegza

    1/23/2012

  • Our head guide in Tuscany, Luciano, just called in with an on-the-spot report from Giglio Island. Read on to gain some personal insight into events there and how the local people rallied to help the ship’s passengers.

    I’ll turn it over to Luciano:

    When I heard about the Costa Concordia shipwreck last Saturday morning in the news, it didn’t seem real. It was right in front of the Giglio Island, where it feels like home. We travel there in our “Coastal Tuscany and Pisa" tour; it is beautiful and un-touristed. So many of our guests have enjoyed the day we spend there, when we walk from the port, through an ancient trail up to the cozy medieval village with its stunning views of the sea and the continent. The water has different shades from blue to light green and when the sky is clear you can see Corsica. One of our friends there, 80-year-old Mario, works in his garden and skillfully shows us how he weaves his baskets. He even takes us to his cellar, a medieval stall, toasting with us from his own wine production.

    American friends wrote in, asking if what they saw on TV was the place they had explored with us. As a native guide, I worked together with my colleagues in the Classic Journeys’ head office in 2006 to create this wonderful exploration, looking for such warm-hearted locals as Mario. Out of other islands in Tuscany we chose this one for its beauty and for being less crowded in the southern part of the region; far away from Florence and other well-known cities. During the Renaissance, the Medicis, Grand dukes of Tuscany, named it the “Giglio”, which means “lily”, the flower symbol of Florence.

    Giglio
     

    When the shipwreck happened, several of those same local people we meet in the Giglio Island were up all night, assisting the thousands of passengers that landed ashore. Shops stayed open all night: the local café with warm drinks and food, the general store with blankets and food, the clothing store with clothes, the hotels with hospitality. And the same thing happened on the mainland when they came to Porto Santo Stefano and the Argentario. No one could believe it. Inhabitants’ solidarity came out fully in one night.

    The news keeps on giving reports, as more details are coming out. In Italy it takes most of the news—prime time on TV—and people talk about it all the time. It seems that this is touching people’s hearts more because many see themselves in the people on that cruise. I won’t really get into the news details, but as an Italian guide familiar with the island and working with the public, I would like to express that my deepest thoughts go out to all the people that suffered and died and families that lost loved ones. As reports have stated, evidence shows human mistake, such as the fact that the ship was far away from its allowed course, came too close to land and the rocks. Not even local ferries that travel daily many times back and forth venture near those rocks. From a professional point of view I would like to say that what happened doesn’t reflect the way we work here. My colleagues and I care deeply, making sure guests and fellow travelers are not only having great times, but also are safe and well cared for on their vacation to Tuscany and Italy.

    Thanks, Luciano for such a thoughtful report of what’s going on in Giglio with rescue efforts.

    Luciano is one of Classic Journeys’ most popular and senior guides worldwide. He leads departures of Coastal Tuscany & Pisa, Tuscany & the Cinque TerreTaste of Tuscany, and our Tuscany Family Journey.

    If you have questions about events in Giglio, or if you want to talk about Classic Journeys’ Coastal Tuscany & Pisa tour or any of our other cultural walking adventuresculinary tours, or family journeys elsewhere in TuscanyItaly or around the world, drop us a line at blog@classicjourneys.com or download an itinerary.

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