A man who has lived alone on a tiny Italian island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea for more than 30 years says he will leave his longtime home soon.
Mauro Morandi, known by many as the Italian Robinson Crusoe, has been living on the island of Budelli — located off the coast of the large island Sardinia — since the late ‘80s. But after several years of legal battles, Morandi announced Sunday that he will soon move off the island.
According to The Guardian, Morandi’s life as the caretaker of the island began in 1989. Then in his 50s, Morandi, a native of Modena, attempted to sail from Italy all the way to Polynesia. However, his trip didn’t last long — his catamaran broke down just off the coast of Budelli, a mere 200 miles into his trip.
While shipwrecked on the island, Morandi fell in love with its famous pink-sand beach and gorgeous ocean views. As fate would have it, the then-caretaker of the island was nearing retirement, and Morandi agreed to take over his role.
Since his arrival, Morandi has made his home in a World War II bunker and looked after the island. He conducts tours for day travelers, cleans up trash and make sure visitors don’t venture into parts of the island that are off limits.
Morandi hoped to live out his life on Budelli. But about a decade ago, the private company that owned the island went bankrupt, starting a years-long legal battle about the island’s true owner — and who is permitted to live there.
According to CNN, La Maddalena National Park took over ownership and conservation responsibility of the island in 2015. The park has hoped to turn the World War II bunker into a nature observatory, but Morandi has fought the decision at every turn. Thousands of people have signed online petitions to support his right to stay on the island.
But in a Facebook post on Sunday, Morandi, now 81, said his time on the island is nearing its end. He said he would soon move outside of La Maddalena, a city on a larger island just off the coast of Sardinia.
“I’ll be living in the outskirts of the main town, so will just go there for shopping and the rest of the time keep myself to myself,” he told The Guardian. “My life won’t change too much, I’ll still see the sea.”