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Island's Lone Resident Leaving After 3 Decades

Mauro Morandi, 81, has been caretaker of Italy's Budelli since 1989
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2021 12:28 PM CDT
Updated May 1, 2021 7:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Mauro Morandi is known as Italy's Robinson Crusoe, for good reason. As the BBC explains, the 81-year-old came across the Italian island of Budelli while at sea in 1989—and he never left. That's about to change, however. Morandi is decamping against his will after being the island's lone inhabitant for 32 years, reports the Guardian. Over that stretch, Morandi has functioned as the island's official caretaker, living in a radio hut built during World War II. Among other things, he keeps island paths clear and educates visiting tourists about the locale and its famous pink beach. Though once in private hands, the island is now managed by national park officials, who have been pushing for Morandi to leave for the last few years.

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"I have given up the fight," he says. "They told me they need to do work on my house and this time it seems to be for real." Park authorities plan to turn the island into a "hub for environmental education," per the Guardian. Though more than 70,000 Italians have signed a petition calling for Morandi to be allowed to stay, he is packing up for the nearby island of La Maddalena. There he will live in an apartment and be surrounded by other people for the first time in decades. But "I'll still see the sea," he says. "My life won't change too much." (Read more Italy stories.)

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