Saturday, December 18, 2010

Siren Islands: Li Galli

The most beautiful place I've been (to date) is the Amalfi Coast in Italy, specifically Capri and the archipelago of Li Galli. Li Galli are three tiny islands grouped together that consist of Gallo Lungo, La Castelluccia, and La Rotonda. Li Galli is one of the mythical locations of Odysseus's Sirens. In Greek Mythology Sirens were dangerous bird like OR mermaid seductresses who temped men near their islands so the men would shipwreck. In the Odyssey, Odysseus wanted to hear what the Sirens sounded like, so upon nearing the islands he instructed his men to plug their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast. When he heard their song, he ordered the sailors to untie him but they refused.  Post-Homeric scholars concluded that the Sirens were fated to die if someone heard their singing and escaped, and that after Odysseus passed they therefore threw themselves into the water and disappeared.

Il Gallo Lungo is the biggest island and it is the only one to have been inhabited since Roman times. In 1924 the American choreographer Leonide Massine had a majestic villa built on the ruins. The Architect Le Corbusier later made changes to the residence and it's currently owned and used as a weekend home by my wonderful friend Giovanni. 
Herbert James Draper 1909

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