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My sweet memories of Li Galli Island…

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Aland of rocky coasts, cliff-top scenery, emerald seas and azure skies, the Amalfi Coast has never failed to captivate with its many picturesque locations. And just off the coast, east of enchanting Capri and southwest of cheerful, sunny Positano, you’ll find the Le Galli archipelago. In the midst of the sea’s sparkling clear waters, these three islands have enthralled many travelers throughout the centuries with their natural beauty that harmoniously combines a dreamlike marine setting with legend-infused history. It was precisely here that Homer’s mythological sirens were said to have lured Ulysses to the archipelago’s glittering beaches with their seductive serenade.

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The many luxurious terraces provide breathtaking views from all angles

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With Mr. Russo

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Saltwater pool

 The main island, Gallo Lungo, aside from being stunningly beautiful with its quiet rocky coves and shimmering inlets, is also steeped in history. It hosted an ancient Roman monastery as well as a 14th century tower built as a defense from invaders. The limpid waters and jagged cliffs provide a contrasting backdrop for these ancient structures, and throughout the years the whimsical charm of the island has attracted a wide variety of painters, poets, actors and celebrities. Some of the most famous guests of this little corner of paradise include Greta Garbo, Sofia Loren, Franco Zeffirelli, Ingrid Bergman, Jaqueline Kennedy, and Roberto Rossellini.

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A cozy church with a quiet garden ready to host a romantic wedding ceremony or any unique celebration that one can imagine. A location to make any exclusive event truly special and memorable.

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In 1919 Russian choreographer and dancer Leonide Massine instantly fell in love with Le Galli, and upon purchasing it, converted it into a private residence. Here he built an illustrious villa on the original Roman structure, and subsequently had it decorated following the advice of his close friend, architect Le Corbusier.

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The beauty of this villa perfectly exalts that of the island: If one wishes to admire a panorama of stunning bougainvillea covered Positano, they can simply gaze out of the villa’s bright and airy bedroom windows, while feeling the gentle salty sea breeze as it caresses their face. On the other hand, leisurely swinging on one of the many hammocks in the large terrace garden, one can admire Capri while breathing in the fresh scent of the surrounding gardens, gazing at the golden sun as it quietly sets into the sea.

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Mr. Russo’s Office

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The interiors of Giovanni Russo’s villa

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One of the rooms of the central house, each one with different mosaic motifs

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One of the many bedrooms giving an enchanting panaroma of the sea and nearby Positano

 Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev purchased the island after Massine’s death, and further developed the lush gardens as well as intricately decorated the villa in an exotic Moorish style, donning it with gorgeous 19th century tiles imported from Seville, Spain. Still to this day, room after colorful room never ceases to surprise with its astonishing array of bright and complex tile work, each pattern different from the next.

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The Rudolf Nureyev Tower

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Rudolf Nureyev’s favorite sofa

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And his room

 In 1996, celebrated Sorrento hotelier Giovanni Russo purchased Le Galli, and made it available for private rental. Since then, a select few have had the possibility to come and enjoy the warm waters of the intimate beaches, to splash around in the refreshing saltwater pools as they look upon the tranquil sea, and to explore the surrounding cliffs and the exotic mysteries they hide. Le Galli is easily accessible to yachts and motorboats, and one can curiously explore the cozy inlets and intimate rocky grottos, or go snorkeling and scuba diving to admire the slew of underwater treasures to be found. Here, everything from parasailing to helicopter tours becomes an enticing adventure to further explore the lush landscape and sparkling waters.

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 In one of the villa’s many beautifully equipped kitchens, decadent meals are prepared with the freshest ingredients, plucked directly from the island and its surrounding waters. One can spend the evening sipping a cocktail on the quiet terrace overlooking the bright blue sea, while taking in the smell of fresh-caught fish as it sizzles on the grill, imagining what colorful array of vegetables, grown directly in the island’s green gardens, might accompany the main dish that evening. If one wants to dine out, they can set sail and dock at either Capri, Positano, Sorrento, or Naples, all within close proximity, and with a variety of 15 Michelin star restaurants to offer diners nothing short of the best Italian cuisine has to offer.

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Fresh cherry tomato sauce

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A buffet of fresh-caught fish and garden-harvested vegetables

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Various intimate terraces of the villa

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The tower’s kitchen

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© 2015 Mila Anufrieva.