"I hope that someone can protect it as well as I have," Mauro Morandi said of Budelli, the Mediterranean island he has called home for years
Mauro Morandi
Mauro Morandi
| Credit: youtube

After more than three decades of calling the small Italian island of Budelli home, Mauro Morandi is being forced to leave its pink-sanded shores.

Morandi, 81, has been the caretaker of the island, off the coast of Sardinia, since 1989. That year, he had stopped at Budelli on his way to the South Pacific when his catamaran broke down, The Guardian reported, and decided to stay after learning that the caretaker at the time was retiring. The story has inspired his nickname as Italy's Robinson Crusoe.

Now, Morandi is deciding to leave after five years of being threatened with eviction by local authorities. In 2016, the island's private ownership went bankrupt, and the land eventually became public after back-and-forth between a potential New Zealand buyer and the Italian government.

The situation prompted a Change.org petition for Morandi to be able to stay.

"I have given up the fight," Morandi, who has been living in a former World War II shelter on the island, told The Guardian this week. "After 32 years here, I feel very sad to leave. They told me they need to do work on my house and this time it seems to be for real."

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The La Maddalena National Park authorities have plans to turn Budelli into an environmental education destination, according to The Guardian.

Morandi won't be moving far, though: he's going to live on La Maddalena and said that his day-to-day life won't be too different.

"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."

"I hope that someone can protect it as well as I have," he said of his beloved Budelli.