San Mamiliano dei Turchi: an heroic Tuscan legend from Giglio Island

Giglio Island was accustomed to pirate raids. For centuries, pirates and buccaneers landed on its shores and pillaged with unspeakable ferocity. Yet, on that fateful November 18, 1799, the situation was desperate. It required an heroic act. An heroic act that has become legend.

The legend begins on November 18, 1799, as mentioned above. The Tunisian assailants reached the bay of Giglio Campese in overwhelming numbers. Their fleet consisted of two frigates and five xebecs. All the ships had the flag with the crescent moon. The island was invaded by a flood of pirates.

Giglio Island people were few in number and almost helpless. Yet, they didn’t quailed. Giglio Island people fired for more than seven hours from the defensive towers of Giglio Castello. Despite being overwhelmed. Despite logic and mathematics gave them practically for dead. Giglio Island people did not give up even when the soldiers of Campese tower fled and stopped firing.

But Giglio Island people won that desperate battle. Courage gave them the force to repel the invaders. They relied on San Mamiliano, protector of the island. Here the legend begins. According to which, a multitude of soldiers appeared on the walls of Castello and frightened the Tunisian pirates.

This was the miracle made by San Mamiliano. Since that time, to commemorate the victory, Giglio Island celebrate San Mamiliano dei Turchi (“San Mamiliano of the Turkish”) every year.


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