Giglio Island derives its name from the Greek word “Aigilon”, which in Latin became “Aegilium”, due to the fact that it was inhabited by goats.
During the Etruscan domination it became a military outpost and under the Romans it was a quite important hub for trade and travel, so much that Julius Caesar spoke of it in “ De bello Gallico”.
It belonged to the Domizi Enobarbi’s family, to the Cistercian monks.In 805 Charlemagne offered the island to the “Abbazia delle tre fontane”. Later it became a property of various feudatories as Aldobrandeschi, Pannocchieschi, Caetani and Orsini.
In 1241, in the nearby sea waters King Frederick II’s fleet defeated the Genova’s fleet,that carried to Rome the priests called by Gregorio IX for the Council against the emperor.
From 1264 to 1406 the island was under Pisa dominion, in 1448 it was occupied by Alfonso of Aragon who sent many Neapolitan families and sold it to Pope Pius II and it becames a Piccolomini’s feudatory.
With the expansion of the Turkish Empire, the island suffered many attacks from the Saracens; in 1554 Khayr-al-Din, nicknamed Barbarossa, looted it and about 700 youth were brought away as slaves. The raids lasted on up to 1799 when the people of the island rejected the last incursion.
In 1559 it was bought by Cosimo de Medici’s wife, Eleanor of Toledo. When she died, it became part of the Grand duchy of Tuscany and was repopulated with people from the lands of Siena.
In 1873, at last part of the Italian Kingdom, it was used as a colony for deportation for people sentenced to house arrest. Such colony ended in 1893, after many complaints by the population.