North-West of La Maddalena, Budelli is the sixth biggest island in the Archipelago. It is surrounded by a body of water known as I Passi (Passo del Topo and Passo degli Asinelli), just like the islands of Razzoli and Santa Maria, the closest to Bonifacio Strait. Budelli’s jagged coastline opens in several really white sand bays, thus offering visitors dreamlike beaches.

If you get to Budelli, a great panoramic viewpoint worth seeing is Monte Budello trail, the highest point in the island with its 88 m. To reach it, you must follow the path starting from the keeper’s house and going up through the Mediterranean scrub, until the top. Once you are there, you will be able to enjoy an amazing view of La Maddalena and Bonifacio Strait.

Budelli island is quite solid and compact, with an estimated surface of 1.7 square kilometres and an estimated perimeter of 9 km. Despite its modest size, there are many small watercourses which drain the small elevations of the island during the wet season and finally flow into the sea.


In the north-eastern part of the island, the Spiaggia del Cavaliere is a wonderful natural swimming pool overlooking Porto della Madonna, a spectacular body of water amongst Budelli and the close-by islands of Razzoli and Santa Maria. The beach has very fine white sand and the vegetation behind consists of the typical Mediterranean scrub, which will bewilder all visitors. The shallow sandy water is perfect for families with children. Due to the constant erosion of the shore, as explained via several scientific studies, the beach is only partially open since Summer 2020.

Highly popular all over the world thanks to its colours, the Spiaggia Rosa is located in a wide inlet in the south-eastern part of Budelli. On the north side, the beach is sheltered thanks to a little rocky promontory, which is very jagged, while on the opposite side there is a much higher elevation and, right  behind, junipers form a sort of ‘belt’ and protect it from western winds. 
Its name comes from the presence of a high percentage of bioclasts, mostly derived from the fragmentation of bryozoan shells, particularly
Myriapora truncata, and of foraminifera, specifically Miniacina miniacea. This bioclastic concentration is due to the concurrence of many factors: the seabed and coastline morphology, an extended meadow of Posidonia oceanica and low-energy currents’ trend. To preserve this fragile equilibrium, the Spiaggia Rosa is subject to integral beach-protection measures. In fact, to safeguard this habitat, it is forbidden to: swim, sail, anchor and stop in the marine area in front of the beach. 

Also, access to the shore is not permitted, but the Park has put several boardwalks to allow visitors to admire this wonder, in full respect of nature, to protect it for future generations too.

Pic: Mirko Ugo

Plant formations

Budelli’s flora is characterised by typical Mediterranean scrub, predominantly juniper, lentisco, alaternus, myrtle, heather, cistus and euphorbia. Towards the coast, the vegetation slightly changes into garrigue, with low plants emanating intense scents: helichrysum, Artemisia caerulescens, rosemary and wild lavender. Sometimes, amongst the low scrub you might find small clearings which collect rain and humidity. During the Spring, many orchids - Orchis, Ophrys e Serapias - bloom in these fields, as well as the annual daisy or Bellis annua, the bunch-flowered narcissus or Narcissus tazetta, and Iridaceae like Crocus minimus and Romulea requienii.

Amongst the rocky ravines, it is worth mentioning some relevant endemisms: Arum pictum, Dracunculus muscivorus, Bellium bellidioides, smearwort or Aristolochia rotunda insularis. In addition to these, wetter sites and small caves often host the following: Nananthea perpusilla, mossy sandwort or Arenaria balearica, and Cymbalaria aequitriloba. We can also find the endemic Evan rotundata, Cistus inca us and Anthyllis barba-jovis. Sheltered from the winds, these other species grow: Helichrysum italicum subs. microphyllum, Artemisia caerulescens subs. densiflora, Rosmarinus officinalis, Stachys glutinosa and Lavandula Stoechas. 

Pic: Tommaso Gamboni


Budelli hosts several animal species. We can remember the marginated tortoise or Testudo marginata, the rarest of the three types of terrestrial turtles living in Italy, Bedriaga’s rock lizard or Archaeolacerta bedriagae, uncommon endemism in the Archipelago, and the Thyrrhenian wall lizard or Podarcis tiliguerta. At night it is also possible to sight geckos, for instance the Phyllodactylus europaeus or the Tarentola mauritanica. 

There are plenty of migratory birds: the flamingo or Phoenicopterus ruber), the black stork or Ciconia nigra, the grey heron or Ardea cinerea, the European storm petrel or Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis, the black-winged stilt or Himantopus himantopus, the honey buzzard or Pernis apivorus, the black kite or Milvus migrans, the Western osprey or Pandion haliaetus, the marsh harrier or Circus aeruginosus, the gull-billed tern or Gelochelidon nilotica, the gannet or Sula bassana, the cormorant or (Sula bassana), il cormorano or Phalacrocorax carbo, the common sandpiper or Actitis hypoleucos, the plover or Charadrius dubius, the dunlin or Calidris alpina, the grey plover or Pluvialis squatarola, the greylag goose or Anser anser and the mallard or Anas platyrhynchos.

Other peculiar highly-protected species nesting here have a major role: Audouin’s gull or Larus audouinii, the common tern or Sterna hirundo, Scopoli’s shearwater or Calonectris diomedea, Manx shearwater or Puffinus yelkouan, the European shag or Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii and the herring gull or Larus cachinnans.

Pic: Mirko Ugo





Bibliographic source: La spiaggia Rosa e l'isola di Budelli, by Marco Leoni, Fabio Presutti, Luca Bittau. Paolo Sorba Editore.

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