The coronavirus is catching the attention of the world by infiltrating just about every country at unforgiving rates.
Experts have been scrambling to learn everything they can on the novel virus and how it spreads and how it is destroyed.
But one little island is defying all the odds by staying virtually unscathed by a disease that has millions fearing the light of day.
Giglio Island is quaint and grand simultaneously with colorful homes built at the foothills of flawless, ancient green terrain on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
A castle stands prestigiously on the top of the erected land with granite steps that lead down to crystal blue waters.
An intricate and essential part of the Tuscan Archipelago this island hosts 800 Gigliesi, as the residents are called- who are all completely healthy!
The conundrum was first noticed by a cancer researcher who was stranded on the island when strict border control was initiated at the start of the pandemic.
Paola Muti was prepared to see mass chaos throughout the island, assuming the close knit community was going to spread the virus amongst each other like wildfire.
Those in the neighborhoods would gather together in the sharp declines of the alleyways.
But after waiting and waiting, COVID-19 never had its way with the people of Giglio, causing a fascination she couldn’t ignore.
And she wasn’t the only doctor who grew increasingly curious about the state of affairs.
Dr. Armando Schiaffino, the island’s only doctor for the last 40 years, was also concerned about an outbreak that never came.
“Every time an ordinary childhood illness, like scarlet fever, measles or chicken pox strikes, within a very few days practically all get” infected on Giglio, he said in an interview to AP News in his port-side office.
Muti began to ask a lot of questions she would typically inquire about in her line of work as a breast cancer researcher and professor at the University of Milan.
The doctors both wondered if there is a genetic component to immunity or if these islanders were just not showing symptoms.
The two brilliant minds collaborated on the small piece of soil so many call home.
“Dr. Schiaffino came to me and told me, ‘Hey, look, Paola, this is incredible. In this full pandemic, with all the cases that came to the island, nobody is sick.’ So I said to myself: ‘Right, here we can do a study, no? I am here,’” Muti exclaimed to AP News.
The only COVID-19 cases the island had seen was from a man in his 60’s who arrived on Feb. 18 to attend a relative’s funeral before dying back home on the mainland three weeks later.
On March 5, three more visitors from the mainland were diagnosed with Covid-19, one of which ate at local restaurants, mingled with locals, and even came to quarantine on the island after a bad cough and diagnosis kept him from returning home.
The Tuscan health office sent over test kits for the coronavirus antibodies and 723 of the 800 residents gave their blood in the name of science.
Simone Madaro works at the cemetery on Giglio and was present at the funeral the elderly gentleman who had passed away from COVID-19 attended.
“We all wanted to do it, to be tranquil,” Madaro said, but also he had hope “to help science.”
The Rev. Lorenzo Pasquotti, the priest who conducted the funeral service, recalled how at the funeral there was “hugging and kissing, as is the custom.”
Despite all this there were no outbreaks among residents and life has continued somewhat as normal- even when the media has desperately tried to get them to panic.
It will be interesting to see what conclusion the doctors investigating this phenomenon will come up with.
For now, know that it isn’t the whole world dying from a disease the media and health “experts” try to make you believe no one is immune to.
And it may not be a bad idea to look to this beautiful piece of paradise for your next cultured and safe Tuscan adventure.