Nature surrounding the Island of Cavallo still retains clear traces of a distant past, dating back to about two thousand years ago. In fact, Cavallo was the favourite island of the Romans, who left evidence of excavations on the white rocks dotted over this territory. Traces of the Romans date back to the Imperial period, left by artisans who quarried the extraordinary granite with which they decorated the noble villas of their masters. The reason why the Romans did not settle in this area remains a mystery. You can still find traces of these excavations today, especially in the Double Plage
Scholars also detected the presence of Ibero-Ligurian tribes, the same as the ones that settled in Corsica and Northern Sardinia.
Over time, the island became a base for boats coming from Tuscany, stopping in the island’s bays, before starting off again towards the Corsican cities, like Bonifacio and others, taking with them coal to feed the small local industry. Then, in the Fifties, it was also used as a shelter for fishermen who sailed between Corsica and Sardinia, passing through the Strait of Bonifacio.
Lastly, towards the end of the Sixties, Cavallo’s history underwent a change, when Jean Castel, one of the most famous Parisian nightclub owners, bought the entire archipelago of Lavezzi. He then went on to sell it to Corsica, in exchange for permission to build a few little houses on the only gem he wanted to keep for himself: Cavallo. Thus, some small villas were built, as well as a small harbour and, later on, even a clay airstrip, for those who wanted to catch a birds-eye view of the island all in one go.
In 1972, there was still no mains water on the island, which did not arrive from the mainland until the Eighties. However, the water tanks built and used until that moment in time, were more than sufficient to quench the thirst of the few hundred people who had their summer residence on the island along with the visitors. The Hotel des Pecheurs was then built and has progressively improved its image over the years.
The Port was extended, thanks to a granite breakwater and new wooden piers. These new structures were designed so as not to overlap with the landscape. Inside the Village des Pecheurs is a residential area, located between the beaches and rock masses, with an almost lunar appearance. The villas are built with roofs, covered with ancient roof tiles and are finished with balusters and high quality wooden doors. They overlook the sea and have large windows made from heat insulating materials, positioned in beautiful natural stone
THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME
Why Cavallo? There are two maps, one from 1766 and the other 1787, on which the island is identified as Isola Cavalli, which is the plural form of Cavallo (Cavallo is the Italian word for horse). Later, on another map, dated 1831, it became Isola Cavallo. The reason for this is because, looking at the island from above, it is shaped like a horse, with a head, legs and a tail.