On the island, then called Gallinara, Martin, destined to become Saint Martin of Tours, decided in his youth to seek shelter and live the solitary life of a hermit, before he joined Hilary of Poitiers in Gaul. The wreck of a Roman ship has been found in the waters of its coast.
The island is now protected as the Riserva Naturale Regionale Isola Gallinara, a shelter for the herring gull, with one of the largest colonies of this bird in the Mediterranean, and for rare plant species and stretches of intact shallow sea floor. It is also included in a SIC (Site of Community Importance) called Isola Gallinara (code IT1324908 ).
- Bollettino Ufficiale Regione Liguria nr.13 of 15-7-2009; the Ligurian SIC list is on-line at lrv.regione.liguria.it (access: July 2015)