Netflix's 'Rose Island': Who was Giorgio Rosa? This Italian engineer built a 400-sqm micronation in Adriatic Sea

Although short-lived, Rose Island was a bizarre tale of a man's dream for freedom


                            Netflix's 'Rose Island': Who was Giorgio Rosa? This Italian engineer built a 400-sqm micronation in Adriatic Sea
(Netflix)

As 'Rose Island's premiere looms closer, chatter around the Netflix Italian comedy increases as fans have been eagerly waiting for the foreign feature. The film tells the story of Giorgio Rosa, an Italian engineer who made headlines after creating his own micronation in 1967 that was separate from Italy. Although short-lived, Rose Island was a bizarre tale of a man's dream for freedom. The so-called country was just 12 kilometers away from Rimini, just outside Italy's waters.

It started with him designing the country by constructing a 400 square-meter platform that was suspended above the sea with support columns. Rosa declared himself the President and also proclaim independence on Respubliko de la Insulo de la Rozoj, which translates to 'The Republic of Rose Island'. Much akin to other countries, Rose Island had an administrative structure including ministers for internal and foreign affairs. Quite simply, he saw it as a nation that was not part of Italy as it was on international waters. 

Despite what many people thought was incredibly amusing, Rose Island was practically a country in development. According to Yahoo, the place comprised of a restaurant, nightclub, bar, souvenir shop, and post office. It also had a form of currency known as 'Mill' and saw people reading about the buzz and dropping in at Rose Island to have a look. To have a structure at a time of global unrest was unforeseen, and as much as the curiosity it generated, the Island also raised eyebrows.

Eventually, it was the Itay that took the step of declaring war on Rose Island deeming it as Rosa's plan to raise money from tourists sans taxes. In addition to claiming the island being used as a place for drinking and gambling, politicians even claimed the island posed a threat to national security. That in fact, it could be a cover for Soviet nuclear submarines just added to the many conspiracies it was accused of. 

It was less than two months after Rosa declared independence that Italy burst in with the military in 1968 to take control. February 11, 1969, was an eventful day as the Navy blew up the platform using dynamite. Rose Island was later submerged by a ravaging storm and now is at the bottom of the Adriatic sea. Although Rosa died in 2017, the story of his micronation is discussed to date.

According to BBC, producer Matteo Rovere said the film was about Rosa's resilience. "He didn't want to surrender against the law, because the law in the 60s was that if you were more than six miles from the coast, it's nobody's land, so you can do what you want - just like if you were on the Moon."

"And so he built the island, which was incredible because it was very complicated. He built it with four friends and a very small group of workers, in six months. He invented the technology to do it, and he was very proud of the technology. In fact, when we spoke to him [about making a film] he was not very interested in the story, but he was enthusiastic to tell us about the technology he had invented to build it," he added. Before his death in 2017 at the age of 92, Rosa met with the filmmakers and, gave them his blessing to adapt the story for a film.

'Rose Island' debuts on Wednesday, December 9, on Netflix.

If you have an entertainment scoop or a story for us, please reach out to us on (323) 421-7515