A 79-year-old man who shunned society to live alone on an Italian island has earned a legion of social media fans after documenting his solitary life on social media.

Mauro Morandi has called the stunning Isle of Budelli, which lies between Corsica and Sardinia in Italy's Maddalena archipelago, home since 1989.

He arrived when his catamaran's crippled engine forced him towards the island's shores, where he learned Budelli's caretaker was retiring.

Disillusioned with modern society, Mr Morandi sold his catamaran, inherited the caretaker's shack and never went back to his old life in mainland Italy.

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For 29 years, he's lived alone near a rose-coloured sandy beach called La Spiaggia Rosa and woken up to beautiful sunrises.

Now, in the quiet winter months, he spends his time editing his pictures and uploading them onto his Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.

'The pictures represents my mood and state of mind,' he told MailOnline.

But while the colder months can be lonely, he draws more than 1,300 tourists to the island in the summer.

'I'm really happy because they want to know this crazy man that lives on the island by himself,' he added.

Mr Morandi said at first, he'd been standoffish with visitors but mellowed over the years and now gives tours.

He added that he lives on the island because he 'respects nature' and laughs at the question of ever returning to the mainland.

'If I had to go, maybe I would go to Sardinia and I would live by the sea but I wouldn't go back to a big city… I wouldn't make it,' he said.

'I don't even have a car here to go and get food.'

He does, however, travel to Modena to see his two daughters a few times a year.

But while Mr Morandi would like to remain on the island for the rest of his life, the decision is out of his hands.

In 2016, the government took over the island and made it part of La Maddalena National Park.

Although that meant Mr Morandi had access to the Wi-Fi that was installed for visitors, it also meant his right to remain on the island was challenged.

A protest challenging the decision garnered more than 18,000 signatures - but he remains in limbo.

Since 2016, Budelli has been a government-owned national park, rendering Morandi's role obsolete.

'The island has been acquired by the state and I am here until the new president of the park decides what to do with me,' he told CNN.