CARLOFORTE: CARIBBEAN SEA & AFRICAN SOUL
enjoy the quiet life on the Mediterranean
Imagine an island about the size of New York’s Manhattan but covered entirely with junipers, rock roses, lentiscus, myrtles, wild strawberry trees and rosemary. Well, not entirely. On the west coast, next to a large marsh inhabited by red flamingoes, lies the town of Carloforte. Now, Carloforte is Sardinian only by geographical location. In fact, all of its inhabitants are descendants of the Italian town of Pegli – since 1995 part of the town of Genoa. And they all speak their own language, Genois d’Otre Mer. That’s the Genoise dialect spoken by the former colonies of the Marine Republic of Genoa.
Everything began when the Lomellini family of Genoa obtained territorial concessions on the island of Tabarka, next to today’s Tunis. In 1542 they left Liguria with numerous families from Pegli and moved to Tabarka. There they established a trading station and started to fish for coral, which they also worked into jewellery.
Relations with African rulers were difficult, so much so that in 1738 they asked King Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy for help. The ruler of Piedmont, Liguria and Sardinia granted them the use of the then-uninhabited island of San Pietro. Other families from Genoa joined the Tabarkines. The marshes next to town were drained and turned into sea salt works. In 1770 the remaining families that still lived in Tabarka came to Sardinia and settled on the island in front of San Pietro by founding the town of Calasetta.
In San Pietro, you’ll find high vertical cliffs that open here and there to small and large beaches of white sand. The water next to the beach stays shallow for long traits. Which means you can enjoy brilliant blue colours – from pale blue close to the shore to turquoise, and from dark green to dark blue.
Explore the island on its many trekking paths. Dive into its waters. Or enjoy some birdwatching. In fact, San Pietro is home to very interesting birds, like the sea falcon (Falco Eleonorae), who comes for the summer from distant Madagascar.
Let’s sail for Carloforte to discover what you can expect in this unique Mediterranean sea town