7 things to see in Carloforte, Italy

Weekends on the island of Carloforte

Carloforte was once an enclave of the Genoese Republic in Sardinia, which is why the dialect and traditions of Liguria are still preserved here. Carloforte is the “capital” of the island of San Pietro, located in the southwest of Sardinia, opposite the coast of the Sulcis Iglesiente region.

The shores of San Pietro are high and rugged, in the northwest the height of the shore reaches 150 meters. At the highest point of the island, Cape Sandalo is the westernmost lighthouse in Italy.

Among the coastal cliffs you can find small sandy beaches, which are washed by the clearest sea. Rare species of birds, such as the peregrine falcon and the Audouin gull, nest on the steep coastal cliffs.

The salt marshes near Carloforte are home to many birds, including the magnificent pink flamingo.

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The island is covered with dense Mediterranean maquis, exuding the heady scent of rosemary, frankincense, strawberry, pine, and dwarf palm. The latter is one of the oldest members of the Mediterranean flora. In August, the characteristic yellow-red dates ripen on them.

Ancient megalithic monuments, or nuraghes, testify to the fact that man settled here already in times immemorial. The Carthaginians called San Pietro “the island of the hawks.”


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Carloforte was founded in 1738 when King Charles Emmanuel III granted the land to a few Genoese families living in Tabarca (Tunisia) who had moved there from Pella in the 16th century to mine coral. But two centuries later, they were constantly harassed by the Tunisian beys, who turned them practically into slaves.

Charles Emmanuel III dreamed of taking the island of San Pietro away from the corsairs who had made it their base. That is why he gave it as a concession to Don Bernardino Genovese, giving him the title of Duke of San Pietro and decided to relocate the Genoese from Tabarca to it. As stated above, the town appeared in 1738: it was built by the engineer A. de la Vale. Subsequently, the old town was destroyed by fire and it was rebuilt from brick.

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San Pietro is famous above all for its beaches. On the shores of the island there are sandy areas (these are, for example, La Bobba and Guidi beaches), and the rocky beach of Cala Fico attracts fans of snorkeling with many colorful fish. At some distance from the shore of the water rise “Columns”, two stone cliffs height of 16 meters. Currently, they are recognized as natural monuments.


Of the many traditions preserved in Carloforte, the local cuisine stands out. It is becoming increasingly popular, primarily due to the two culinary festivals developed by the local authorities: “sagra del couscous tabarquino”, dedicated to Tunisian couscous in the version of the Genoese settlers, and “girotonno”, dedicated to tuna and a million dishes made of it.

How to get there

The ferry goes to San Pietro from the ports of Calasetta and Portoscuso. The whole trip takes 30-40 minutes. The nearest airport is in Cagliari, which receives flights from the main Italian cities: Milan, Turin, Bergamo, Verona, Venice, Bologna, Genoa, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples. For those who want to get to Sardinia by sea, you can take ferries from the ports of Genoa, Livorno, Civitavecchia, Naples to Cagliari, Olbia and Portotorres.

10 things to do in Italy

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Italy is home to several volcanoes, active and not so active. The most distinctive of them, of course, is Etna on the island of Sicily. This beauty can be admired at any time: if the volcano is dormant, hundreds of travelers climb it daily, if there is an eruption, it is better to watch it from a safe distance, for example from nearby Catania. In any case, you will be guaranteed an unforgettable experience and spectacle.

In addition to raging Etna is also worth to visit the no less restless volcano islands Stromboli (emphasis on the first syllable) and Vulcano, which lie in the Tyrrhenian Sea, close to Sicily. Also of interest are the giants that have already calmed down: the famous Vesuvius (in Campania) or the lakes formed in the craters of extinct volcanoes, such as Bracciano or Albano (both in Lazio).

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2. swimming in the four seas

The Italian boot is surrounded on all sides by the waters of four seas, each beautiful in its own way. The Adriatic (in the east) offers recreation on the magnificent sandy beaches of resorts such as the partying Rimini or the calm Lido di Jesolo, which is very close to Venice. The Northwest coast of Liguria is the Côte d’Azur, literally a stone’s throw from Monaco, Nice and Cannes. There are hundreds of romantic coves, the many kilometers of the Road of Love, built on rocks along the coast and one of the most beautiful places in Italy, which is called Cinque Terre. The Tyrrhenian Sea (in the southwest) will appeal to both sandy beach lovers and rocky shore adherents. Also Tyrrhenian waters bathe one of the most colorful regions of Italy – Campania. And finally, the Ionian Sea (south-east), which part of the coast is the most undeveloped tourist area of the country (the regions of Puglia and Calabria). There are still no chartered aircraft, hundreds of five-star hotels are not built, so most beaches of the Ionian Sea you have a good chance to rest easy.

3. See the Alps and the lakes

In addition to the four seas, Italy also has four beautiful lakes. In fact, there are many more, but it is the four Alpine lakes that have become world-famous. Lake Maggiore is located on the border of two regions, Lombardy and Piedmont, but it is best reached from Milan, although it is also possible from Turin. The islands (Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatore) are a must visit. Lake Como is not far from Maggiore and Bellagio, Varenna and Villa Carlotta are recommended places to visit. The most unknown and small lake is Lake Iseo, near Bergamo. In addition to the town of the same name, be sure to visit the tiny island of Loreto with its castle. And the largest of the four lakes is gorgeous Garda where you can spend more than a day. Sirmione, Desenzano del Garda, Riva del Garda, Limone del Garda, Malcesine, Salo (emphasis in “o”) – this is not a complete list of things to admire on Lake Garda. By the way, just half an hour away is the famous city of Romeo and Juliet, Verona.

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4. Live in a lemon grove or vineyard

If you are tired of traditional city or resort hotels, then you should consider agrotourism. In Italy it is very well developed. For example in the region of Tuscany you can stay in an old villa in an olive grove or vineyard. Farmers’ hotels La Loccaia and Podere San Giusto will be happy to host you, and maybe even allow to watch or to take part in the production of olive oil or wine. For those traveling to the island of Sicily, the Galea Farm House Hotel, surrounded by lemon groves, can be recommended as a habitat. Cook your own Limoncello every day there.

5. Buy excellent wine for a couple of euros.

Since we started talking about alcohol, it’s a sin not to mention the delicious wine that is produced in Italy. And the prices for it are not the same as in our supermarkets. At the same time you can find on the shelves absolutely adequately priced cheeses (Mozzarella, Parmesan), ham (Parma) and delicious Italian “pomodori”. Add some bread to the basket and you have a great, and most importantly, a profitable Italian lunch/lunch/dinner (underline).

6. Try as many local dishes as possible.

Speaking of Italian wines, you can’t overlook the local cuisine, which is rightfully considered one of the best in the world, and for some, the best without options. Pasta, pizza, lasagna, risotto are the first things that come to mind. But there are also all kinds of variations of meat, fish and vegetable dishes. And what desserts are in Italy! One tiramisu is worth giving half your life for. Save the other half for panna cotta, cannoli or gelato.

7. Have breakfast in a bar and dinner in a real trattoria

We’ve discussed the cuisine, and now we need to decide where to get to know it best. Try to get away from the main attractions in the major cities, or generally go for dinner somewhere in the countryside (you can also stay overnight there). Avoid restaurants that offer menus in English (half of the dishes you can easily understand even in Italian), and be sure to look closely, who among the visitors, tourists or locals. If you want to feel like a hundred percent of locals, then in the morning run into small bars and eat a traditional coffee with croissant right at the bar, because this is how all Italians have breakfast, often on the way from home to work.

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8. Experience provincial Italy

Once you’ve had enough of the big and pompous cities, where you’ll find tourist information offices and leaflets in different languages, head for the countryside, preferably somewhere in the south. Without knowledge of Italian in just a couple of hours you’ll learn to communicate masterfully with the help of gestures, facial expressions and, perhaps, some Russian words, because so much of our languages are similar. If you have problems with local transport or get lost – you will have a great chance to get a free guide, and sometimes a driver with a car, in the face of one of the locals. And with luck, your excessive curiosity or in any other unusual situation you risk to be invited to dinner or at least a glass of wine from the personal cellars of the owner. And all this against a background of wonderful Italian flavor: laundry hung under the windows, medieval streets and squares and, of course, shouting locals.

9. Go to a soccer match

It’s no secret that along with pasta, wine and pretty Russian girls, Italians are crazy about soccer. To feel the true heat of passion, of course, you have to go to the stadium. The best way to go to a match of the Italian national team, because the locals are fierce patriots of their country, and if everything is mixed up with soccer, then the passion will be great. No worse than going to a Champions League game or, at worst, Europa League, where the best clubs of the continent are fighting. Well, if none of the above mentioned are expected during your visit to Italy, do not worry, you will not be left without a show. Check the calendar of the national championship and go to a match of one of the three whales of Italian soccer: Juventus, Inter or Milan. If the game itself is less important to you than the atmosphere in the stadium, then choose a match involving Napoli, whose fans are considered the craziest in Italy.

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10. Not forgetting the shopping.

You’ve had your rest, you’ve eaten and you’ve had your fun. Well, time to pack your bags and head back home. But first let’s remember that Italy – is also the world’s trendsetter in fashion, which means that it would be absolutely unforgivable to leave here without a couple or three new things. For them you should go to Milan, or rather in its suburbs – Fashion Village Fidenza Village. Here you can find more than 90 boutiques, offering discounts on clothing and shoes up to 70%, and during the sales even more.

And the last, bonus point #11 What do I have to do in Italy? Once you have visited this country, you need to fall in love with it out of your mind and leave here a piece of yourself to return to the Apennines again and again … During one trip you can hardly fulfill all ten points. Then do at least the last eleventh, and all the rest will come true sooner or later.

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