Carloforte in Sardinia – A sleepy gem

Not many people , including Italians, have ever heard of the  island  of San Pietro (Saint Peter)  or its bustling port town, Carloforte, hidden  gems  off the south coast of Sardinia.  Last summer,  I was fortunate to spend a long summer in Carloforte ,  guest of some Italian friends who own a  couple of  properties on the main island of Sardinia and Carloforte (

I sensed   I was about   to arrive to  a  special place  when, on the ferry , I first sighted Carloforte, the main port town of the island.  With its quaint cobbled streets  the town rises in a half moon shape up the hillside. Carloforte’s cafes , seafood restaurants and palm trees line the waterfront  where   ferries harbour so close  that  you can almost touch them.   The town with its ancient balconied  buildings is full of history  and it is a place where the bakeries and fishmongers outnumber heavily  tourists shops.

I spent many days wandering around the town and  photographing the rugged, volcanic landscapes  of the island, the secret coves and its handkerchief – sized yellow  colour beaches.  The island turquoise waters are ideal for snorkelling, high diving or sailing .

Down the centuries the inhabitants of San Pietro have been coral hunters, slaves to African pirates and finally tuna fisherman- Today the island  is still  running one of the last mattanze left in Italy. Every May and June the tuna are lured down a deadly corridor of nets to la Mattanza – the killing- a very gory spectacle!  The islanders have never turned their hands to tourism which is why the island still remain a hidden paradise. No one would go to the Maldives anymore if the island was to embrace mass tourism. I am happy if  this wonderful  little island remains unknown to mass tourism for years to come.


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