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 (www.sardiniangems.com).
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.