San Pietro is the westernmost island of Italy. Due to its structure, it appears as the ‘Island of an Island of a Peninsula’ , which gave name to one of the many cultural events animating the streets of San Pietro’s only settlement: Carloforte. The town of Carloforte was founded in 1738 by settlers from Pegli, Liguria, on their way back from Tabarka, on the Tunisian edge of the Mediterranean Sea, a coral-fishing spot since the 16th Century. What the Tabarkini brought to San Pietro wasn’t only the dialect, which still permeates the culture of the town, but a wider variety of customs and culinary habits learnt from the Tunisians. Altogether, these traditions make Carloforte a world apart from Sardinia, or, as someone might say, what lies ahead that strip of sea separating San Pietro from the arid and stark region of Sulcis. One can predict the uniqueness of Carloforte even moments before arriving in its harbor, gazing at its tree-lined avenue and then venturing into a countryside dominated by flourishing vegetations and small, picturesque cottages, gardens and vineyards. The Tabarkini, traditionally fishermen and sailors, do not share the quiet, pondering nature of Sardinians, being more sociable and outgoing: concerts, cinemas and theaters, gastronomic events and dancing festivals are far from being a tourist-only attraction. Rather, Carloforte’s liveliness never fades away: even in winter evenings one can see its main square – Piazza dei Baruffi - animated by the conversations of the elders and by the cheering voices of children at play.
Carloforte is not only an ideal locations for children, but is also appealing to anyone who seeks to chill out looking at the shoreline from a terrace surrounded by vineyards and trees. And what about the sea? The San Pietro Island, even though quite small, is likely to be circled within a few hours with a rubber boat. One of its main characteristics is the wide variety of the coastal landscape, which change in shape and colour every few meters, while satisfying any mood and wish: those of people who are looking for fishing, surfing as well as diving, snorkelling, or simply laying quietly on a paradise bay. If visitors own their boat, they will certainly find well equipped and efficient structures along the arbor, as well as the opportunity to rent it or take part in boat trip already organized. “Carloforte – elderly people say – implies to sleep a lot and enjoy the good cooking”. Accordingly, in Carloforte the menu is pretty reach in choice and taste. Other than the renown “focacce and pizze” whose traditional recipe dates back to the ligurian colony, many restaurants offer high quality dishes affordable by any kind of “pockets”. Predictably, fish is a highly recommended try. Slow rhythm in Carloforte then, but always a very cheerful atmosphere!