Tuna fishing is a five hundred years old tradition in Sardinia. A fact of cultural heritage and habits, of ancient know-how and manual skills, as well as a matter of rigorous practice, technique and quick instants, slightly cruel and spectacular at the same time. Main actors are the so called “running tunas” (in Italian, “tonni di corsa”): they use to pick the warmest waters of the Mediterranean sea to stop by and settle. What they don’t know is that their adventure will turn into one of the most colorful events in the Sardinian calendar, now become as familiar as a sort of a “ritual”.
The scenario hosting this yearly appointment is the San Pietro Island, a former Ligurian colony located in the south-west of Sardinia. Carloforte, as the island is more widely known, is symbolic of a deep relationship between man and the sea, something so deep that reflects also into local customs, architecture, artisanal skills, as well as song culture and tastes. The Tonnara of Carloforte is the venue dedicated to the tuna fishing: it consists of a white block of buildings overlooking the sea, and today this is the only tuna village still working in the whole Mediterranean region.
Its history dates back to the XIX, when the traditional tuna work was already in place. The ritual of fishing follows precise stages: experienced fishermen are able to detect the route of tuna since when they are in deep Atlantic bottoms, and manage to drive them spontaneously to the tuna village, where an intricate structure of nets has been previously set up in order to get tunas inside with no exit strategy. When the tunas grow in number and shape, this makes it the right time to start the fishing. The final part of the “show” takes place in the so called “death-room”, accordingly dedicated to deathful event, which is also very impressive.
Throughout time, the Girotonno, as the event is called, has become a popular celebration in the Sardinian calendar, attended by many people from both the Island and abroad. Tuna is only one of the many reasons to attend the appointment: in fact, it offers you a few days overwhelmed by arts, music and tasty recipes. This year, from May the 30th and June the 2nd, big artists are going to perform on stage: Renzo Arbore and his Orchestra Italiana, Fedez, Francesco De Gregori and Renga will warm up the already mild nights of early summer in Carloforte. Also, during the day guests will be entertained by amazing tours around the most beautiful corners of the island, expo and art performances, and many delicious recipes to taste and judge.
Check the official website of Girotonno 2015
[Photocredit: Alessandro Cani]