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U Pàize
Comune di Carloforte
Carloforte is located in Sardinia
Location of Carloforte in Sardinia
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Country Italy
Region Sardinia
Province / Metropolitan city Carbonia-Iglesias (CI)
 • Total 50.24 km2 (19.40 sq mi)
Elevation 10 m (30 ft)
Population (Dec. 2004)[1]
 • Total 6,488
 • Density 130/km2 (330/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Carlofortini or Tabarkini
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 09014
Dialing code 0781
Patron saint St. Charles Borromeo
Saint day November 4
Website Official website

Carloforte (U Pàize in Ligurian, literally: the village, the town) is a fishing and resort town of located on Isola di San Pietro[2] (Saint Peter's Island), approximately 7 kilometres (4 miles) off the southwestern coast of Sardinia, it is a town full of people from Sardinia Italy.

Carloforte was founded in the 18th century by some 30 families of coral fishers, originally from Pegli, near Genoa, Liguria. They had left their home town in 1541, and had settled in the island of Tabarka, off the coast of Tunisia, to fish for coral. After centuries, the coral in that area was exhausted[2] and so the families set off back to Italy and found there was plenty of coral in the sea off the west coast of Sardinia. They asked the King of Sardinia Charles Emmanuel III for permission to settle on San Pietro Island, at that time not inhabited. When he granted them permission, the island was colonized (1739); the name Carloforte (Charles the Strong, but also the Fort of Carlo) was given to the town they established there, in honour of the king. To this day Carloforte maintains strong cultural ties with the towns of Pegli and Genoa. The population still speaks a variant of Ligurian language called tabarchìn (or tabarchino, in Italian), completely different from Italian and Sardinian, is used even by most children and taught in the schools of the island.

A street in Carloforte.

The very early history of the town - and of San Pietro Island - may be linked to the so-called Children's Crusade of 1212. A local church (Chiesa dei Novelli Innocenti) whose foundations date back to the early 14th century was apparently built in honour of hundreds of children-crusaders who may have perished in a shipwreck just off the island on their way to North Africa during a gale. In truth, historical evidence of this event, well documented in literature, is actually scant in site, (except the remainder), and would need to be researched further. The church is called Chiesa dei Novelli Innocenti and is located within the town perimeter, is not currently used as a church (only one time in the year), but are considered a monument; it was the only evident remainder of building found at the time of colonization in 1739.

Modern-day Carloforte's principal sources of revenue are fishing, tourism, and remittances from the many merchant mariners around the world who hail from Carloforte. Frequent (hourly) ferry services connect the recently expanded port of Carloforte with the Sardinian mainland at Portovesme as well as Calasetta, a similar fishing port on Sant'Antioco Island.

To the north of the town (at the La Punta locale) is a collection of buildings that housed the former communally owned tuna-processing plant linked to the once-vibrant tuna fishing tonnare industry on the island. Some of the buildings have undergone renovation to some extent and now contain wind-surfing school and a new, privately owned tuna processing business. Some of the buildings are still in ruins, but remain of great architectural interest.

Excellent beaches, both rocky and sandy, line the coast of the island. Some of the cliff-top views are nothing short of spectacular. On the other side of the island from Carloforte is a functioning lighthouse (Capo Sandalo Lighthouse, now automated), locally known simply as 'il faro' and whose structure dates back to the 1880s.

Carloforte boasts a long-standing tradition of wooden boatbuilding. The industry is being kept alive by the dedication and skill of local craftsmen. Locally built traditional lateen sail fishing boats (luggers) can be spotted in the harbour. The town hosts a maritime high school, which remains well attended to this day.

Several boat chartering, diving, and tourist businesses are based in Carloforte. They can be found along its waterfront. The town offers good accommodation options, and excellent dining.

Twin towns – Sister cities

Carloforte is the sister city of the Spanish small island of Nueva Tabarca (near Alicante), which also was populated with Genoans from the Tunisian Tabarka, (some of the exiles moved there at the time of the exodus from Tabarca). While retains the Ligurian family name, and is aware of its origins, Nueva Tabarca has lost the use of Ligurian language.

From Tabarca exodus some families also moved to Gibraltar, where was integrated in the local Genoese colony, after which, small groups are integrated in the Genoese community in New York, London, and other port cities.


  1. All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
  2. 2.0 2.1  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Carloforte". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links