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Other Islands - Sardinia

The next five islands are situated at the three extremities of Sardinia. They are all different from each other but still enchanting and attractive. Ragged coasts alternating with white cliffs, brush-wood contrasting with the roughness of the rock, white beaches and rocks smoothed by the sea and the wind: these are the distinctive features of the isles of Asinara (province of Sassari), San Pietro and Sant'Antioco (province of Cagliari), Tavolara and Molara (province of Sassari).The Sulcitan Islands
The Sulcitan islands of Sant'Antioco and San Pietro lie at the south-western tip of Sardinia. They are very beautiful and captivating with different landscapes, dunes covered with junipers and sheer cliffs rising up from the sea. These two triangular portions of land have a 1000 year history. The archaeological sites of the area are quite interesting.
 

Sant'Antioco

Sant'Antioco is the largest of this group of islands and by size the second minor Italian island after the Isle of Elba. As a matter of fact it is a 'false island in that it is joined to Sardinia by a very old isthmus built by the Carthaginians. It has a millenary history. The Phoenicians were the first to reach the coasts of Sardinia in the IX century B.C. and to build Sulcis on the island of Sant'Antioco. The Punics first and the Romans later both called it "Plumbea" and exploited its very rich mines. There are two small cities: Sant'Antioco, one of the oldest Phoenician settlements in Sardinia (VIII century B.C.), and Calasetta, the charming little port in the northern part of the island. The island is covered with scrub and some areas are also rich in dwarf palms. In spring the island is filled with fantastic colours and fragrances. Fresh tuna, lamb and grilled pork are its most renowned dishes. The sweets called "sebadas" are delicious. Two wines are produced here: Sardus Pater and Trebbiano.

 
San Pietro

This island is situated at the south-eastern tip of Sardinia and is half an hour away from the Sulcis. Its coastline is a series of ragged and sandy areas. The backland hills are covered with scrub interrupted here and there by cultivated fields and pine-woods. The island has a very long history and has had many names: the Phoenicians called it "Inosim, the Greek "Hioera" or "Nesos"; the Romans "Accipitrum Insula. Its present name is derived from a legend which tells the story about the apostle Peter who once landed on its shores during his journey to Rome. Its recent history is just as rich and unique. This rocky and impracticable island remained uninhabited for centuries until 1736. Charles Emmanuel III of Savoy then conferred it to the descendants of the Ligurian families that had been forced to settle in Tunisia during the XVI century. That is why San Pietro has Ligurian and Arab tastes and characteristics which can still be seen in the colours of the houses in Carloforte (named after the sovereign) and in its tastes (the cascà, derived from the Tunisian cuscus, and the Ligurian specialities, such as the panisse, the farinate and the buridde) as well as in its sounds (the inhabitants still speak with a strong Ligurian accent).

 
Asinara

This narrow, 17-kilometre-long and 408-metre-high Punta della Scomunica tongue of land lies just a mile from Punta Falcone at the eastern tip of Sardinia. Shepherds and fishermen lived there until the end of the XIX century; the Italian State then built a penal colony on the island. Today there is a special prison that excludes this island from all tourist itineraries. Boats are allowed on the island only in case of serious problems or if the special permit (which is quite difficult to obtain) has been granted by the Italian Ministry of Justice. A 23-kilometre-long road joins the northern Punta dello Scorno with the southern settlement of Fornelli located near the remains of the Castellaccio, the hideout of a Levantine privateer. The best landing area is along the eastern coast located on the northern side of the roadstead called La Reale.

   
Molara

This private and deserted 160-metres-high twin-island of Tavolara lies a mile away from Punta Coda di Cavallo. It can be reached by boat or rubber dinghy from the nearby Porto San Paolo. The Local Tourist Authority (Pro Loco) organises excursions both to Molara and Tavolara (tel.0789/4040760). The marine environments are highly appreciated by divers. The eastern side is characteristic of the coasts of Gallura and is by far the most beautiful one with its granitic rocks shaped by water and wind. The remains of the old settlement of Gurgumay and those of a castle built during the Middle Ages to defend the island from Saracen attacks are still visible on the island.

   
Tavolara

This block of limestone has a unique history. After remaining uninhabited for centuries it became the worlds smallest 'kingdom' during the XIX century. Most of this island which lies opposite the port of Olbia is closed to public access because there is a Nato base located there. It can be reached only by private or rented boats and the journey takes about half an hour from the ports of San Paolo and Taverna. For centuries wild goats have been the only inhabitants of this high and rectangular-shaped island that was the first sight of Sardinia to welcome the ships sailing back from the continent. The Corsicans settled there at the beginning of the XIX century and Charles Albert the King of Sardinia decided to appoint Paolo Bertoleoni King of Tavolara in 1836. The graves of members of the Royal Family can still be seen in the small cemetery located in the lower part of the island where there is a small landing area and two restaurants. The rest of the island is made up of rocks and of oleaster and juniper woods.

Food & Wine
The Sulcis coastline region, in the south-west of the province of Cagliari, in the areas of Portoscuso, Calasetta, S. Antioco and the Island of San Pietro, are places of great interest and curiosity for their cuisine. In San Pietro the cuisine of the Carloforte fishermen with its northern-African and Genoese traditions prevails. The most famous dishes are: a vegetable soup with "pesto carlofortino", the "pasta con pesto carlofortino", the "cascà" which is the local cus-cus made of legumi and the various tuna dishes. The famous wines of the Cagliari area are: the white wine "Nuragus", whose origin date from the pre-Roman age, "Nasco" which nowadays is being rediscovered again by the best Italian gourmets, the "Malvasia D.O.C.", the "Girò" and the red wine "Monica".

 
For more information:  


www.sardegnaturismo.it

For the Sulcitan Islands: For the Isles of Asinara, Tavolara and Molara:
E.P.T. Cagliari
Piazza Deffenu, 9 - 09125 Cagliari ITALY
 
E.P.T. Sassari
Viale Caprera, 36 - 07100 Sassari ITALY
 

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