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Family Adventure in San Pietro Island


Last summer I was in Sardinia with my family, in a small town called Su Guventeddu (a typically Sardinian name, as you have to know that the Sardinian dialect is officially recognised as a language of its own), near the city of Cagliari, in the South. Some friends of ours were camping at San Pietro Island, less than two hours’ drive away from there, so we decided to go and visit for a one-day outing.

Even for an absent-minded, chaotic family of five like ours, it was amazingly easy to take the boat that from Calasetta brought us to Carloforte, the only town in the “Isola di San Pietro”. The wait was not long at all, the weather was fantastic as usual, and the trip was so relaxing that mum even managed to fall asleep! But the best was –of course- yet to come: as we approached the island our eyes started to widen with surprise at the sight of a miriad of super-colourful houses that seemed to float on endlessly blue-green water. How beautiful it was!

Our friends immediately took us for a tour of Carloforte: in about one hour we walked it all with ease, stopping at each pretty market stall, at each wonderfully-smelling bakery, and admiring the tall brick wall that used to defend the population from pirate invasions in the old times. What I particularly loved, however, were the two huge trees in the main square, over a hundred years’ old, underneath which all the elderly inhabitants of San Pietro seemed to have gathered on benches and chairs for the daily chatting time. The whole thing was very welcoming and cheerful. And that was just the ‘civilised’ bit of the island! To our delight, our friends had a motorboat and a rowboat with them, so we split up and put out to sea to reach a beach they already knew, south of Carloforte, that was half rocky, half sandy. There was no-one else except from us and it felt like we were in a private heaven of vivid colours and natural beauty! Closeby was a beautiful series of cliffs carved by the water and the wind, often partly cave and accessible from the bottom so that you could actually row underneath them. Besides, in a more sheltered part of the coastline a block of pink smooth rocks emerged in funny shapes and curves that provided us children with great material for games, for most of the afternoon.

Leaving our friends and San Pietro was very sad and we all wished we could stay longer, but on the bright side we ended the day with one of the yummiest pizzas I’ve ever had (and I’m Italian!) in Calasetta, at the Pizzeria Murales right in the middle of town (although it has to be pointed out that there were many attracting restaurants at every corner…but we felt like pizza that night). It was also very nice to look at the seemingly unending lines of boats and yachts of all kinds parked in its small harbour, and we even met a couple of Sardinians wearing their complex traditional costumes. Such a great little holiday!

Practical tips: the island is not an ideal place for very small children unless you just want to stay in Carloforte. It is also quite unsuitable for people who have problems walking because Carloforte has many steps and steep streets, and beaches are not always very smooth. If your budget is tight, take your food with you from mainland Sardinia because San Pietro tends to be quite expensive. Snorkels and goggles are worth bringing. Enjoy 🙂

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About Author


This travel guide is written by Irene Negri 20, Italian, passionate about reading, writing, traveling and learning languages. Currently a student of International Development and International Relations in London, Irene speaks five languages and has recently started to study her sixth (Arabic, quite a challenge!). She dreams of working for an NGO and learning to fly biplanes, while discovering as many cultures and countries as possible. Up to now she has traveled a bit around Europe and taken part in a 6-month school exchange programme in New Zealand, and she will soon spend a semester in Istanbul as part of her degree (thus trying to master Turkish as well...). Very sociable and lively. Irene will be happy to answer any question about her travel writings at kerinkfoof@gmail.com.