Tavolara island

Coming to Olbia from the air or from the sea, we have all seen it, but not everyone knows it: the island of Tavolara. A granite and white limestone monolith with the appearance of a wall four kilometers long by one wide that stands vertical to nearly the height of 570 meters.

Tavolara, whose territory is under the protection and the constraints of the Marine Protected Tavolara -Punta Coda Cavallo, with the exception of the eastern side, not accessible because occupied by a NATO radio station, is offering different possibilities of approach to visitors. On the north shore, coming down dramatically vertical to the water, it is permitted from the park authority to anchor recreational crafts (only on sandy ground or moor to specially placed buoys to preserve the nature of the seabed). Contact the local authorities to learn about any changes to the rules. However, the nicest and most spectacular access to the island is from the half-mile stretch of sea that separates the island from the Sardinian promontory of Punta Coda Cavallo, 15 km south of Olbia. An authorized boat service runs to and from the mainland every half hour starting at the pier of Porto San Paolo and at the old landing dock on the island on the south side.
You can then reach the isthmus of Spalmatore Land: Long, thin and edged with beaches.

The island, which every July hosts the now famous Film Festival of Tavolara has a small community, stable in the summer months: a dozen houses and two restaurants. Tonino’s is not just any restaurant, but the remains of the glorious and little known memory of Tavolara. Tonino Bertoleoni is in fact the heir of Joseph Bertoleoni, the King of Tavolara. It is not legend but true story: in 1836 Prince Charles Albert of Savoy met Joseph, only inhabitant of the island with his family. A former smuggler, shepherd, sailor and a man full of charisma he had given himself the title of king. The prince, seduced from the authority of the self-styled pastor delivered him a document that attests to the sovereignty of the island. The consecration came a morning of the year '900, when the Royal Navy cruiser Vulcan arrived in Tavolara: the court photographers sent by Queen Victoria of England to take a picture with the whole family. The image is preserved in the museum at Buckingham Palace with the words "The royal family of Tavolara in the Gulf of Newfoundland Pausanias, the smallest Kingdom in the world”.


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