The origins of Carloforte only date back to the 18th century, although the region, due to its particular shape, was exploited in the ancient world by Romans and Carthaginians as a port.
Previous to the foundation of modern Carloforte, in 1541 and accompanying the Lomellini (the Lords of Pegli), some inhabitants of Genoa landed in Tabarka, an island near the coast of Tunisia, to concentrate on coral fishing.
The current town of Carloforte was then born following the immigration of the inhabitants of Tabarka, in Tunisia, after the site was attacked by pirates.
The ancient sea village was desired by the King of Sardinia, Carlo Emanuele III (1701-1773), who had the intention to repopulate the island of Sardinia. He therefore allowed the allocation on the island of “San Pietro” of a few hundred refugees from Tabarka...
At the beginning of the 18th century, because of the repeated Barbary Pirate attacks and the impoverishment of the coral reefs, the so-called “Tabarkini” (inhabitants of Tabarka) accepted the invitation from Carlo Emanuele III of Savoy, King of the Kingdom of Sardinia, and moved to the uninhabited island of “San.Pietro” - they then founded the town of "Carloforte" in honour of the sovereign.
The etymology of Carloforte is therefore clear - it is "Carlo’s Fortified-Town".
The first quarter built was called “the Navy”; then the Engineer La Vallée erected the Church, walls and Castle. These military works, perfectly preserved even today, were of course built to protect themselves from frequent incursions of Algerian and Tunisian pirates.
The city and its inhabitants soon started to thrive, thanks to numerous economic activities, such as the picking of coral, tuna fishing, salt production, agriculture, and crafts.
At the end of the 18th century Carloforte underwent two invasions: the first by French and the second, much more dramatic, by Tunisian Pirates that left for Africa with over 800 people taken hostage.
In the second half of the 19th century Carloforte knew great development, favoured by the transfer of minerals extracted in near the “Iglesiente-Guspinese” region and transported to Europe.
The island of “San Pietro” today has tourism as its principal vocation.
See also the Carloforte travel guide.