The town

As soon as you disembark in Carloforte, you get lost in the labyrinth of alleyways, small squares and stairways that climb steeply towards the upper part of the town. After just a few steps, you find yourself enveloped by the musicality of the local language, by the voices of a different kind of Genoese. While fragrances and aromas from the kitchens evoke thoughts of the sea.

The arch of Via Solferino, called 'archióttu' by all the islanders.

Like villages on the Ligurian Riviera, the historic centre is an intricate network of narrow streets intersecting with shaded alleys, known here as caruggi. The maze of streets seems to have been designed to slow down the wind to lose some of its power at each turn and fade into a breeze in the heart of the village.
Strolling through the town one passes houses of a quiet elegance: these are the traces left from a time when Carloforte was a port of call of great importance, linked to the transport of materials from the mines of the Sulcis region of Sardegna.

Art Nouveau façade of Palazzo Rivano.

Corso Cavour

Piazza Repubblica, also known as 'piazza dei Baruffi'.

Corso Battellieri, the seafront promenade overlooking the port, is the town’s stage. The hustle and bustle of the port combined with the chatter from the cafés under the trees and the bargaining in the shops along the streets makes for a lively scene.

Corso Tagliafico, the street dominated by the monument to Carlo Emanuele III, leads us towards Piazza Repubblica for a stop at the baruffi – the typical circular benches in the square – children run around happily, the elderly talk heartily, the gentle pace of daily life is clear to see.


It is easy to be absorbed by this life where time seems to flow more slowly.

A walk to the upper section of the town leads to its oldest part, the Castle, and the remains of the walls that once surrounded it.  The view of the rooftops and the sea from here is impressive, sweeping over the salt pans and the canal that marks the edge of the town. Close to the walls is the Giardino di Note (garden of notes): a place with a magical atmosphere that opens to the public on summer nights for concerts and shows.

Panorama of the town towards the salt pans

The southern side of the town gravitates around the Cavallera cinema and nearby Piazza Pegli. The former is one of the most important historical buildings in the town; the latter, dominated by a war memorial, is the usual meeting place for the people of Carloforte: a market place which on Wednesdays is coloured by the goods on display and the voices of the vendors. Beyond the road that leads out of the town, the long salt marsh canal, populated by small moored boats, marks the boundary between the town and the natural environment characteristic of the wetlands. Along the paths that skim the vegetation and the large expanses of water, joggers pass the rarest species of the island’s avifauna. Not far away is the park Parco Canale del Generale, a newly completed green area where cultural events and shows are organised. A short walk to the upper part of the park offers a magnificent panorama of the town, wetlands and beyond.

Via del sale