The sulcis archipelago, also called sulcitano, is located near the south-western coasts of Sardinia, in the province of Carbonia-Iglesias, and is made up of the islands of Sant'Antioco, San Pietro, Piana, del Toro, della Vacca, del Corno , of the Rats.
The island is connected to Sardinia through an artificial isthmus and a bridge located at the entrance of the island, where the old Roman bridge is still visible, restored several times.
The island includes two municipalities, Sant’Antioco and Calasetta, with their respective smaller settlements of Maladroxa and Cussorgia, for the rest there are few houses scattered in the countryside.
The territory of the island is hilly, the mainly rocky coast offers various and suggestive beaches.
The island was already inhabited in prehistoric times, in fact finds have been found that date back to the third millennium BC. belonged to a population that historians believe came from Africa.
Around 1500 BC the Nuragic civilization began, famous above all for the characteristic constructions called nuraghi, which are still present in the area today.
In the eighth century BC the first Phoenicians landed on the island to exchange their products with those of the Nuragic populations and to found in 750 BC the city of Sulci or Sulky.
In the second half of the 6th century BC the island was conquered by the Carthaginians.
Following the Punic wars, in 258 BC, the island passed under Roman rule, until the end of the empire followed by the barbarian invasions, in particular of the Vandals who in the year 534 AD. they were defeated by the Byzantines and the island came under the dominion of Constantinople.
A few centuries earlier, in the 2nd century AD the Christian physician Antiochus originally from Numidia was exiled to the island, martyred and subsequently proclaimed saint, from which the name of the island and the town derived.
Arab incursions began in the 8th century which forced the population to abandon the island.Recommended readings
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The protection of the maritime republics of Genoa and Pisa was requested which soon became a dominance which was followed by the domains of the Aragonese and the Spanish, in addition to the frequent pirate raids, until the island became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia of Savoy.
During the 18th century, Carlo Emanuele III decided to increase the population by bringing immigrants of Ligurian origin and culture, called Tabarchini, to the island of San'Antioco and San Pietro, because they came from the islet of Tabarca located off Tunisia , where they settled around 1540, having had the island under concession.
The town of Sant’Antioco is located on the ancient city of Sulci or Sulky.
The town was founded by the Phoenicians who made it a very important center in the Mediterranean, and continued to be so even in the Carthaginian and Roman age.
Traces of these civilizations are still visible in the country today.
The most significant remains of the Phoenician and Punic era are represented by the Tofet, a sacred area where urns containing burned bones of children were found, sometimes together with small animals and often accompanied by stone steles.
It is an outdoor area located at the northern end of the town on a hill, in the "Sa Guardia de is Pingiadas" location.
Not far away there is the Necropolis of the Punic age, also used in the Roman age where numerous hypogean tombs were found, with chambers carved into the rock which were accessed via a corridor of steps downhill.
In Sant’Antioco, a very particular process is carried out, the spinning and weaving of the byssus, fiber obtained from a mollusk found in the local sandy bottom lagoons.
Island of San Pietro
The name of the island derives from the apostle Peter who according to tradition made it shipwrecked during the journey to Rome.
The island has a hilly territory, the highest points are the Guardia dei Mori hills, m.211 s.l.m. and Tortoriso, m. 208 above sea level It is characterized by the typical Mediterranean scrub, by mountainous areas covered with woods, salt marshes, ponds and a few springs.
The coasts are high, rocky with cliffs, inlets and caves carved by the sea in the north and west, low and sandy in the east and south.
The recent history of the island, which has been known since ancient times, a welcoming stopover for ancient routes, began with the arrival on the island of a population from the Tunisian islet of Tabarca.
This community of "tabarchini" was of Ligurian origin, largely from the town of Pegli, and in 1738 at the invitation of Carlo Emanuele III of Savoy he moved from the islet of Tabarca to the island of San Pietro, where construction began of what is still today the main inhabited center of the island, the town of Carloforte, so called in honor of the Savoy ruler.
The island of San Pietro is also interesting from a wildlife point of view, along the coast of the island on the high cliffs overlooking the sea, a large colony of hawks of the queen nest, which migrates to Madagascar in the winter where it winters, there are also various species of birds, including the pink flamingo.
The sea that extends along the external coasts of the islands of Sant'Antioco and San Pietro is affected by the migration of tuna, in the period from mid-May to mid-June, during their passage the traditional fishing of the precious blue tuna is carried out .
Not far from the island of San Pietro is the Piana island.
It is a nature reserve for the presence of protected species such as the Queen's Hawk.
In the past, the island was home to the most important tonnara plants in the area, now transformed into private residences.
The whole island is private and in order to access it you need to go to the administration office, at the port.