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Tavolara: The oldest kingdom in the world. The island between myth and reality | News

The hero of the story is the Bortoleoni family: from the meeting with the King of Sardinia Carlo Alberto to that with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Between magic and myth: That’s why Tavolara is considered the “smallest kingdom in the world”

to:
Giamaria Lavina


Sardinia is a treasure trove of natural wonders and pristine beauty: lush wilderness areas, crystal clear waters, pristine beaches and archaeological discoveries that tell the story of the millennium land. From north to south, the island in the middle of the Mediterranean is rightfully one of the most beautiful regions of the entire planet. Among the many gems in the area, the tiny island of Tavolara is one of the most resplendent, rich in history and a popular tourist attraction, the subject of tales steeped in myth and reality. Located in the Gulf of Olbia, it looks like a huge limestone massif overlooking the sea, almost rectangular in shape, about 6 kilometers long and one kilometer wide. The island is located in the marine protected area of ​​Tavolara and Cabo Cavallo, is located on a layer of granite rock and reaches a maximum height of 565 meters above sea level. The cape on the west side (Spalmatore di Terra) faces Loiri Porto San Paolo, while the cape to the east – made up of Punta Timone – faces the Tyrrhenian Sea.

History of Tavolara. Formerly known as Hermaya (In honor of the god Hermes, protector of merchants and travelers) H Torarium (From the Latin word “turarius”, translated “incense merchant”), there is evidence of human presence in Tavolara since the mid-Neolithic, and numerous remains have been found in the pope’s cave. According to classical legends, it represents the ship of fascists terrified of Poseidon, rudder facing the open sea, as punishment for bringing Ulysses back to his homeland. In the Paleolithic it was connected to the mainland and the island of Molara, but with rising waters and eroding winds it separated from it. According to some testimonies, after the year 1000, the island was subjected to piracy, as reported by zoologist Francesco Seti, a teacher of mathematics at the University of Sassari in the eighteenth century. The most important evidence of the census appears towards the end of the eighteenth century, when Genoese settlers arrived there, numbering a maximum of sixty.

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The birth of the kingdom. But the most amazing thing about its history is the legend of the “Kingdom of Tavolara”. Indeed, at the end of the 18th century, Genoese Giuseppe Bertoleoni arrived near the La Maddalena archipelago, avoiding Corsica, on a small excursion boat coming from the capital of Liguria, in search of land to live. Here he married two women, and, having settled for a while on the island of Spargi, in the Maddalena archipelago, he moved south to the small island of Mortorio. He was not satisfied with that small space, but decided to go in search of a larger and more welcoming one: thus, in 1806, he arrived on the uninhabited island of Tavolara with his second wife and settled there, devoting himself to education. of wild goats.

Three decades later, in 1836, Sardinian King Carlo Alberto di Savoia, on his way to fishing, noticed the island and decided to land there. Here he again found Bertoglione, who presented himself – perhaps jokingly did not believe in the fact that he really was before him – as “King of Tavolara”. After this strange encounter, it seems that Carlo Alberto remained on the island for about a week, and before giving it up, he would give Bertoleoni a gold watch as a gift, giving consent to recognize the independence of Tavolara. However, the Genoese were not recognized as an effective sovereign; Shortly thereafter, in fact, a property document signed by the king will arrive in the province of Sassari, where Joseph and his heirs were granted (and thus not recognized as a sovereign state). Despite this, the family handed the noble title from father to son.

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Royal Dynasty. The Bertoglione family is not included in the official “Nobel Lists” of the Kingdom of Italy. Giuseppe was succeeded by his son Paolo, named Polo, who proclaimed himself king as Paul I, and married Pasqua Faval, a Sardinian woman from whom his son Carlo I was born. To reinforce the “kingdom” hypothesis, Carlo indicated to the island that the island was visited in 1896 by some of Queen Victoria’s envoys from the United Kingdom on board the ship “Vulcan”, and that this would tacitly acknowledge the existence of the Kingdom of Tavolara. The last descendant of the noble family is Tonino Bortolione (89 years old), who to this day still ascribes the title “King”.

Although there is no document attesting to the supremacy of the Portolioni family, this remarkable story gives more value to the Tavolara tradition, which also represents the Sardinian tradition, full of myths, legends and the subject of ancient beliefs and suggestions. The Bertoleoni family was buried in a small cemetery in Spalmator di Tira and is still considered today Tavolara “the smallest kingdom in the world”.

Pictures are taken from the web

Earl Warner

"Devoted bacon guru. Award-winning explorer. Internet junkie. Web lover."

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