Tavolara - the smallest island kingdom
Not far from Molaro and Molarotto, off the coast of Sardinia, there is a small island called Tavolara, which looks more like a rock suddenly grown from the depths of the sea than an ordinary island. On one side of the island there is a small sandy isthmus with a beach where the family and descendants of Giuseppe Bertoleoni, the monarch of the kingdom of Tavolara, live.
Giuseppe Bertoleoni, a Genoese emigrant, arrived on the island in 1807 - and brought with him a couple of wives. Actually, an enterprising Italian escaped to the island in order to avoid accusations of bigamy.
Having lived a little island, Giuseppe declared himself king. Later, the Genoese claimed that Carlo Alberto, the king of Sardinia, who had come to Tavolara to hunt, granted him the title.
History has it that when arriving on the island, Giuseppe discovered there goats, whose teeth were painted golden yellow because of the algae and lichens they ate. When the rumor about the gold-toothed sheep reached Carlo Alberto, he decided to see the miracle personally.To meet the monarch came 24-year-old son Giuseppe, Paolo - he introduced himself as the king of the island.
Carlo Alberto was very pleased with the hospitality of the locals. When the state machine of Italy tried to expropriate the property of Bertoleoni, he sent his son to Alberto, where he received official papers stating the family’s right to own the island.
Paolo Bertolione returned to the island and created his own coat of arms. In the 1900s, Queen Victoria of Great Britain collected photographs of all the ruling dynasties of the world and sent her personal photographer to the island. The print from the original image (it is contained in Buckingham Palace) is still hanging on the wall of one of the restaurants of the island.
From that time until 1934, the family of Giuseppe ruled Tavolara. The inhabitants of the island (and apart from the descendants of Bertoleone there is no one here) support the existence of agriculture and fishing. They also breed goats and contain as many as two restaurants for a few tourists.
In 1934, the official sovereignty of the Bertoleone family came to an end: the island was seized by Italy. Then in 1962, NATO created a base on the eastern half of Tavolar, leaving the “ruling dynasty” only 50 hectares of land.