Calasetta was founded as a fishing and farming village in 1770 by group of coral fishermen from Tabarka, an island off the Tunisian coast. They were originally from Pegli in Liguria, from where they had left to fish coral off the coast of Tabarka in the mid 1500s. In the mid 1700s they were granted permission by the kingdom of Sardinia to live in Carloforte and then Calasetta. The ancient Ligurian language is still present in the local dialect. whic, tigether with the different culture and history; sets the area apart from the rest of Sardinia.
A military engineer, named Belly, planned the urbanization of Calasetta. All the streets intersect at right-angles, forming a rigorously straight, neat town plan. The village life today still echoes the different cultural traditions offering a unique tourist spot in Sardinia. In the historical town centre stands the Savory Tower (1756), originally erected to guarantee protection from feasible sea attacks. Today it’s used for cultural and didactic activities and it houses an important collection of Phoenician-Punic artifacts. Nearby is the Contemporary Art Museum, founded by Ermanno Leinardi.
There are several beautiful white beaches surrounding Calasetta (Cussorgia, Sottotorre (Beneath the Tower ) La Salina (The Salt Flats) and Spiaggiagrande (Big Beach), all offering harmonious, therapeutic setting to escape from today’s stressful cities. When the mistral breeze blows it invites even the most tenacious to enjoy the charm of sailing. The beauty of the sea bed and of the coast can be enjoyed by sailing in the company of qualified instructors, whilst the sea offers wonderful views of spetacular, unknown sights. The marine sector also offers the opportunity to live the sea life whit expert fishermen at certain times of the year – for example in the tuna fishing season, for which the area is famous.
The ability of the fishermen combined whit the fantasy of the cooks delights the palate. Typical dishes from Tabarka, mixed with the flavours from Ligure and the Sardinian cuisine all create a synthesis of taste in dishes such as pilau, cous cous, “capunadda”, cassulli and platters of grilled fresh fish, all flagships of the culinary art in Calasetta. All to be eaten whilst sipping the typical local wine, Carignano del Sulcis, a superb legacy from old agricultural traditions.
In the evenings in Calasetta music echoes from festivals and concerts held in the main square, in the Savoy Tower, near the port and on the beaches. Traditional dances animate the annual festivals such as the Historic Procession, the local Patron Saints Day San Maurizio, Cristo Re and the Night of Saint John who, from around a bonfire. promises to realize every dream. From the old traditions to the latest fads, visitors can participate in evenings of folk music to nights in the discos.
During the day, sport enthusiasts can enjoy themselves, choosing to play beach volley, soccer, tennis and numerous water sports, with the aid of the beautiful waters and breezes of Calasetta.