Isola dei Cavoli – Villasimius
Isola dei Cavoli is a small granitic island which lies less than 1 km south-east of Capo Carbonara, with an area of 0.4 square kilometers and it is the last part of the granitic complex emerged in south eastern Sardinia from which it was isolated approximately 10-12 thousand years ago, following the raising of the sea level.
On the highest point of the island, about 40 meters, weighs the imposing of a lighthouse, consisting of a cuboid base ,with two floors, where the workers of the lighthouse lived, and the cylindrical tower, which leads at an altitude of 37 meters above the sea level the entire building. The lighthouse was built around 1856, incorporating a Spanish defensive tower, built in 1591.
The coasts, very irregular, have some small coves surrounded by granite rocks often of considerable portions. The names were given to them in the 1920s, by the lighthouse keepers who lived there with their families. Cala di Ponente, for the geographical position facing the coast: a narrow creek which has a small pier accessible to small boats. Cala del Morto, facing on south, towards Cagliari, so called because in the first half of the century had landed, transported by sea wavess, the body of a man. Cala del Ceppo, where there was a large strain, the residue of an old tree. Cala di Scasciu, as called by a worker from the island of La Maddalena, that in the dialect of the island means ” Fun Cove” because, being the largest and most protected from the winds , it was the one that was better suited for picnics.
The island was inhabited until very recent times by the staff of the lighthouse, and it has been for someone a safe heaven from the horrors of war, and theater of tragic events for others. During the period of the Second World War, the island has never been the target of bombing , but it was a safe heaven for traders who were destined and their families. In the early 1970’s, some lighthouse keepers who worked there, expressed their discomfort impacting on a large granite rock the following sentence in Latin: Cavoli insula, carcer sine claustris (Cabbages Island, prison without bars).
Nowadays, with the automated operation of the lighthouse, the island is uninhabited and it hosts the Research Center of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Cagliari, which uses it for activities of botanical and zoological research.
The island is part of the Protected Area of Capo Carbonara, which also includes the area of sea that goes from Capo Boi to the Island of Serpentara.
In 1979, in the south part , was laid on the seabed at a depth of about ten meters, a statue of the sculptor Pinuccio Sciola dedicated to the Virgin of the Sea, the patron saint and protector of sailors and shipwreckeds. On September 8th of every year, there is an important festival, with the spectacular procession of boats from the nearby coast of Villasimius, culminating with celebrations, traditional sardinian songs and dances in the typical sardinian dress.
A number of hypothesis have been formulated on the origin of its name. According to the first one, it comes from the Sardinian “is càvarus” which literally menas “the crabs”, and derives from the shape of the island, similar to the one of a crab. According to another one, the name comes from the diffusion of the wild cabbage on the territory of the island. Its rocky seabed is ideal for diving on account of the wide variety of flora and fauna present in it, and its crystalline light blue waters. On the island it is also possible to find small beaches surrounded by uncontaminated vegetation.