World’s smallest kingdom

Tonino owns the only restaurant on the island tavolara island and live a simple life with the boat, fishermen, tourists to visit …

Located in the south of the island of Sardinia (Italy) is the lonely island tavolara island stand out from the sea with a mountain rising. There were no roads or hotels, it’s just a strip of land that stretches to the white sand beaches.

Tavolara island where Eliot Stein, BBC correspondent traveling to meet Antonio Bertoleoni find. Antonio also known as “Tonino”, a 83-year-old fisherman. He owns the only restaurant on the island and “reign” island kingdom is considered the smallest inhabited world. During the past 22 years, Tonino oversee his small country with only the clothes with short and very simple sandals.


Tonino share while buried under feet of sand and looked towards his restaurant: “Maybe I’m the most normal king of the world. The privilege only interested me was the free meal.”

The formation of this kingdom begins in 1807, when the ancestors of Giuseppe Tonino Bertoleoni became the first person to live on the island. It is described in the book “tavolara island, the island of kings” is half land half robbed care. He emigrated to marry here because two sisters, at the same time looking for a paradise to escape the relationship of his wrongdoing.

Giuseppe and his family soon realized they were living together with wild goats which are rare, they are often yellowed teeth by eating algae and lichens. In 1836, the famous goats to the Carlo Alberto, head to the island of Sardina was tavolara island to hunt. Meanwhile Paolo, 24, is the son of Giuseppe as guides for the hunt.

Tonino said: “When you set foot in the island, Carlo Alberto introduces himself as – I’m Carlo Alberto, King of Sardinia. And my grandfather answered – And I’m Paolo, king of tavolara island”.


After hunting for a few goats and 3-day feast at the home of Paolo, Carlo Alberto happy to say: “Paolo, he really is the king of tavolara island”. Whether joking or not, Carlo Alberto tavolara island also recognizes unprecedented island is part of the land of Sardinia. He sent a roll Paolo da fool from his royal family (House of Savoy) to certify the situation of the island monarchy.

Paolo later creative self more armor and graffiti Bertoleoni his house. He painted family tree and build a cemetery on the island for themselves and their descendants. Before his death, he had aspirations to be buried with a crown above cement coffins. In fact, Paolo was never crowned while still alive.

Years later, news spread throughout the islands of the Mediterranean Sea, the tiny tavolara island has some political allies. Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the founders should Italy, soon became adviser Vittorio Emanuele and family Bertoleoni, king of Sardinia (in 1903 there are 33 residents living) then.

When collecting photos of the leader, Queen Victoria sent a photographer to capture the island of Britain to the members of the royal tavolara island. The photo was later gilt framed and displayed in Buckingham Palace with notes “the world’s smallest kingdom”. Today, a larger copy hangs in the restaurant of Tonino, decorate their own stamps designed by Paolo Junior.

A radio station set up on the island of NATO in 1962 and the goats are moved to another island. Like the Republic of San Marino, tavolara island has never been official confirmation is annexed to Italy. So the king Tonino 5th out of a country where no one seems to know about.