The Kingdom of the goats with golden teeth
The history of Tavolara, a modern fairy tale
It was the late 1700s when the Bertoleoni family came from Genoa to the archipelago of La Maddalena looking for a new home. Guiseppe Bertoleoni pushed himself to explore further the northern islands of Sardinia and to land first at Tavolara, then uninhabited and wild. The island seemed to immediately offer him everything he needed. He settled there and devoted himself to breeding "goats with the golden teeth", so named for the characteristic golden color of the dental arches.
GOATS WITH THE GOLDEN TEETH
Valuable and special goats, whose description was of interest to overseas accounts. In 1836, during a hunt, the King of Sardinia, Carlo Alberto of Savoy arrived on the island. Here he was welcomed by Guiseppe's eldest son, Paolo Bertoleoni. To Carlo Alberto, the young Paolo introduced himself as "King of Tavolara" offering the guest a bed and table for several days, at his modest court. On his return to Turin, reminiscing about young Paolo's tales, the King of Sardinia ordered the faithful General La Marmora, to return to Tavolara to collect some specimens of the goats with golden teeth. The General captured four, also taking away with him the end of peace for the island's inhabitants. After a short time, in fact, the demesne issued an order of expropriation, since there was no official document attesting to the Bertoleoni's sovereignty over the island.
THE KINGDOM OF TAVOLARA
But Paolo did not lose heart and met Carlo Alberto in Turin, looking for reassurance. Reassured by the King, he obtained official recognition from the Savoy for the Kingdom of Tavolara and, returning as a victor, instituted a proper royal settlement on the island. Years passed before he received the request for a couple of goats with golden teeth for the Neapolitan estate of Vittorio, Paolo in person captured the goats and brought them personally to Naples. By refusing the reward for his achievements, he reminded King Vittorio Emanuele of the promise made by his father and demanded a written document proving recognition of the Kingdom. The desire was fulfilled and after a month, the Regal document arrived on the island attesting to the existence of the kingdom of Tavolara. Interest in the new, small Realm, swept across all Rulers and Queen Victoria of England, gave her senior naval officer the order to go to the island to photograph the unknown ruling Bertoleoni family. A historical and significant document, the photograph which to this date is still located in the Museum of Buckingham Palace, in London, nestled between the collection of photographs of all the world's royal families. In the image, Carlo 1, King of Tavolara is reigning, surrounded by his court. The image contains a caption which reads "The royal family of Tavolara, in the Gulf of Terranova Pausania, the smallest kingdom in the world".
The parchment which recognized the existence of the kingdom fell, along with other historical documents into the hands of a man who we know frequented the island in the mid-1800s, but who was quickly lost to sight. In 1861, the Tavolara kingdom was annexed to that of Italy. In 1886, upon the death of the king, the people of Tavolara proclaimed the Republic and established universal suffrage, before the monarchy was restored again in 1895. On this date, the last member of the historical family came to the throne, Carlo I of Tavolara, who reigned until until November 6, 1927. His last direct descendant died in Olbia in 1993, marking the end of a kingdom and a modern fairy tale which we like to remember as the "history of the kingdom of goats with golden teeth."