It happens only one night in a year, one night in Italy. Tavolara island, Sardinia, turns off all its lights and switches on the projector. The chairs are neatly arranged facing the white sheet that tingles in the wind, voices lower down. The show can start. Projected on the striking backcloth of the diving cliffs are the best cinematographic stories of the past year. We’re at Tavolara Film Festival, an unmissable event for film enthusiasts and sea lovers, for romantic souls and for all those who believe in the power of stories told through images.

Isola di Tavolara, Sardinia - Tavolara Film Festival

Tavolara island, Sardinia – Tavolara Film Festival

One of the most evocative and intimate film festivals around the world will be on from July 18th to 23rd. From the Porto San Paolo marina you can reach the island of Tavolara, the massive white and blue rock that turns out to be green as soon as you get close, sitting right in front of the Costa Smeralda.

Once on the island, go and find your seat; you could also take advance of the fading rays of sun to take the last dive of the day, or maybe have an intimate dinner. Still, all you’ll be waiting for is the sunset, with the night setting in, preparing the right environment for the movies to start rolling.

Once in a while, during the screening, you’ll find yourself looking around and wondering – where am I? There’ll be only a faint memory of arriving just a few hours before from the sea. Only if you get caught by the salty breeze you’ll realise that you’re not sitting in a theatre; there’s just the sky full of stars above your head and the calm sea on your back. Is there anything so perfect?

Through this Festival have passed by the greatest Italian authors and actors. From Gabriele Salvatores to Massimo Troisi, from Ferzan Ozpetek to Gabriele Muccino, from Paolo Virzì to Margherita Buy, beside singers and writers who have fallen in love with the Festival, from Luciano Ligabue to Alessandro Baricco and Ivano Fossati, whose song, A night in Italy (Una notte in Italia), gives the title to the Festival itself.

A screening at Tavolara Film Festival

A screening at Tavolara Film Festival


The Festival was born in 1991, thanks to the passion of a group of friends, enamoured both of movies and of the island; since the beginning, they’ve strictly followed the production and the events of the Festival, involving authors and performers. One of the cornerstones of the Festival is giving aid to high-quality Italian movies, while asserting that and environmental landmark can be experienced through clever ventures that combine tourism and land conservations.

Tavolara Film Festival has always left a privileged space for Sardinian movies, particularly for young directors and meaningful regional works.

The Festival has also helped creating a protected sea area, the Parco Marino dell’Isola di Tavolara. In its journey, the Festival got enriched by collateral appointments, but still it maintained its nature of popular event where public and authors meet without distance. Here everybody is on the same boat, in the same audience, in the same night.

The evocative arena at Tavolara Film Festival

The evocative arena at Tavolara Film Festival

At the end of the two screenings, one at 9:30pm and one at midnight, you’ll leave the island with a gratified heart, taking the same boat that led you there. You’ll also feel a little bit reckless, as you sail the sea under the pale moon.

The Italian Eye gives you here a preview of the 2017 Festival program, together with some tips on how to reach the island.

So let the show begin.


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Tuesday, July 18, 9:30pm

La Pischera, San Teodoro – Slow Fish Itinerary

Sardegna, 20 fotografi di natura by Domenico Ruiu

Indivisibili by Edoardo De Angelis

Wednesday, July 19, 9:30pm

La Pischera, San Teodoro – Slow Fish Itinerary

Becoming Cary Grant by Mark Kidel

Mexico! Un cinema alla riscossa by Michele Rho

Thursday, July 20, 9:30pm

Porto San Paolo – Piazza Lungomare

Indizi di felicità by Walter Veltroni

Friday, July 21, 9:30pm – Arena Isola di Tavolara

Fortunata by Sergio Castellitto

Il padre d’Italia by Fabio Mollo

Saturday, July 22, 9:30pm – Arena Isola di Tavolara

Moglie e marito by Simone Godan

I peggiori by Vincenzo Alfieri

Sunday, July 23, 9:30 – Arena Isola di Tavolara

Uno sguardo alla terra by Peter Marcias

Due sotto il burqaCherchez la femme! By Sou Abadi

Tavolara Film Festival – Info


How to get there. Departures are every evening at 6:30pm from the Porto San Paolo marina. Tickets are sold at the shop on the platform. The trip is 20 minutes long. Returns are after the first or the second screening. We recommend bringing warmer clothes against the breeze.

On the island you’ll find the Ristorante Da Tonino, tel. +39 078958570, serving fresh fish dishes and snacks. 

San Teodoro

How to get there. This famous touristic spot in northern Sardinia can be reached via SS125 heading to Nuoro.
Tourist Office: piazza Mediterraneo 1, Tel./ Fax: +39 0784 865767.

La Peschiera. Exquisitely located inside San Teodoro lagoon, here’s also possible to engage in interesting tours to discover the local fauna – tel.3473663142. It can be reached from Olbia via SS125 and taking a left in via La peschiera, after the straight road in Lu Fraili.
The arena sits right in the middle of the natural oasis.

Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se. Da. Per se.