Open main menu

Santo Stefano is an island in the Maddalena archipelago of northern Sardinia, Italy, and part of the Maddalena National Park.

Santo Stefano
Native name:
Isola di Santo Stefano
A maddalena - panoramio - brunobarbato (1) (cropped).jpg
Santo Stefano Island is located in Sardinia
Santo Stefano Island
Santo Stefano Island
LocationMaddalena archipelago (Tyrrhenian Sea)
Coordinates41°12′0″N 9°25′0″E / 41.20000°N 9.41667°E / 41.20000; 9.41667
ComuneLa Maddalena



View of Santo Stefano from Palau.

The island is largely uninhabited and it is mainly known for its hosting of a NATO Naval Base and Italian Navy ammunition magazines. Apart from the military, the only residences on the island is a tourist resort. The island could be reached only by a private boat.[1]

At the south of the island at the western slope of the Cala di Villamarina there are remains of old some fortifications: the Forte San Giorgio and the Forte La torre. At the eastern slope there is an abandoned granite quarry with a bust of an Italian fascist activist Costanzo Ciano left unfinished there since 1943.[1]


The submarine tender USS Emory S. Land at Santo Stefano, Italy.

From 1973 through 2008, there was a U.S. Naval Support Activity base as well as a NATO base on the island.[2] The NATO base housed an Italian Navy barracks and it served as the home port for several US Navy submarine tenders over the years, beginning in 1972 with the arrival of the USS Fulton (AS-11) and ending with the departure of the USS Emory S. Land, which set sail for its new home port of Bremerton,Washington. The US Naval Support Activity officially closed in January 2008, ending the 35 year US presence in La Maddalena.

During the period in which the American military had a presence on the island, it was twice used as a repair base for submarines after undersea collisions. In 1977 USS Ray collided with a coral reef off Tunisia and suffered damage to the sonar dome and cracking to the hull. Ray had immediate repairs here, then made a surface transit back to the US. On 25 October, 2003 USS Hartford ran aground with sufficient force to substantially damage its rudders, sonar and electronics.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b de Tisi, Claudio. "Arcipelago de La Maddalena". La mia Sardegna. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  2. ^ "NSA History". Naval Activity in La Maddalena. Archived from the original on 2007-11-09.
  3. ^ Mahony, Edmund H. "USS Hartford Involved In Collision In Strait Of Hormuz," Hartford Courant. March 21, 2009.

Coordinates: 41°11′53″N 9°24′43″E / 41.197986°N 9.411868°E / 41.197986; 9.411868