She succeeded in bringing Sardinian folk music into wider popular awareness, in demonstrations at a national level in Italy (like the Canzonissima in 1974) as well as internationally (especially in France and the United States).
She caught the attention of such directors as Francis Ford Coppola and Franco Zeffirelli, who gave her the first two of her widely seen film roles, including that of the mother of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II in 1974. Carta lived in Rome for many years and she served as Communal Councilwoman from 1976 to 1981 on the side of the Italian Communist Party.
In 1985 she was awarded, as songwriter, the Targa Tenco for dialectal/regional music. In the last years of her life, Maria Carta gave her time to the University of Bologna where she conducted a series of classes and advised student theses on which she had relevant personal, human experience and scholarly background.
In 1991 the President of the Republic Francesco Cossiga named her a “Commendatore della Repubblica” ("Knight of the Republic").
Maria Carta gave her last concert in Toulouse, France, on June 30, 1994. Ill with cancer she died at her home in Rome on September 22, 1994, aged 60.