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Marina di S. Elmo - Alghero, Sardinia

The town of Alghero

Alghero is a small town within the province of Sassari, in northern Sardinia. The town - which has a population of 41,000 and covers a total area of 224.9km - looks out over the Gulf of Alghero at an altitude of 7 meters above sea level.
Alghero is rightly celebrated as the best tourist destination on the Coral Riviera - a coastal area rich in isolated bays, coves that open up to reveal golden beaches with lush pine forests, and jagged rocks lapped by emerald-colored waves.
The town provides excellent hospitality for a constant flow of tourists, with a range of entertainment facilities and nightlife that is ideal for young and old alike.
During the summer, numerous traditional festivals are held, including fireworks displays, concerts, folk festivals, craft fairs and showcases for local food and wine products.

Historical outline

Alghero was founded by the Genoese in the 11th century. For many years, it was controlled by the dynasty of the Doria family, despite a brief period of Pisan domination in 1283 and 1284.
In 1353, it was conquered by Peter of Arborea, who replaced the existing populace with a Catalan colony (the local dialect spoken to this day is Catalan in origin).
The city was embellished and fortified by the Kingdom of Aragon and, subsequently, by the Kingdom of Spain.
Even today, the historical center of this profoundly Catalan city is a major destination The Bell tower of the Cathedral - Photo: Magica Servizi Informaticifor Italian and foreign tourists who come to admire its untainted beauty and exceptional architecture.
Indeed, in architectural terms, it can be said that the monuments of Alghero "speak" Catalan. The two bell towers and the main features of the Cathedral and the Church of San Francesco are deeply Spanish in style, as are the "Catalan Gothic" palazzos built in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Alghero - Photo: A. Saba
Bastioni - Photo: A. Saba

'Dintorni' - The surroundings

Escala del Cabirol - Photo: Magica Servizi Informatici Some of the most enchanting sights in the surrounding area are to be found at Grotte di Nettuno, a well-known series of caves that conceal incredible internal landscapes where karstic rock formations interact with fascinating tricks of the light. The Grottoes can be reached on a boat trip from the Port of Alghero which also takes you to the spectacular towering cliffs of Capo Caccia.

Just a few miles from Alghero, another attraction not-to-be-missed is the Nuragic complex at Palmavera, which dates back to the 8th century B.C. Even closer to Alghero, there is the Anghelo Ruju necropolis, one of the largest concentrations of so-called Domus de Janas (prehistoric hypogea - tombs carved out of the rocks) on the island of Sardinia. The necropolis is situated in the area called Li Piani, which is just inland from Alghero, along the banks of the Filibertu stream, and was in constant use from the late Neolithic period (3500 B.C.) until the early Bronze Age (1800 B.C.).