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e-borghi travel 4, Sea and villages: Alghero - The coral coastline: the treasure from Sardinia

Alghero is an amazing place. The ramparts dating back to the 16th century and the towers that surround the old village which is perched on a cliff are the reference points of 90 kilometres of the coral coastline and Alghero is the main landmark. Let’s start with the historical centre of this destination, the fifth in Sardinia and one the best loved because of a perfect match of old and new features, its nature and its culture, its accessibility not far from the airport of Fertilia as well as its top-quality food and wine. After you have passed over the Door of the Sea you’ll get lost among the narrow streets and the paved squares many of which still have Catalan names. Actually Alghero has been a Spanish city for many centuries and the evidence of this civilization is still visible. There are the noble palaces and the churches, the cathedral dating back to the 16th century stands out, it’s one of the biggest churches in Sardinia as well as the church of San Michele which is featured by a multi-coloured dome dating back to the 16th century: the Baroque and Liberty details are also evident. The Aragonese towers and the beaches If you leave this labyrinth of vibrant narrow streets spread with restaurants, outdoor tables and tiny shops you’ll find yourselves on the Marco Polo Ramparts’ promenade. There’s an incredible view on the sea that reaches Capo Caccia from the top of this place. You can go to Torre della Polveriera and you can go up to the belvedere overlooking the harbour or reach the massive Torre dello Sperone. If you’ve got children with you can take a twenty-minutes ride on the Catalan Train that goes around the town centre leaving from the Sea Door. Alghero isn’t only an old town with its old historical centre, it’s a modern town with many facilities, a flourishing tourist harbour and a wide seafront area. There are many beaches too; the seaside resort of San Giovanni is close to the centre and there are also many other facilities outside the centre like the beach of Bombarde and the coves of Lazzaretto and on the Northern part of the coastline there is Porto Ferro and the Marina beach. We don’t have to underline that the water is clear blue, you are in Sardinia! Boat trips and visits to the caves Let’s go back to the harbour: you can leave from the Garibaldi Docks and you sail along the Coral Riviera (the red coral is still worked by some very skilled craftsmen) or you can set off to the Neptune’s cave. This cave is 4 kilometres long but only one can be visited: 150.000 people go there each year to see the wonderful stalagmites and stalactites, the salt- lake and the room of the Palace. The view inside the cave is amazing as well as the 600 hundred steps that lead you to the entrance of the cave if you don’t want to sail there. It’s really hard to go up these steps but the view is unforgettable! If you are fit enough you can go up the cliffs of Capo Caccia and Porto Conte where you can’t miss the quiet Mugoni beach surrounded by the maritime pine trees. You can challenge yourselves by experiencing the different climbing and diving routes: The Nereo Cave is famous since it’s one of the biggest underwater caves in Europe and the Green Cave is famous too since it is an underwater archaeological site. An old Nuragic village By the way there are many archaeological sites in this area like the Roman Villa and the village of Sant'Imbenia (they can’t be visited) and the Roman findings of the bridge over the Calich pond. The Nuraghe Palmavera (10 kilometres away from Alghero towards Capo Caccia) and the Necropolis of Anghelu Ruju (near Fertilia airport) are the most famous and the easiest to reach and they can be visited by getting one ticket that very often also includes the tourist guide, we suggest this option (the sites are run by a private cooperative). The Nuragic complex is made of a central block with two towers and a village with around 50 bells, the most ancient buildings go back to the 15th century B.C. and new excavation works and restauration projects are being implemented right now in order to make this site even more interesting. The necropolis includes 38 domus de janas, the mysterious underground tombs made between 4200 and 1800 B.C. What’s better than some good tastes and some good wine after such a wide choice of cultural opportunities? Finally a good lobster and some good sparkling wine Just opposite the necropolis along the provincial road 42 there is the Sella & Mosca estate. It was founded in 1899 and it stretches along an area of 650 hectares and 550 hectares are covered in vineyards. They produce some precious types of wine like the Vermentino, the Cannonau and some very good sparkling wines as well. You can go there throughout the whole year from Monday to Friday. It’s a really beautiful place, there is a wine shop and a little museum with a room that is dedicated to the excavations of the Anghelu Ruju necropolis that was discovered in 1901 under the area of the above mentioned estate. The food is also interesting in the area of Alghero since the Spanish traditions have matched the local ones and the outcome has been the typical Catalan cuisine mainly the lobster from the local sea. In the “paella” the fregola which is a typical pasta made of durum wheat is used instead of rice and it is garnished with the seafood, the squids, the shrimps, the chicken, the sausages, the peppers, the peas, the saffron and a dusting of nutmeg. It’s the celebration of tastes.

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