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La Gallura
A Magic in contact with nature
Gallura and the northeast coast of Sardinia, famous for its sparkling life between sea and elegant squares, are the jewels in the crown in terms of quality of tourism. The jagged coastline opens onto the turquoise sea of the Costa Smeralda and onto small creeks that hide hot stretches of weightless sand. Let yourself be taken over by the mornings rocked by waves, by the afternoons immersed in relaxing walks among elegant boutiques and the nightlife lit by the starry sky in the square of Porto Cervo. The Costa Smeralda and the surrounding area are this: a unique paradise that takes on the austere form of the tower Longosardo, overlooking the marina of Santa Teresa Gallura, and looks over to the Archipelago de La Maddalena, priceless natural treasure with con Spargi, Cala Corsara, and Budelli with its pink beach. But the northeast paradise does not end here, you are drawn seductively to Capo Testa, to the beach of Santa Reparata and the bay of La Colba, and invites you to follow the line of the horizon, focusing your gaze on the sky and dipping your hand in the sand of the Rena Bianca and Rena Majore beach.
A Magic in contact with nature
you can say you had a bath in the very essence of relaxation
Closing your eyes and breathing in the fresh and pungent smell of the pine forest, you can say you had a bath in the very essence of relaxation. At Palau, in front of the Archipelago de La Maddalena you'll notice an imposing custodian, the bear-shaped rock that has dominated the bay for centuries and that with the Roccia della Tartaruga, situated in Cala Ghjlgolu, shares the record of starring in all visitors’ selfies. From the rock custodians to the Hero of two worlds: by leaping to the island of Caprera you do not just take a wonderful boat trip over a clear seabed, but also visit the home of Giuseppe Garibaldi, whose last residence will thrill you no end. On the other hand, on the island of Tavolara, you will discover the thrill of making a journey within a journey, between legends, history and a sky that seems to disappear into the blue water. The San Teodoro area, part of the Tavolara Marine Park - Capo Coda Cavallo, draws you into its embrace showing its most beautiful pearls like Cala d'Ambra, La Cinta and Isuledda, nestling between the basin and the sea.
you can say you had a bath in the very essence of relaxation
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Preset 1
Autunno in Barbagia
Costa Smeralda Story
Diving in Gallura
The sea of ​​Sardinia is famous all over the world for its clear and crystalline waters, ideal for any type of diving and those who do diving know it well. Every corner of the Sardinian coast is in fact a unique place, where immersing yourself becomes an unmissable and incredible experience. All you need, in addition to the passion for underwater activities, is a diving suit and a camera to capture the wonderful backdrops, the colorful fish and crustaceans and even the red corals with their inlays illuminated by the sun's rays that penetrate in the water in depth.
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Diving in Gallura
Kitesurfing Beaches of North Sardinia
With a staggering 2000 kilometers of coastline, Sardinia is one of the windier regions of Italy and a true mecca for windsurfing and kitesurfing enthusiasts, both beginner and advanced. As Sardinia has four main winds depending on the time of year, the best kitesurfing beaches are scattered around the island. Here’s our overview of some of the best kitesurfing beaches of Sardinia.
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Kitesurfing Beaches of North Sardinia
Birding in Sardinia
After a few hours in Sardinia it’s not hard to see why it is becoming increasingly popular with British birders. This Italian island – the second largest in the Mediterranean, has an abundance of species you just don’t see in the UK and they’re not difficult to find. We flew into Alghero, on the west coast, and set up base in the Bosa area, only 40 minutes from the airport and home to Sardinia’s two remaining colonies of Griffon Vultures. Finding the vulture colony is as easy as falling off a log, as just outside Bosa on the coast road is a pizzeria conveniently called the Grifone, even more conveniently there is a large layby just opposite where you can park up and scan the cliffs behind. We managed to get four birds soaring above as we pulled up.
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Birding in Sardinia
Golf Courses
Situated to the south of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia extends to an area of over 9,000 square miles though, with just over one and a half million people resident on the island, it’s one of the least densely populated regions of Italy. Sardinia has been ruled from Rome for most of the last two thousand years but many forget that it endured a lengthy spell of Spanish control which (starting in 1323) lasted for almost four hundred years. There are around a dozen golf facilities in Sardinia, varying from pitch and putt courses at Borgo Campagna and Chia to the 27-hole golf complex at Is Molas. Visiting golfers will find enjoyable 9-hole holiday golf courses at Alghero, Puntaldia and Sa Tanca but for those seeking a greater golfing challenge, then Tanka – a 2007 design from Luigi Rota Caremoli – might just fit the bill.
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Golf Courses
Move to the Island
Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport is 4 km from the city. Easily reachable by bus. The transport system allows passengers on flights to Olbia to easily reach not only the city center, but also the most important tourist destinations and other destinations on the island. The center of Olbia is connected by bus lines 2 and 10, which provide departures every 20 minutes, from Monday to Saturday, and every 40 minutes, on Sundays. Lines 2 and 10 also serve the Olbia train station. Outside the airport, there are also the buses of the companies that connect the OLB with some important localities of Sardinia: the A.r.s.t. and Deplano operate on the Olbia-Nuoro route; the Deplano, during the summer, also offers rides for Cala Gonone; the Sunlines offers connections with the Costa Smeralda and Porto Torres; with the Turmo Travel you travel to Santa Teresa di Gallura or to southern Sardinia. Finally, the taxi service is active both for the center of Olbia and for other destinations.
Move to the Island
The Sardinians of the Costa Smeralda
Have you ever heard of Abbiadori? It is a fraction of the Municipality of Arzachena, in the heart of the Costa Smeralda. It is inhabited throughout the year by a few hundred people divided among the historical families residing in these places in front of the sea, well before the Aga Khan landed in Monti di Mola. Abbiadori is a community. He lives mainly from the economy of the tourist area developed around her, has his parish, in Porto Cervo, honors their saints and respects the traditions of all times, in the evening people meet at the bar and on Sunday the hunting companies gather for the joke. Almost everyone speaks a straightforward Gallurese.
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The Sardinians of the Costa Smeralda
Dec 24
The secret to cheap(ish) Sardinia
Picture the Aga Khan, anchored between Corsica and Sardinia in his luxury yacht. He stands on deck, beguiled by the emerald waters that would give the Costa Smeralda its name and thinks: “Here is where I will build my resort.” Thusly; tourism to Sardinia was born. Prince Karim Al Husseini, Imam of the world’s Ismailiti Muslims and a descendant of the prophet Mohammed, led an investment consortium here in the late 1950s, bringing luxury to the northerly tip of the island. Successive generations of celebrities followed – the haves and have-yachts – equally charmed by its pink granite coast and clear turquoise waters.
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The secret to cheap(ish) Sardinia
Costa Smeralda more than a place is an idea.
It is a stretch in Gallura - coast in the north of Sardinia - just twenty kilometers wide, but it has managed to become a synonym of wealth in Italian Culture. Thanks to its white sand beaches, the parties with Briatore, Berlusconi’s villa with an outstanding fake volcano and to the Russian oligarch's massive yachts, Costa Smeralda has gone from being one of the most unknown locations in Italy’s poorest region to a must visit for celebrities in the jet set. It is now a symbol of Italian trash and yuppy culture and at the same time an attraction for the richest people in the whole world.
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Costa Smeralda more than a place is an idea.
Skilled hands embroider clothes and rugs on frames, make su filendeu and other traditional pasta and decorate su pani pintau, those of sos maistos carefully craft ceramic vases, add intarsia to arresolzas and create filigree jewels. In the kitchen of the cortes su carasau are slipped into the oven and pan’e saba, pistiddu and durchicheddos are stuffed. Woodworkers cut the wood to build sas cascias, ironmongers skilfully hammer their wares, farmers crush freshly harvested grapes and shepherds make ricotta cheese. Meanwhile, guests leaning out over the belvedere sample tasty nibbles with full-bodied wine. And they chat to craftsmen, learning about the traditions of the past. Autumn in Barbagia is a trip into the “heart” of Sardinia, an itinerant exhibition of authentic traditions of the Barbagia area. For four months, weekends will see cultural, artisanal traditions and local food and wine showcased. All within the houses “a corte” in villages and towns. Each community with its own speciality.
One starts at Bitti, the homeland of canto a Tenore, a UNESCO heritage. Here the Nuragic civilisation built a unique monument: the sanctuary-village su Romanzesu. One then moves onto Oliena: its warm hospitality will take you to discover places that are preserved in time and old churches, textiles and filigree jewellery, pecorino and Nepente. At Dorgali the mountains of the Supramonte meet the crystal-clear water of the coastal village of Cala Gonone: you will discover an exceptional variety of landscapes and attractions. During the same days, Sarule is also on show, famous for its fine colourful rugs. Then Austis, a town where the skills and traditions of neighbouring areas meet, and Orani, the land of skilled artisans, great artists and intellectuals. Closing one month and opening another, there are Lula, lying at the feet of the huge chalky Monte Albo, the site of prehistoric treasures, industrial archaeology and ancient places of worship, and Tonara, the village of nougat and cowbells (sonaggias), a place to enjoy walks in age-old woods.
Nestled between mountains and the lake of Gusana, Gavoi is village of artisanal tradition. Writers and artists perform on the balconies of its stone houses during the Island of Stories festival. Meana Sardo, a village with arched front doors and Spanish-style window frames, is full of legends on the janas. At Onanì there is an architectural oddity: next to the Santu Pretu nuraghe, the church of San Pietro was built in the 11th century. From mid-October, it is the turn of the natural wonders of Orgosolo: the su Suercone chasm and the canyon Gorropu. Murales decorate its houses, creating an open-air museum. An aura of mystery and surreal silence hover over Lollove, which has inspired many great writers. At Sorgono, you will discover the extraordinary line of menhirs of Biru e’ Concas. The immense natural heritage of Belvì unfolds between chalky tacchi and Gennargentu. The Trenino Verde – the Green Train – runs through here, stopping at the ancient station of the village of is caschettes, delicious cakes for brides. October ends with the fairy-tale landscapes of Aritzo, with woods of chestnuts and carapigna (a delicious sorbet), and with Ottana, the village of Boes and Merdules, another place that is famous for its artisanal traditions.
Desulo inaugurates the month of November, that excels in textile craftsmanship, especially finely embroidered shawls. At Mamoiada you will enjoy the intense scent of the vines: it is the land of wine, that will share with you the ancestral rites of Mamuthones and Issohadores. On foot, riding bicycles or on horseback, you will discover the paths of the shepherds. A town symbolising culture and tradition, Nuoro is the Athens of Sardinia. You will enjoy a cultural itinerary around the town's museums, overlooked by monte Ortobene. At Tiana, genuine products and a sense of community contribute to a healthy and lengthy life. It is famous for its mills and fulling-mills where orbace, Sardinian coarse woollen cloth, is made. In mid-November it is the turn of the architectural jewels of the village of graduates, Olzai: at the beginning of the 20th century the percentage of illiterate inhabitants was particularly low, and the number of graduates high. And then the colours and light of Atzara. Hiding in a labyrinth of alleys, you will find medieval houses with façades sculpted by sos picapedres. You gaze onto endless vineyards and cherry trees that have inspired many artists. To finish November, Orotelli, the land of sos cambales, traditional handmade leather boots, and Ollolai, that according to legend was the abode of Hospito, the king of Barbagia (6th century). Admire its asphodel baskets woven by local women, and s’istrumpa, a form of wrestling perhaps of Nuragic origin.
The Nuragic monuments, the sanctuary of Abini and the village s’Urbale have made Teti famous. It was here that the sleeping Venus was found, one of the oldest Sardinian works of art. The wealth of Funtana Raminosa lies behind the history of Gadoni: the Nuragic civilisation extracted copper here, the Cartaginians and the Romans created mines that were re-used in modern times. Following the paths, surrounded by mountains and forests, you will discover magical sights such as the small s’Istiddiosa waterfall. At Oniferi you will be impressed by the popular tradition of canto a tenore that ranges from religious solemnity to romantic melancholy. For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, it is time to turn to the highest village on the island, Fonni, a ski resort where each season has a distinctive colour: peonies, dog roses and purple foxglove frame autumn. The hydraulic engineering of Gremanu and the necropolis of Madau are the main Nuragic sites. Over the same period the Mui Muscas park, the kingdom of the Sardinian ass, shines in Ortueri, and the very tall bell tower of the church of San Nicolò. The tour ends at Orune, with its cork harvest and an extraordinary concentration of prehistoric sites, including the spectacular Nuragic sacred well su Tempiesu, and at Ovodda: untouched nature, clean air and a healthy climate make this the “village of centenarians”. A Roman road and the paths of transhumance tell of a place that has always seen populations travel.
Nestled between mountains and the lake of Gusana, Gavoi is village of artisanal tradition. Writers and artists perform on the balconies of its stone houses during the Island of Stories festival. Meana Sardo, a village with arched front doors and Spanish-style window frames, is full of legends on the janas.
Desulo inaugurates the month of November, that excels in textile craftsmanship, especially finely embroidered shawls. At Mamoiada you will enjoy the intense scent of the vines: it is the land of wine, that will share with you the ancestral rites of Mamuthones and Issohadores. On foot, riding bicycles or on horseback, you will discover the paths of the shepherds. A town symbolising culture and tradition, Nuoro is the Athens of Sardinia.
Desulo inaugurates the month of November, that excels in textile craftsmanship, especially finely embroidered shawls. At Mamoiada you will enjoy the intense scent of the vines: it is the land of wine, that will share with you the ancestral rites of Mamuthones and Issohadores. On foot, riding bicycles or on horseback, you will discover the paths of the shepherds. A town symbolising culture and tradition, Nuoro is the Athens of Sardinia.
An enchanted oasis of semi-wilderness: coves of bright white sand, rocks sculpted by the wind, a crystal-clear tract of sea with a thousand undertones that change colour constantly, following the seasons and the rhythm of the wind, and intensely fragrant Mediterranean maquis – thus it appears in all its beauty, a pearl set within one of the outcrops of north-eastern Sardinia. This is the breathtaking scene that so fascinated Prince Karim Aga Khan one spring in the late 1950s, and which led him – thanks to his enlightened vision – to realise his dream of creating one of the most exclusive destinations on the global map of elite tourism: the Costa Smeralda (or "Emerald Coast")
The Costa Smeralda Consortium was founded here on 14 March, 1962, with six founding members – Prince Karim Aga Khan, Patrick Guinness, Felix Bigio, John Duncan Miller, Andrè Ardoin and René Podbielski –preceded by a letter of intent in 1961. It was established as a not-for-profit association, with its own Articles of Association, geared towards promoting urban and territorial development and exercising control over the architectural development of the area. Immediately after the establishment of the Consortium, it was decided to set up a prestigious Architecture Committee, charged with the responsibility of drafting strict development plans and carrying out architectural monitoring, with a view to ensuring the conservation of the existing natural heritage and delineating a style with the capacity to combine the natural beauty of the area with elements of the local construction tradition.
A number of leading architects were asked to join the Committee: Luigi Vietti, Jacques Couëlle, Michele Busiri Vici (a descendent of a patrician Roman family that had been practising architecture since the Baroque period) and Antonio Simon Mossa. It is to them – as the originators of a particular architectural style inserted within a landscape to be protected and safeguarded, and above all to their undisputed leader, Prince Karim Aga Khan, a forerunner of sustainable development, who guided them through every phase in the construction process with enthusiasm and passion – that we must be grateful for the achievement of a level of planning quality and territorial management that has made the Costa Smeralda one of the very rare examplesof a healthy, balanced form of tourism development; perhaps the only real example in the Mediterranean. From the outset, all of the operations driven forward by the Costa Smeralda Consortium have been inspired by a rock-solid commitment to safeguarding the area's ecological and environmental assets, developing the area under the monitoring of the Consortium's own technical and landscape bodies, applying urban-planning formulas, construction modules and architectural styles that, always in compliance with the most rigorous environmental values, would echo – and in the process, preserve – the values of Sardinian culture, built up over thousands of years.
Alongside the responsibilities associated with urban and territorial development, over time the Consortium has also taken on the no less important responsibility of protecting and increasing the value of the existing real estate assets. It is a concrete commitment that is manifested to this day through careful monitoring of the environment and the provision of a series of services of the highest quality.
Spiagge dalla sabbia candida, insenature profonde come cunei infilati nel cuore della terra, fondali marini cristallini, graniti dai riflessi rosa lavorati dalla mano millenaria della natura, panorami ricamati dal giallo delle ginestre e profumati di ginepro. La Costa Smeralda deve la sua fama a questo patrimonio paesaggistico unico. E, proprio perchè unica, questa natura così generosa ha attirato sin dai primi anni celebrità di tutto il mondo : big del jet set, dello sport, della finanza, della politica e dell'industria sono stati e sono di casa a Porto Cervo e hanno contribuito in maniera determinante a creare la fama di un luogo di vacanza su cui tutto il mondo, nel periodo estivo, punta i riflettori. Greta Garbo, Margaret d'Inghilterra, Gianni Agnelli, Jacqueline Kennedy, Juan Carlos, Harrison Ford e Sting sono solo alcuni dei frequentatori abituali della località e tra gli animatori della vita mondana, di cui lo stesso principe Karim Aga Khan fu uno dei protagonisti.
Se personalità di questo rango hanno fatto di questo angolo di Sardegna una seconda casa è anche perchè la loro esigenza di riservatezza e privacy viene compresa e assecondata. Una necessità sposata dalla comunità locale, la cui discrezione rappresenta il primo baluardo per difendere gli ospiti più blasonati da curiosità morbose. La letteratura sulla storia della Costa Smeralda racconta episodi di questa corsa sfrenata al divertimento, alla ricerca ossessiva di momenti di felicità e godimento passati anche attraverso sfarzi che possono apparire leggendari, se non fossero veri. Questo continuo susseguirsi di feste, eventi e stravaganze è sempre stato aspetto fondamentale della storia della Costa Smeralda. (202, 263) A partire da Pedros, primo night nato in un vecchio stazzo di Liscia di Vacca e legato al nome del suo fondatore. Ecco cosa scrisse sul Corriere della Sera il giornalista Alberto Pinna, in un articolo pubblicato il 9 agosto 1997 che riporta un'intervista ad una conoscitrice di quell'ambiente qual è Mabi Satta: Il segreto della Costa Smeralda, un mix fra riservatezza ed esibizionismo, classe e scapigliatura, etichetta e stravaganze. Il mito l'ha costruito Karim ma anche personaggi come Peter Kent, Pedros, un gitano amico di Amin, fratello dell'Aga Khan. Pedros aveva aperto il primo locale notturno della Costa, trasgressioni e pazzie fino all'alba.
"L'Aga Khan selezionava personalmente gli inviti alle cerimonie ufficiali - racconta Mabi Satta -: un giorno lo vidi trasudare: in prima fila, a fianco di signore eleganti e impettite, era spuntato Pedros, con una volpe argentata in spalla, codino rosa, pantaloni scoperti all'ombelico, stivaletti e cappello da cowboy. Un attimo di panico, un sorriso, tutto a posto. Neanche Pedros fu una stonatura. Pochi fortunati ricordano ancora la faraonica, esagerata festa data dal conte Cesare d'Acquarone nel 1967, su uno yacht alla fonda nelle acque di Poltu Cuatu. Nel documentario "Da lu monti a lu monti", prodotto dalla Master video nel 2004, l'allora concierge dell'hotel Pitrizza Antonello Martini racconta con abbondanza di dettagli quel ricevimento cui parteciparono centinaia di invitati arrivati da tutto il mondo, tanto che lo stesso hotel Pitrizza venne affittato dal Conte per ospitare i convenuti. A poche centinaia di metri da Poltu Cuatu, in quel di Baja Sardinia, il 6 agosto del 1976 l'armatore greco Stevros Niarchos volle radunare i suoi amici di ogni angolo del mondo al Ritual, il locale notturno scavato nella roccia ideato dall'estroso architetto Andres Fiore. Fu una delle notti più sfarzose e folli che la Costa Smeralda ricordi. (219) Altri teatri delle follie notturne, negli anni, sono stati S'Inferru, nel sottopiazza di Porto Cervo, per proseguire con il Pepero, Sottovento e Sopravento e concludere con il Billionaire, la creatura del manager Flavio Briatore che ha monopolizzato l'ultimo decennio di cronache mondane.
Fino a cinquant'anni fa le poche famiglie che popolavano le campagne di Monti di Mola diffidavano dei terreni più prossimi al mare, malarici e improduttivi. Nessuno li voleva e spesso finivano in eredità come i pezzi meno pregiati del patrimonio familiare. Quei litorali allora ripudiati, oggi sono il cuore della Costa Smeralda. Basterebbe questo apparente paradosso per spiegare quanto profondamente abbia inciso sulla storia dei luoghi che ne sono stati protagonisti la nascita e lo sviluppo di uno dei comprensori turistici più famosi al mondo. L'atto formale che segnò la nascita del Consorzio Costa Smeralda è datato 14 marzo 1962. Karim Aga Khan, Patrick Guinness, Felix Bigio, Andrè Ardoin, John Duncan Miller e Renè Podbielski si ritrovarono davanti al notaio Mario Altea di Tempio Pausania per firmare lo statuto, nel palazzo di Corso Umberto a Olbia che fu una delle prime sedi del neonato sodalizio.
Gli anni settanta furono comunque caratterizzati dalla creazione di nuove infrastrutture concepite per incrementare il potenziale turistico della Costa Smeralda e, di conseguenza, per favorire l'indotto economico di tutto il territorio circostante. Tra queste, decisiva fu la realizzazione dell'aeroporto Olbia-Costa Smeralda, inaugurato il 10 luglio 1974 grazie a generosi contributi pubblici. Un'opera, l'aeroporto, che da quel momento avrebbe reso più facilmente raggiungibile il comprensorio. Contestualmente la base operativa di Alisarda venne trasferita da Venafiorita al nuovo scalo e la compagnia ebbe in dotazione due moderni Dc 9, che andarono a sostituire i Fokker in servizio sino a quella data. Alisarda spiccava il volo verso un futuro che l'avrebbe resa uno dei vettori di riferimento dell'intero panorama nazionale. Il 1 luglio del 1976 rappresenta una data decisiva nel percorso verso la definitiva affermazione della Costa Smeralda quale destinazione turistica d'eccellenza. Quel giorno venne infatti inaugurato il porto turistico della Marina nuova, un approdo da seicento posti barca considerato tuttora tra i più attrezzati e confortevoli del Mediterraneo. Attorno ai nuovi moli nacque un centro residenziale e commerciale che, ancora oggi, lega il suo nome alle attività sportive, in particolare alla nautica da diporto e alle grandi manifestazioni veliche promosse dallo stesso Yacht club Costa Smeralda, la cui sede venne trasferita proprio nel nuovo complesso.