ALGHERO – History, sea, nature and curiosity

The Bed & Breakfast Pintadera is located in Santa Maria la Palma just a few minutes drive from the magnificent Alghero and it is for this our love for this city that we describe in this article hoping it can arouse interest, bringing you directly here to visit it.

Alghero in Italian, the Alguer in Catalan, s’Alighera in Sardinian, is a city of about 45,000 inhabitants, part of the province of Sassari.
It is also known as Barceloneta, the small Barcelona: the city has in fact preserved the use of Catalan, and 22% of its inhabitants speak it in the variant of Alghero.

The city is one of the gateways to the Island, thanks to the airport located near Fertilia. It is the capital of the Riviera del Corallo, a name that derives from the fact that in the waters of its bay is the largest amount of precious red coral of the finest quality and that for centuries has had great importance, so that a coral branch is inserted in the emblem of the city.

The name and its dialect

Alghero is the third university city of Sardinia, with the seat of the Department of Architecture, Design and Urban Planning of the University of Sassari.

The name of the city has uncertain derivations, but the most reliable hypothesis is that it comes from Aleguerium (algae), due to the considerable amount of Posidonia Oceanica that settles every year on its sandy coast.

In agreement with the European Union, as well as with the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, the Municipality of Alghero has decided to adopt as an official language, along with Italian, the Catalan dialect of Alghero and as an example in the name of the city streets is often Catalan wording.

His own story

The city is one of the few centers in Italy to have preserved almost intact walls and towers that have always surrounded it. Today its bastions, dedicated to the great navigators, Colombo, Pigafetta, Magellano and Marco Polo, have become an evocative walk.

Alghero was built between 1102 and 1112 by the Doria family and its first fortifications date back a few decades later. At the end of the XIII century there was an enlargement. Of what has been, almost everything has come down to us: the sea-side walls and eight sixteenth-century town towers (plus 11 along the coast).

The Porta Terra tower was Porta Rejal, the city’s entrance coming from Sassari. The tower of St. John was that of ‘middle’, while that of Sulis is known for the bloody night battle between 5 and 6 May 1412.
The urban perimeter also includes the towers of San Giacomo, Polveriera and Sant’Elmo, a holy navigator. Finally, the Royal Garitta, guard outpost at the end of the Marco Polo bastions, and the tower of La Maddalena with protruding drains to throw on the enemies oil and boiling water, also called Garibaldi, which landed here in 1855.
To the south, along the panoramic for Bosa, we find two other towers, while to the north, between the park of Porto Conte and Capo Caccia, six and three others are in Porto Ferro.

The center and its coastline

In Alghero, the whole historic center, of Spanish architectural origin, is worth a visit. Largely restored over the last twenty years, it is an authentic jewel that makes staying in the Catalan town even more pleasant. The historic center is animated until late at night, especially during the summer, by important cultural, gastronomic and entertainment events.

Alghero has a very varied natural landscape, from fine sandy beaches to cliffs with pebbles: you can appreciate the view from the sea, as you can grasp the variety of its coast mixed with vegetation, the typical Mediterranean vegetation and the pine forest that often makes from outline; much appreciated for its panorama is the promontory of Capo Caccia, with its now known cliff shaped as a sleeping giant that has become one of the symbols of Alghero.

The Capo Caccia area, overlooking the Isola Piana and the Gulf of Porto Conte, is a site of primary naturalistic interest, in which the Marine Protected Natural Area was established. The particular geological conformation, makes the area very rich in caves and ravines, still largely unexplored.
Here are the famous Grotte di Nettuno, accessible both from the sea and from the ground (through the famous Escala del Cabirol, 656 steps), and that offers inside a panorama of salt and pools, stalactites and stalagmites.

Another protected area where trekking is possible is the Arca di Noè, located not far from the hamlet of Tramariglio: here, on the edge of the cliffs, the griffin and other protected birds like the peregrine falcon, the cormorant and the seagull still nest. course.

There are also numerous possibilities for lovers of diving with several kilometers of limestone cliffs overlooking the sea and countless karstic caves, one of the most spectacular environments in the Mediterranean that offer a great variety of marine fauna and flora. Red coral colonies and various types of crustaceans, including lobster, lobsters and cicadas and then moray eels, conger eels, and specimens of brown grouper are visible just a few meters deep.
The most famous site is the Nereo cave, considered the largest sea cave in Europe, with depths ranging from -30 to -6 m.

Near the fraction of Fertilia, there is the brackish water pond of Calich, with the ruins of the Roman bridge, where pink flamingos once appeared during the migration period.

For those who love biting inside a reference point is the lake of Baratz, not far from our B & B, (the only natural freshwater lake of Sardinia) with the surrounding pine forest, lake where during the retreat the German army plunged weapons and ammunition.

Food & Wine

The Alghero cuisine is based above all on fish and shellfish, some typical dishes are the lobster algherese, coppazza and spaghetti with sea urchins, spaghetti alla bottarga, the monzette baked in the oven and the paella algherese, which then accompany the dishes and typical Sardinian products; and finally some sweets like the burnt cream and blancmange, better known with the Catalan name, menjar blanc. Among the vegetables we remember the corallino tomato, the camona tomato, the artichokes and the thistles.

The wine of this area, the Alghero DOC, is for the most part produced by the Sella & Mosca estate, of which it is possible to visit the cellars and which has a wine ecomuseum inside it; also important is the production of olive oil, which comes from the olive groves of the Alghero area.

Transportation and connections

Speaking of transport, in the Pietraia district is the station of Alghero, the terminus of the railway to Sassari. The line is served by the ARST trains that connect Alghero with Olmedo and Sassari and with various stops in the countryside crossed, including those of Punta Moro and Mamuntanas.

The port of call of the city is the Port of Porto Torres, just over 30 km from the center.
In Alghero there is also a port, but a tourist type that offers sea connections between the city and the Neptune caves or other activities and excursions.

At about 12 km from the center, near the fraction of Fertilia, there is the airport of Alghero-Fertilia, which guarantees connections between the city and various national and international destinations and that in the last ones contributed to the development of the city and, more in general, of the whole territory of the north west of Sardinia.

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