Have a look at those pictures to see some other curiosities... (Castle hotel, Church, Cave of the old centre).
Hotel 'Villa Las Tronas' was built at the end of the 19th century. It was the residence of the
Italian Royalty during their holidays in Sardinia until the 1940s. It's now a luxurious hotel with controlled access.
Favorite thing: You may discover the harbour either from the coastal road, for instance when you arrive from the airport, or through one of the gates, entrances to the old city centre or from the walls surrounding this city centre.
Streets in the old town centre of Alghero are typical. There are nearly all stone paved and so narrow, it's difficult and unpleasant to drive a car although they are allowed and used!
Houses are colourful with Venetian shutters, sometimes with hanging linen.
Notice in the pictures other particularities in Alghero: wandering cats, street names in two languages (Italian and Catalan).
Walking with hands in the back: a typical attitude of elderly men ? (See Picture)
The old town centre is surrounded by the ancient walls of the spanish bastions, interrupted only by large towers. It was recently restored. A walk inside these walls will let you discover cabble-stone narrow streets (see "typical street" Tip), several churchs and smalls squares (piazzetas).
The tower 'Espero Reial' (Piazza Sulis), built during the 16th century, constituted one of the bastions of Alghero. It is 23m high and 23m broad. It contains two superimposed chambers and a helicoidal staircase to access the upper chamber. It was the prison which housed Vincenzo Sulis who defeated the French army at the end of the 18th century.
In 1353, the Catalan fleet defeated the Genoa's protection. The Algherese revolted by killing the commanding officer. The Spanish responded by sending 12,000 men to suppress the revolt. The original inhabitants were forced to abandon their homes and allow the town to be settled by Catalan families.
This Catalan influence is still largely present today in Alghero. Half of the population speaks Catalan, street names are both written in Italian and Catalan and it's hard to guess one name from the other.
Alghero probably gets its name from the abundance of seaweed in its waters.
It's a small city (40 000 inhab.) with a historical centre.
The Catalan influence dating back from the XIVth century is still to be seen in the architecture, street names and language (half of the population speaks Catalan).
We were based in the town of Alghero, which is on the north western part of the island. The old part of the town has some beautiful Catalan gothic architecture and is fascinating to walk around in. The streets are cobbled and sometimes awkward to walk on so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
The town is surounded by high walls and was founded in the 12th century. Several well preserved towers are dotted in strategic places but it is not possible to go in them. During the Catalan period, the wealthy families built 'palaces' which were more like three story terraced homes. Most of these are now apartments but some have been turned into restaurants so you are able to see what the inside might have been like.
The town is also famous for coral and there are jewelers everywhere selling pink and red coral jewelry. Some is very nice and not too expensive. Others are exquisite works of art and looked like museum pieces. Gold jewelry is another big tradition and there is some beautiful filligree work.
Another town we visited was Bosa. This is about 46km south of Alghero and also dates back many centuries. There is little remaining of the castle on the hill but you can still climb the steps to see it. The view of the valley is really beautiful. Bosa has it's share of gothic architecture as well.
The entire island is a dream for anyone interested in archaeology. Nearly every hill has a Nuraghe tower on it. These were built by the earliest known people on the island and date to the Bronze Age. The remains of their tombs are found everywhere as well and are equally as fascinating.
Fondest memory: Walking from our apartment to Alghero Old Town every night for a fantastic meal!
Fondest memory: Sitting on the beach, doing absolutely nothing watching the world go by. The beach wasn't full of screaming kids.
Has to be the town and the people. Both so welcoming in their own ways.
Fondest memory: Wandering through the back streets. Stopping for coffee or spending hours just sitting watching the boats in the harbour