Here we are in Alghero, dear friends, the small Barcellona of Sardinia, one of the access doors to the island, where a big part of inhabitants still speaks Catalan, the language of the ancient conquerors and where every place in the city exudes history, beauty, traditions, good food and a good lifestyle.
Settled on the north-western coast of the island, Alghero suddenly conquers tourists and travellers by its harmonic and spectacular architectural profile: ramparts (beautiful the walk!) which challenge the sea’s strength, towers, churches, luxury residences, houses with radiant colours.
The rest comes from daily life vivacity; ships coming and going in a traffic; the elegant Cristoforo Colombo waterfront promenade, that is a sort of small local rambla, just like in Barcellona; the beauty of red coral’s jewels. This coral is one of the most appreciated, which is caught along the Alghero‘s coasts and it represents an important voice of the local craftsmanship and economy. So important, that a little branch of coral appears in the city coat of arms. And the goodness of the cuisine is the lobster. In the Catalan way, naturally!
Alghero history is funny. Founded in 1102 by Doria rich genoese family and very desidered for its strategic position, it was the Sardinian town that longer resisted the Spanish conquer. Spaniards named it Aragona’s Jewel when finally won.
Today Alghero is the fifth town of Sardinia for number of inhabitants and the third university center after Cagliari and Sassari. Its historical nucleus, the ciudad vella, has all the ingredients of an art city, thanks to a nice mix of buildings, like the wonderful Palazzo de Ferrera, symbol of citizen architecture, where the emperor Carlo V also used to lodge.
Renaissance churches like Santa Maria Cathedral, the Church of Mercy with a precious five hundred wooden Crucifix or St. Michael Church, with its polychrome majolica dome that shines under the sun rays. Architectures in baroque sabaudo style, like Palazzo Serra and neoclassic buildings like Palazzo Civico or Palazzo Lavagna.
The rest is a picturesque maze of red roofs, roads and alleys, where shops, studios, coffe shops and smal restaurants fuse making the joy of tourists and gourmet visitors.
Over that lobsters country, Alghero is also the city of Focaccia Milese, 80 centimeters of greed, stuffed with tomatoes from Nurra farms (the lowland in northern Sardinia), tuna, firm eggs, rucola, anchovies, Banari onions and bacon, all seasoned with vinaigrette sauce, whose recipe is top secret. The Focaccia Milese is a generous example of street-food (excellent also for the beach). It’s prepared in an historical and wellknown place, Cafe Focacceria Milese, a few steps from the ancient boundaries.
Finally, dont’ leave Alghero without visiting the surroundings, kingdom of a powerful and primitive nature, like the Capo Caccia promontory with the Caves of Neptune, a geological wonder known since remote eras, accessible by boat from the harbour,going down the 656 steps of Escalada del Cabirol, dug in the rock and leaned out on the open sea, where the look loses itself in the blue.