The Asinara National Park is one of the most fascinating and suggestive destinations in northern Sardinia.
It is located between the Sardinian Sea to the west, the Corsican Sea to the north and the homonymous gulf to the east. To the south, however, a narrow navigable canal called Stretto di Fornelli separates it from the small Isola Piana. The park is part of the municipality of Porto Torres (SS), has an area of 52 square kilometers and is completely uninhabited. The island is morphologically mountainous, with high jagged coasts including beaches, coves and a typical Mediterranean vegetation. Due to human activity the area is sparsely treed and there are no lakes and streams. Access to the park is regulated and protected and visits are only possible with affiliated operators.
The Asinara Park
A BIT OF HISTORY …
The Asinara prison was an active penitentiary in the Island until 1998 and in 2002 it became a National Park and a Marine Protected Area.The Fornelli prison is the first prison structure built on the island. Then others were opened and some were used as agricultural penal colonies. (The central branch is in Cala D’oliva, a few kilometers away)
During the years of lead this prison was used for the imprisonment of members of the Red Brigades and on that occasion the cells of maximum security were equipped. In Cala D’Oliva the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino stayed, who spent a short time on the island during the trial of the boss of Cosa Nostra Totò Riina. Numerous other prisoners sentenced to the regime of the hard prison (according to the article 41-bis of the law of 26 July 1975, No. 354) were imprisoned in this structure until 1995. Among the prisoners there was also the then boss of the Camorra Raffaele Cutolo. The prison of Asinara has been renamed “The second Alcatraz” because in the 112 years of activity (against the 29 of the Alcatraz prison) only one inmate, Matteo Boe, managed to escape.
The Austro – Hungarian Ossuary: The Austro-Hungarian Ossuary dates back to 1936 and was requested by the Austrian government.It contains the remains of about 7048 Austro-Hungarian soldiers, dating back to the First World War. The bones are positioned in the 18 windows that are present in the only room that makes up the Ossuary. In addition, inside, there are three paintings representing St. Stephen, the Madonna and St. Joseph.
The Austro-Hungarian Chapel: At the end of the First World War, in 1915, prisoners of war were poured into the Asinara hospital. During their stay on the island the prisoners worked on the construction of various construction and environmental remediation works. Thus, in this context, the Austro-Hungarian chapel was built, strongly desired by the priests in order to offer religious assistance to prisoners of war on the island.
The church: The structure was initially used as a crematorium and later transformed into a church around 1950. The structure is composed of 3 naves, of which the central one ends with an apse to N, in the facade there are 2 granite columns on which rests the eardrum.
The hospital. It is part of the maritime health station, and was completed in 1889. The architecture is interesting and particular and the structure reflects the era in which it was built. Near the hospital there is the bacteriological laboratory also built in the maximum period of maximum attendance at the health station.
The coves of asinara national park
Cala Reale: Port and safe harbor, the village built in the last decade of the nineteenth century has several structures of particular interest, such as the Royal Palace, now home to the Ministry of the Environment and for a certain period summer residence of the Savoy. Most of the buildings adjacent to the royal palace are now used as tourist services with bars and hostels. The other buildings follow the main road and you can easily recognize the hospital, the church and the Austro-Hungarian chapel. In Cala Reale it is possible to visit the marine turtle hospital (CRAMA) through a path also realized for the blind.
Cala D’oliva: Now it is an abandoned village. At first, however, it was the center of the island. It is possible to visit the central branch and the Toto Riina bunker. In addition, as soon as you disembark you can visit and swim in the beautiful Cala dei Detenuti
Cala delle barche Napoletane: A fascinating beach characterized by light, rather fine sand, with the presence of some beached posidonia. The sea with wonderful colors has a shallow and sandy bottom.
Cala del Turco: A small cove with a beach characterized mostly by pebbles, enclosed by a rocky cliff of different colors and with a flourishing Mediterranean scrub. Beautiful backdrops full of life.
Cala del Bianco: Predominantly rocky beach, with little white sand. A transparent sea with colors between blue and green. It has a medium-low backdrop. The fauna and the marine flora present are interesting.
Cala Sabina: Clear sea, magnificent backdrops and soft beach. Behind it a dense vegetation of Mediterranean scrub and Euphorbia
Cala Sant’Andrea: Beach with an enchanting appearance, vivid colors and azure sea. Also interesting from the ornithological point of view, as the seagull nests in it. Access to the beach is forbidden as a Marine Protected Area and subject to maximum protection.
Cala d’Arena: Majestic beach, located at the extreme north of the island, almost in Punta Scorno. Among its various peculiarities, its pink sandstands out. Access to this beach is forbidden, as zone A, therefore subject to maximum environmental protection. Interesting
and still under study by naturalists and biologists is the presence of Caretta-Caretta that chooses this beach to lay its eggs
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