What to see in Castelsardo
Visit Castelsardo, the old town and the castle
After the final bend, the stunning view is sure to leave you rather surprised, to say the least, since Castelsardo is built
on a trachyte rock, the sea lapping and occasionally thrashing at its feet. For centuries it was an impenetrable fortress.
Arriving from Porto Torres, along State Highway 200, you come across this mediaeval town clinging to the side of the rock.
It is no surprise that Castelsardo has been voted one of Italy’s most beautiful towns.
Work on the castle began in 1102. It served as the seat of the Genoese Doria dynasty until, in the late fifteenth century, it was conquered by the Aragonese, whose symbols remain on the town’s standard.
The castle is today home to MIM, the Museo dell’Intreccio Mediterraneo (Museum of Mediterranean Weaving). The edge of the mediaeval settlement is the site of the sixteenth-century cathedral dedicated to St Anthony Abbot, the crypt of which plays host to another museum, showcasing the work of the painter known as the Maestro di Castelsardo (Master of Castelsardo).
One of the most unusual and evocative festivals held on the island is known as Lunissanti. It takes place in the streets of the old town during Easter. Outside the town, the Roccia dell’Elefante (Elephant’s Rock) is one of the most popular archaeological sites, not just because of the strange shape of the large trachyte mass but also due to the presence of two very ancient tombs, the domus de janas (fairy houses) located within it. Returning to the coast road, you will come across the small town of Lu Bagnu, where the ground slopes down to the sea, the dark rocks giving way to a cloak of sand.