Castelsardo, the mdieval heart by the sea in North Sardinia

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Castelsardo, the mdieval heart by the sea in North Sardinia

Breathtaking landscapes over the Gulf of Asinara, traditions, and crafts make Castelsardo one of the most beautiful villages to visit in North Sardinia during the holidays.

If you’re looking for the most beautiful places to see in Sardinia, you cannot miss this gem with its narrow alleys where history and archaeology, craftsmanship, and natural beauties blend. Medieval charm and Sardinian tradition are skilfully mixed in this characteristic village on the border of western Gallura, earning it recognition among the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.

Castelsardo: Tracing its Ancient Past

Founded in 1270 by the Genoese Doria family, Castelsardo became “Castelaragonese” for a period of 300 long years and lived under Spanish domination. Today it retains all the charm of its past and offers a breathtaking view over the Gulf of Asinara and as far as Corsica.
Recognisable at first glance: Castelsardo sits on a promontory, dominated by walls and the Castle of the Doria (still intact and open to visitors). Built in the 13th century by the Genoese family, it represents the pride of Castelsardo together with the bell tower perched on the sea of the sixteenth-century cathedral of Sant’Antonio.

Castelsardo: Elephant's rock
Driving along the scenic road, right on the roadside, you will come across a curious rock formation that resembles the shape of a little elephant, famously known as the Elephant’s Rock. It is a large rust-red trachytic boulder dominating the valley that, due to wind erosion and weathering, has over the centuries taken on the curious shape of a seated pachyderm. Many stop to take a photo because of its strange features, but the more attentive know that this charming elephant contains within it Domus de Janas, or the so-called fairy houses, used for burial rituals in the pre-Nuragic period. An important testimony to Sardinian history that has survived to our day.

Castelsardo: the baskets and the tradition of weaving

The Tradition of Weaving Lives in the Streets of Central Castelsardo

Among the narrow and winding stone streets, the air of tradition, especially that of craftsmanship, is palpable. The art of weaving is considered one of the peculiarities in the field of artistic craftsmanship in Sardinia, and Castelsardo excels in the production of handmade baskets. Being a place overlooking the sea, the women of the village, guardians of ancient knowledge, mainly use reed, wheat, and dwarf palm to create baskets of all shapes and sizes, with unique decorations. To observe them at work, just wander into the alleys: there they are, settled on the doorstep, practising the ancient art of weaving while chatting with the most curious tourists who want to know the secret of their art.
An unwritten art, passed down from generation to generation, but documented in the Museum of Mediterranean Weaving, set up inside the Castle, where you can observe the uses, applications, and decorations of the baskets, not only from Castelsardo but from all the cultures of the Mediterranean.

Castelsardo: the cathedral's bell tower

Charm and Beauty Awarded by “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”

Included in the circuit of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy also for its scenic charm, one is enchanted by the breathtaking views and characteristic glimpses that open up like windows on the sea. The same Piazza Duomo seems like a large terrace overlooking the gulf, where the main streets converge, populated by historic buildings like Palazzo Loggia and the Palace of Eleonora d’Arborea, boutiques, restaurants, and ice cream shops to cheer the visit in this little jewel of North Sardinia.

A few kilometres separate Castelsardo from Isola Rossa. Alternating days at the sea with the discovery of the territory and traditions of the island is the best way to get to know Sardinia and take home not just a holiday but a true experience in a magical and timeless place.

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