The coastal towers of Southern Sardinia: majestic echoes from the past
With five centuries of history behind them, the coastal towers still watch over the island creating unique viewpoints, the perfect spots to take breath-taking photographs.
The landscape of Sardinia never ceases to surprise with its treasures and beauty. White beaches, marine protected areas, the largest number of natural monuments in Italy such as the Pan di Zucchero, regional and national parks, reserves, natural pools and testimonies of a glorious past. Between these gems are the evocative coastal towers, outposts created more than five centuries ago to protect the island. Today these offer unique views from which to take unforgettable photographs.
The towers have functioned as the defensive system of Sardinia for centuries. They were built to spot the ships of the invaders coming from the sea. King Frederick II of Spain designed, at the end of the sixteenth century, an important defence plan and established the “Royal Administration of the Towers”. This was aimed not only at the construction of new towers but also at their maintenance, the supply of weapons and the recruitment of men on guard.
This is how the Sardinian coast begins to populate with outposts located near the villages to be defended. The system followed specific communication criteria to keep the coast under control at all times, the signals had to be able to arrive quickly from one tower to another in the form of smoke, fire, or the sound of horns and bells.
Most of the coastal towers have a circular base. This type of construction was cheaper as it did not require the work of stonemasons and had greater resistance to the impact of cannons. Exceptions are the tower complex of Fortezza Vecchia in Villasimius, whose main tower boasts a triangular base, the towers of Muravera and Nurachi, which feature a square base, and the Porto Torres tower, with a hexagonal base.
Today, the coastal towers are still standing, bastions of the past. Immersed in the greenery and scents of the Mediterranean scrub they reach out towards the sea as guardians of a lively world of vacations and nature.
The coastal towers of Southern Sardinia: the 5 that should not be missed
Sardinia is the ideal destination for a holiday on the shores of the most beautiful sea, turquoise and crystal clear, to relax on the soft sand of white beaches, to practice outdoor sports in the splendid setting of natural parks and to discover an interesting past that today is revealed in the nuraghi and coastal towers, defensive outposts from enemy raids.
Let’s find out together which 5 towers cannot be missed during a stay in the South of Sardinia.
Torre della Quarta Regia
A few steps from the port of Cagliari, in Sa Scafa, the Torre della Quarta Regia, built under Aragonite rule, was part of the island’s defensive system from the barbarian invasions. Over time, it was expanded with the construction of an adjacent room to increase the space available to the guardians until it reached a height of eight meters. In these premises, each fisherman who obtained access to the lagoon (the Pond of Santa Gilla), had to leave a quarter of his catch as a “tax”, a practice that was then abolished in 1956. The tower, which in 2017 was the subject of a remarkable restoration, is a unique monument that recounts the history of Cagliari and stands in a strategic position from which it is possible to spot almost all the other coastal towers in the Golfo di Cagliari.
Torre del Diavolo
Perched on the bluest sea of Sardinia in Punta Zavorra, in the municipality of Sarroch (Metropolitan City of Cagliari), the Torre del Diavolo, also known as “Sa Torritta” or “Sa turri e su scolliu” dates back to the early seventeenth century and still stands about 50 meters high on the granite rock promontory. It has a circular base with its foundations dug in the rocks and can be reached by following a steep path 600 meters long that features an enviable panorama. Just below the tower, the rock opens to a sheltered cave, the Grotta del Diavolo and Cala Torre del Diavolo. Often quiet from tourists, it boasts a 200-meter beach lapped by a sea of green and blue shades with a deep and rocky seabed.
Torre del Coltellazzo or Sant’Efisio
The Torre del Coltellazzo or Sant’Efisio watches over the archaeological area of Nora from the top of the promontory and creates a truly evocative vista. It was built by the Spanish at the end of the sixteenth century to control naval traffic west of the Gulf of Cagliari. The fortified style, with turrets and walls, that can be admired today derives from the changes made in the eighteenth century. During the nineteenth century, the tower was equipped with a lighthouse that is still used by the Navy today. The landscape here looks like a real postcard.
Torre di Flumentorgiu o dei Corsari
The Torre di Flumentorgiu o dei Corsari, in the territory of Arbus, is set against the magnificent Costa Verde and caressed by the emerald green sea, a surfer’s paradise. The Tower offers dream views at any time of the day: the golden dunes of the beach, the hills covered with the typical flora of the Mediterranean scrub and the sand where poppies, sea lilies and violets bloom in spring. From the promontory, the evocative view is livened by delightful coves, by the beaches of s’Ollastru and Is Arenas ‘e s’Acqua, by impervious rocks and by the bay on which limestone cliffs dominate. The sunset here can leave you speechless.
Torre di Calamosca
Four kilometres from the centre of Cagliari, the Tower of Calamosca stands out in a magnificent bay sheltered by two promontories, Capo Sant’Elia to the east and the Sella del Diavolo to the west. From the sandy beach with smooth pebbles and gently sloping seabed, a small path leads to the watchtower, built in the seventeenth century by the Spanish. From this advantage viewpoint, the whole magical panorama of the Golfo degli angeli is revealed.
Would you like to admire the suggestive coastal towers of Southern Sardinia and experience a charming and elegant holiday? Book a stay at Palazzo Doglio in Cagliari