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Historic Centre of Alghero: what to see

Historic Centre of Alghero

What is it like to walk through the historic centre of Alghero? An incredible emotion among ancient monuments, streets and buildings that tell stories of times gone by, along with those of the locals today.

In particular, don’t miss these stops when you visit Alghero:

The medieval centre of Alghero

Alghero has a very ancient history, but the city as we know it was founded in Middle Age.

The mediaeval centre of Alghero is made up of many narrow streets, which you have to walk through in order not to miss all the gems you will come across along the way.

You absolutely cannot miss the historic shops of handicrafts: colourful woven wicker baskets and jewellery made from Alghero’s famous coral, also known as “red gold” because of its inestimable value.

coral shops historic center alghero

Coral shops are recognisable by their windows decorated with precious jewellery made from it, provided with a certificate of authenticity.

But what exactly is medieval about the historic centre of Alghero?

The layout of the streets in the historic centre and some of the monuments and palaces are built on previous constructions of particular importance that date back to the founding of the city during the Middle Ages.

As you walk through the streets of the historic centre, you will encounter the must-see stops to fully experience this immense city, starting with the famous Cathedral of Santa Maria.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria

Today, the Cathedral shows a distinctive appearance which is the result of several overlapping styles.

Over the centuries, in fact, it has been rebuilt and renovated and each part of the building expresses the taste of the era that built it.

The oldest part dates back to its foundation in 1500 and still stands before us, offering a unique spectacle.

It is the bell tower in Catalan-Gothic style, while the façade is purely neoclassical.

Chatedral Santa Maria Alghero

The remains of the Forte della Maddalena

Speaking of medieval buildings, if you visit the historical centre of Alghero and the Cathedral of Santa Maria, one stop you will particularly appreciate is the remains of the Forte della Maddalena.

It is one of three forts built in the late 1500s to strengthen the city.

The imposing structure encompasses the tower, which has actually been there since the Middle Ages, and takes its name from the statue of Santa Maddalena which was once kept in its niche.

But did you know that the Tower of Maddalena is also called ” of Garibaldi”?

This second name was given to it in homage to the “hero of two worlds”, Giuseppe Garibaldi, who landed in Alghero in 1855.

The Tower of the Espero Rejal

In Piazza Sulis, which is the heart of Alghero life, stands tall and magnificent the Tower of the Espero Rejal, which means “tower of the royal spur”. It was built during the 1500s to replace an old medieval fortification.

The tower also has another name, shared with the square: Torre di Sulis. It comes from a character with a truly tragic history: Vincenzo Sulis.

He was a revolutionary who was condemned to be imprisoned in it for a good 22 years.

Inside, the tower has walls that are no less than 6 metres thick and the large spiral staircase that connects the three floors is built right into its thickness.

Want to know something interesting?

Next to the tower are cannons that were brought exactly where you see them today in 1970, after being recovered from a Spanish galleon that sank near Alghero around 1500!

History of the city of Alghero

Visit historic center alghero

Through its streets, palaces and monuments, Alghero tells an ancient story starting as far back as 8000 years ago.

On its territory there is evidence of settlements dating back to the Neolithic: over time, civilisations and peoples have alternated, contributing to the creation of a unique local culture.

The city we know was founded in the Middle Ages, precisely in the early 12th century, by the noble Genoese Doria family.

Alghero’s location, the richness of its sea and the abundance of coral made it inevitable that over time it would be the object of battles and see alternating dominions and regencies.

Each dynasty and its events have left the city and its popular culture with a distinctive connotation.

Strolling through the streets, and especially listening to anecdotes from the locals, you will unfold an immense and extremely peculiar history.

If you want to discover it, read our article dedicated to Alghero and its history between facts and legends.

Where to stay to visit the historic centre of Alghero

Domus 81 villa sardinia
Surrounded by greenery, just a few minutes from the historic centres of Sassari and Alghero, it is surrounded by facilities for sporting activities and routes for walking, cycling or trekking. Consisting of two units with independent entrances, it can accommodate up to 12 people.

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