The historic center of Alghero

Walking through the streets of the historic center you will see the true soul of Alghero.

In the towers that surround the ancient part, in the facades of the palaces, between the mullioned windows and the walled portals, the signs of Catalan colonisation are clear.

If you reach the historic center from the marina after leaving on the right the Tower of Sant'Elmo, known as "the Madonnina" because of the statue that overlooks it, you will come to a staircase that leads, through Porta a Mare (Porto Salve), into the living room of Alghero: Piazza Civica.
This square overlooks what were once the most representative institutional seats of the Alguer, including the Palazzo de Ferrera with elegant Gothic lines, often home to the city’s governors and royalty on official occasions, the Casa de la Ciutat, the seat of the city council, the Palazzo della Dogana (Duana Reial/ Royal Custom), a must for the commanders who moored in the bay of Alghero.

You can then reach the Cathedral of Santa Maria which saw the beginning of the works only in 1567 on the site of a previous church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Very characteristic is the rear entrance of the cathedral, with beautiful Gothic decorations of the large portal dominated by the Gothic-Catalan shapes of the Bell Tower.

Between the Piazza Civica and the Cathedral begins Via Carlo Alberto, the shopping street known already in the Middle Ages as Carrer Mercaders (street of merchants) and still today one of the busiest streets for shopping. This street overlooks the Church of San Francesco, whose origins date back to the fourteenth century, which combines typical forms of Catalan Gothic and Italian Renaissance style. It’s impossible not to be fascinated by the beautiful cloister and bell tower.

Also in the same street is the church dedicated to the patron saint of the city, San Michele, which stands out from afar for its characteristic polychrome dome.

After crossing via Carlo Alberto you will arrive on the ramparts. On the left the Lungomare Dante and Valencia with the beautiful Liberty Villas built between the late XIV and early XX century. Among the most particular are the octagonal Villa Mosca and the Villa of Count Sant'Elia in which the rulers of the House of Savoy were often housed. On the right the bastions Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo and Pigafetta that will allow you to reach the Tower of San Giacomo with an octagonal plan, also known as "Torre dei Cani" for having also played the role of municipal kennel and then the Powder Keg Tower that was built in the middle of the eighteenth century, during the rule of the Savoy, used as an arsenal for weapons and gunpowder.

Walking along the Bastions you will see on the sea the imposing view of Capo Caccia with its characteristic shape of "man lying down" and in the evening you can watch the enchanting and magical sunset on Capo Caccia.

The Ancient City is the most exclusive and characteristic shopping area. Here you can buy the exclusive coral jewellery of Alghero and Sardinian handicrafts. In addition, the Italian designer Antonio Marras has chosen the Catalan Plaça Civica for his boutique, where furniture and objects of the past are in display along his collections. And to satisfy the palate there are many shops where you can buy the most authentic flavours of the local cuisine.

The trains with audio-guide will accompany you to the discovery of the Alguer Vella (the Old Alghero) while the more romantic can choose the horse-drawn carriages that run along the cobbled streets.

Photo credits Alghero: @AlePaxfoto