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Porto Conte Regional Park, Alghero, Sardinia: A Celebration of Nature

    (Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)(Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)

    Sardinia is one of the most ancient lands in the world, with an estimated age of 600 million years and, according to many, a little Heaven on Earth. Situated in west of Italy and surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, this amazing island is renowned for its rich culture, food, wines, and luxuriant natural landscapes.

    Porto Conte Regional Park

    Sardinia is renowned for its rich culture, food, wines, and luxuriant natural landscapes. (Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)

    The Sardinian people are among one of the most long-lived populations on the planet, with several being centenarians.  Its surface covers 14,968 miles (24,090 km) and includes numerous national parks, home to unique flora and fauna — one of them is the protected area of Porto Conte, in the northwestern town of Alghero.

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    Sardinian people are among one of the most long-lived populations on the planet, with several being centenarians. (Image: Jean Bajean / CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons)

    Jacques Cousteau, the famous explorer, defined Porto Conte Park as “one of the most beautiful corners of the Mediterranean.”

    This territory incorporates 37 miles (60 kilometers) of shore, more than 5 hectares of land, and is habitat to a heterogeneous biological community, including the Calich Lagoon (stagno del Calich), Baraz Lake (lago di Baraz), and Neptune’s Caves (Grotte di Nettuno).

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    Jacques Cousteau, the famous explorer, defined Porto Conte Park as ‘one of the most beautiful corners of the Mediterranean.’ (Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)

    Alghero’s coast is called Riviera del Corallo (Coral Riviera), as its marine area hosts colonies of coral and rare animal and vegetable species; therefore, it is protected too.

    Two of the most characteristic and unique regions of the Park are the limestone promontories of Capo Caccia and Punta Giglio. Capo Caccia is home to the endangered griffon vultures and the largest underwater cave in the Mediterranean — reachable by boat or through the Cabirol stairs — the Grotte di Nettuno: 1,242 miles (2,000 kilometers) of natural tunnels surrounded by ancient stalactites and stalagmites.

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    Two of the most characteristic and unique regions of the Park are the limestone promontories of Capo Caccia and Punta Giglio. (Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)

    Punta Giglio was a large military settlement during World War II, with bunkers and barracks overlooking the sea, Porto Conte Bay and Capo Caccia.

    Watch this beautiful video of Porto Conte Regional Park:

    The predominant landscape in both promontories is karstic — rocky surface, red soil, low bushes and herbs, typical of a warm and dry climate — with endemic flora such as Centaurea horrida, a thorny knapweed, Astragalus terraccianoi and Limonium nynphaeum, and other plants, including agave, myrtle, prickly pear and Sardinian and Corse broom.

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    Prickly pear. (Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)

    Porto Conte Regional Park is also home to unique animal species, including griffon vultures, peregrine falcons, swallows, barn owls, Sardinian white donkeys and small horses, hogs, deers, foxes, and more.

    The view from the top of Punta Giglio and Capo Caccia is stunning — white high cliffs, blue sea, and heterogeneous vegetation create an incredible environment.

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    The view from the top of Punta Giglio and Capo Caccia is stunning. (Courtesy of Laura Cozzolino)

    My favorite times to visit Sardinia are spring and summer. From April to May, nature is a celebration of flowers and blossoms, where yellows, pinks, reds, greens, and blues melt on the horizon at sunset and raise again at dawn. June 21 marks the beginning of summer, as the sun rays become stronger and the days longer, the temperature raises, and the weather stabilizes.

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    In this period, the island becomes, even more, the perfect holiday destination, with its beautiful climate, pristine beaches, transparent sea, inland mountains, forests, and green landscapes. Sometimes the good season can last until November. What else should anyone wish for?

    Written by Laura Cozzolino

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