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Porto Cervo: the heart of Costa Smeralda 0 Comments

Porto Cervo: the heart of Costa Smeralda

Porto Cervo, under the municipality of Arzachena, 31 Km far and 35 minutes by car from Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites, is the main centre of Costa Smeralda.

Till the sixties, before the beginning of the tourism activity, in the typical rural settlements, the so-called stazzi, the people of Gallura region lived of growing crops and raising livestock; the roads were difficult to access. A road section of about twenty kilometres that today may be made by car in 12 minutes could take 2 boat trips and 12 km by land as in the case of the route from Liscia di Vacca to Arzachena.

But in the sixties, the prince Shah Karīm al-Husaynī, better known as the Aga Khan, was seduced by Sardinia, fell in love with its ancient origins and its ancient traditions, its beautiful sea and its fragrant wildland, and he decided to make it a corner of paradise. Born in 1936 in Geneva, in 1957 he succeeded his grandfather becoming Prince, a Muslim Imam of the Shiite Ismaili community. He is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad through his cousin Ali. In 1959 he graduated in the United States, at Harvard University, in Islamic history. 

In the '60s, despite a path full of obstacles created by landowners and local and Italian politics, but trusting his project, he managed to realize his dream by buying those poor and sterile lands lapped by the wonderful emerald colour sea. With the aid of architects and scenographers, he created an architecture in harmony with the Gallura landscape, becoming the discreet insertion of this style, in respect of the immense natural heritage of this tract of coast of Sardinia, his success, developing the tourist complex of the Costa Smeralda. An architecture that spread throughout the northeastern coast creating the "Costa Smeralda" style, a mix of exquisitely Mediterranean shapes and structures. In 1963, aiming to encourage Sardinia's tourist connections with the rest of Europe, he founded the Alisarda airline, which became Meridiana and which today is Air Italy.

Porto Cervo is famous for its promenade, the “piazzetta delle Chiacchiere” in the centre, the “Sottopiazza portico”,  a set of narrow alleys, windows and multicoloured balconies in the characteristic style. On the outskirts, there are the most fashionable nightclubs and the most prestigious restaurants, the true centre of the coast nightlife.

A particular note deserves the white Stella Maris Church that, high on a hill, guards the Gulf of Porto Cervo. Designed in the sixties by the architect Michele Busiri Vici, it is a structure of asymmetrical beauty, a work of contemporary architecture inserted in the Gallura scenery where granite is bejewelled with Mediterranean vegetation and then plunged into the emerald sea, bringing spirituality where the holiday atmosphere is a little light-hearted and worldly.

You can easily arrange a visit to Porto Cervo and the other wonders of Costa Smeralda: the Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel & Suites' Concierge service will help you find the best solutions to organize a memorable tour. 

secure pluralistic society requires communities that are educated and confident both in the identity and depth of their own traditions and in those of their neighbours”. (Karim Aga Khan)

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Written by Daniela Toti

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