Asinara is preparing for a big change. This island of Sardinia, with its rough and wild features, will soon become a destination for sustainable tourism. This long-awaited dream is preparing to become a reality. By July it could, in fact, obtain the certification of Europarc, a European federation that works to improve the management of protected areas through cooperation and exchange of experiences. A network united by love for nature. Wonderful news for this Sardinian island that we all remember for the maximum security prison or the place where Falcone and Borsellino “took refuge” to work at the maxiprocess. The goal is ambitious: to protect and promote natural beauty, support biodiversity and marry a holistic approach. Asinara is a wonderful place that can decline all these combinations and fully dedicate itself to eco-sustainable tourism. In respect of that National Park which is a natural beauty to protect.
Asinara aims for sustainable tourism
The island could therefore become the first park in Sardinia certified by Europarc. The inspection has already been carried out and pending work is already underway on the long-cherished project.
The idea is to transform the Asinara National Park into a scattered hotel. Sardinia has been dedicated to this type of hospitality since 1995 in Bosa, in the municipality of Oristano. It is now necessary to start a work of valorization of homes and redevelopment in order to ensure tourists a splendid welcome and give new life to the entire village of Cala d’Oliva. On the construction site there would be 800 thousand euros for 38 accommodations but it is thought to go much further, intervening on the houses in order to guarantee all the essential services to welcome the tourists who will come. The village already has accommodation facilities: there is a church, a small square, a cinema, a pizzeria and even a shop.
Wild nature and unspoiled beaches
The scattered hotel project is one of the largest, on a national scale, of transforming old barracks into hostels or hotel structures. The former maximum security prison could have a new skin and become a tourist destination. However, the watchword is that of sustainability because the Asinara National Park, which is part of the municipality of Porto Torres in the province of Sassari, is above all a wonderful place to tiptoe respecting the unspoiled nature that distinguishes it.
It is also a protected marine area. The characteristics of this island of about 50 square kilometers – located between Sardinia and Corsica – are the wild landscapes, with spectacular flora and fauna. Mediterranean spots, animal species characteristic of this area, such as the white donkey, seabed rich in life. And again, rugged paths and coves within walking distance and others where it is better not to go into the respect of this earthly paradise. A sea of changing colors that captures and enchants you. One hundred and ten kilometers of coast: steep cliffs characterize the western side while the eastern one is more sandy with emerging rocks. In front of it an expanse of crystal clear water.
The vegetation is typical of the Mediterranean basin: low shrubs and trees from the high canopy. Many junipers and ferns. Along the coasts, we can find wild fennel, lemon, the gorse of the reef.
The isolation of these areas has allowed the development of a rich fauna. There are about 80 species in the park, many of which are rare. In the Asinara Park hares, weasels, mouflons, wild boars, horses and especially the famous white donkeys that live in the wild roam. The wetlands of the area host amphibians but there are also several species of reptiles. The sea birds are the Corsican seagull, the marangone with the tuft and the Sardinian partridge. Furthermore, Asinara has long been part of the so-called “Cetacean Sanctuary”, classified as a Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Interest. The whale, the sperm whale, the dolphin, stenella and many others live in this sea.
From maximum security prison to protected island
Asinara was a penal colony and later a penitentiary in which Sardinian bandits and criminals were imprisoned. In 1975 it became a maximum security prison then closed in 1998 when the island became a National Park.
In the mid-eighties, four months before the start of the maxiprocesso, the judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino stayed there for security reasons in a building overlooking the sea and used as a guesthouse. The island is a wonderful place where nature explodes between sky and sea. Today it’s preparing to become an eco-sustainable tourism destination and to redevelop the ancient village to open it to those who want to come and visit the island.