Lobster pots and castles
Castelsardo and the ancient traditions of Sardinia.
Perched on a high promontory, on the Gulf of Asinara, just 30kms northeast of Sassari, Castelsardo is one of the seven Sardinian Royal Cities cited in the authoritative "Borghi più Belli d'Italia" guide.
As they make their way up to the ancient citadel which the locals refer to as "Casteddu", visitors are treated to spectacular views across the sea to the Island of Asinara.
Doria Castle and museum
The town is dominated by the castle constructed by the Doria family of Genoa in the 12th century.
In the mid 15th century, Castelsardo fell to the Aragonese, and the name of the fortress changed accordingly.
Today, the castle provides the stunning venue for the town's Museum of Basketry and Wickerwork, in which visitors are introduced to one of the oldest of Mediterranean crafts
Over the centuries, Castelsardo has managed to weave its way into the history books, becoming one of the most important producers of baskets, rugs, lobster pots and "su fassoi" (fishing boats which were used to navigate the marshes near to Oristano), an impressive selection of which is displayed in the museum's nine halls.
Having completed the tour of the museum, visitors will want to make the walk along the castle ramparts from where, on clear days, the view extends across the sea as far as Corsica.
The Master of Castelsardo and Lu Cristu Nieddu
Spreading out beneath the castle, a maze of little lanes, narrow passageways and steep flights of steps finally opens out onto a small, stone-paved square, home to the 16th century Cathedral of Sant'Antonio Abate. Here, one of Sardinia's most important works of art, a retable by the Master of Castelsardo, is conserved.
Close by, in the Church of Santa Maria, visitors have the opportunity to admire the 14th century "Lu Cristu Nieddu" or Black Christ crucifix which, during the celebrations for "Lunissanti", is paraded through the streets of the town.
Rocks like elephants
Those keen to explore the area further, will want to visit one of the symbols of Castelsardo, the elephant-shaped Roccia dell'Elefante, located just outside the town of Sedini, before heading to the golden beach of Lu Bagnu.
If all this exploring leaves you feeling peckish, grab a sea view table at Restaurant Le Cisterne, a popular eatery created in what was once a water reservoir, or the legendary Restaurant Da Ugo, famous for its fabulous fish cuisine and incredible variety of appetizers