The city of Alghero (population of about 45,000, rising to about 100,000 in summer) is situated in the North-West of the island on the Riviera del Corallo or Coral Riviera, and is sheltered by the stunningly beatiful headland of Capo Caccia.
The city’s historical origins date back to the Genoans, who were the first to settle in the area around the present day port, directly in front of the bastions. At the start of the 14th Century the city came under Catalan rule and remained so for about four hundred years until it was annexed under Savoy rule, becoming the Kingdom of Sardinia and the embryo of the Italian state. It is this melting-pot of architectural styles, with a strong Catalan flavour, which makes the old town so picturesque: tiny churches and well-preserved buildings are found around every corner in its maze of colourful and lively side-streets.
Tourists and residents alike flock to Alghero’s numerous bars, restaurants and clubs, espescially during the busy summer months. The city of Alghero is without doubt one of the island’s entertainment hotspots.
The spell-binding beaches of Portoferro, Maria Pia and the central Lido are just a few examples of the many sandy bathing spots within easy reach of the city.
The cuisine of Sardinia and Alghero
The speciality of Alghero is undoubtedly lobster: it is eaten in salads, baked, grilled, or used in sauces for maccarrones (a type of pasta) or spaghetti. The countryside around the city is an unlimited source of excellent seasonal fruits and grapes. Cuisine in Alghero, and throughout Sardinia, is also traditionally based on farming and agricultural produce: salami sausages, minestrone, ravioli and maccarrones in meat- or cheese-based sauces, spit-roasted lamb and goat. Cagliari is famous for its excellent sea-food, and its equally delicious dishes based on the island’s age-old farming tradition. Bread is ever-present, of exceptional quality and varies from one town to the next. Worth a mention among the island’s specialities are: zuppa di pesce (a traditional fish soup), malloreddus (small gnocchi or dumplings, generally served in a meat-sauce), carasau bread (also called sheet music as it is so flat) and fregula (a grain-based soup with saffron and cheese).