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Tuesday, 27 April 2010 19:01

Cala Gonone

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Cala Gonone is a small seaside resort of austere, unadulterated coastline extending over 40 km, within the Orosei Gulf. Almost entirely devoid of concrete, its beaches – Cala Luna, Cala Sisine and Cala Mariolu – of various sizes, are among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean, interrupted only by coastal towers and harsh limestone cliffs.

Whoever defined Sardinia as “an island of primitive countryside, a people of stones” and created the dual concept of “Sardinia and sea” undoubtedly had in mind the Cala Gonone/Dorgali area of the island. Here, the visitor is treated to emerald green sea, dense, uncontaminated forests on imposing mountains, and silent heathlands, over which ancient, mystery-laden nuraghi keep watch.

Cala Gonone is the privileged custodian of one of the most beautiful and attractive coastlines in the Mediterranean, almost certainly the longest without human settlements (perhaps because only accessible by sea), thus preserving its virginal integrity. The main bathing area is immersed in the green of ilexes and rosemary bushes and is equipped with modern hotel facilities, restaurants and a tourist harbour. Every part of the resort can be easily reached on comfortable motorboats: Cala Luna, Biriola, Miriola … all bays with golden sand and transparent water. The coast, rich in deep fjords and only partially explored caves, offers the visitor the great “Bue Marino” (“Sea Ox”) cave, last refuge of the monk seal, with a journey rich in fascinating underground chambers, lakes, and veritable forests of stalagmites and stalactites.

Dorgali is only a few kilometres away from the sea behind a towering range of mountains. An important village centre and craft area, it welcomes the visitor with the hearty bustle of an Eastern market, its shops and boutiques proudly displaying their ancient craft products: Terracottas, leather goods, carpets, embroidered shawls from the local costume adorned with splendid filigree jewels, gold objects faithfully worked according to ancient canons. What is more, Dorgali, has modern hotel structures that are particularly suited to those visitors looking not simply for sea and sand, but also tradition, folklore, good cooking, archaeology and antiquity. Its mysterious funeral monuments hide millennia of history: “Fairies’ houses”, “giants’ tombs” and dolmen testify to the deep religiosity of the ancient inhabitants of this land. A special mention is merited by the carsic cave of Ispinigoli, open to visitors from March-October. Here, tourists have the chance to see an immense cavern, decorated with alabaster concretions and dominated by a 38m-high stalagmite. Sea, sun, caves, excursions into undiscovered nature, hospitality, folklore, archaeology: This is Cala Gonone/Dorgali.

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