Tuesday, 27 April 2010 20:06

History Cala Gonone

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From ancient times, the small village of Cala Gonone was home to small groups of fishermen from Campania and the Italian islands. The work of the inhabitants was determined by its almost complete isolation from the outside world, sealed to the west by mountains and to the east by sea.

1860 - Inauguration of the "old tunnel"

At the beginning of the C19th, a project to bore through Mount Bardia was agreed, to open up communication with Dorgali. On 7th February 1860 the tunnel (“old tunnel”), was solemnly inaugurated, to the cheers of thousands of people, able to access Dorgali for the first time by road. In time, collaboration between the two localities increased, the first real houses built and sea-trade begun.The bay at Gonone, very often tempestuous, had no safe landing place, and mooring represented a real danger. Complaints about this from the ship owners convinced the local council to construct a launching cradle on the beach. In 1881, Dorgali’s mayor, Cavalryman Antonio R Serra, became interested in the problems of the village and took charge of the plan to develop the Marina. During a visit by the sub-prefect and ex-lawyer Ciriaco Pala, Serra took the opportunity to hand over a report concerning the problems of Gonone: the promised financial backing had not arrived, and as a consequence, the only landings were those of the Rubattino company, twice a week.

These berths alone, however, were insufficient to increase sea-trade for locally products goods (grain, barley, cheeses and wines). Nonetheless, the difficulties in sea-trade did not stop the Dorgali Marina becoming a summer destination for an increasing number of visitors, who travelled with carts, horses and cattle from the surrounding area (Nuoro, Oliena, Bitti, Fonni and Gavoi). The villagers spent their days walking, bathing in the water, drinking coffee at the bar and, as still happens today so many years later, going on sea excursions to see the manifold caves.

The most popular cave was the “Bue Marino” -“Sea Cow” where the villagers could observe the monk seal from close up, a previously unknown animal, which swam alone or in groups around the local waters. The seals, animals which move very quickly in the sea, have a strong, almost barking voice. In the breeding period they emit a sound similar to a roar, and a kind of growl whenever there is disagreement. Their heads stretched out flat, their skin shimmering, they love to dive and spend long hours in the sun.

In August 1898 the inauguration of the church dedicated to Our Lady, Protectress of the area, took place. A large number of people of all social backgrounds collaborated in the construction of the church, either with money, offers of work or materials. At a later date, the church was transferred and a private factory moved into the site.

In 1913, Dorgali borough council devoted itself once more to the building of the port. During this period, a dispute arose between Orosei and Dorgali, since both were interested in the work of construction.

The Mayor Giuseppe Gisellu of Dorgali appealed to Law 3095 of 1885 to ensure that the work was carried out by his borough. In 1929 hundreds of houses were built in Cala Gonone. In September of the same year, the council drew up a preliminary set of proposals to regulate the construction of houses, roads and other establishments. Thanks to the Naval league and the local militant fascist group, a “feast of the sea” took place on 12thApril 1934. In January 1932, the engineer Giovanni Ticca, obtained from the Harbour Captain’s Office in Cagliari a stretch of beach 4000m2 long to build a bathing complex. On 20th September 1933, this was opened and included a terrace, restaurant, buffet and 12 cabins each for men and women, spread all around the beach. A century after the initial request to build the port, Dorgali saw the construction completed.In the years following the Second World War, Cala Gonone was discovered by Italian tourism and became the destination for an ever-increasing number of travellers. The Dorgalese people devoted themselves to the creation of hotels and businesses. Hundreds of apartments were made available by villagers and the number of boats for sea excursions was increased. The hospitality and kindness of the people, the artistic value of their hand-made pottery and carpets, and the natural beauty of the resort continue, even today, to attract tourists to the area.

Read 7284 times Last modified on Monday, 29 April 2013 09:09
More in this category: « The Aquarium of Cala Gonone
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