Maddalena archipelagoCorsica (France) and north-eastern Sardinia (Italy) next to the shores of the famous Costa Smeralda.
It is a popular tourist destination especially among boaters. In 2006 it was placed on the tentative list for consideration as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The archipelago's territory is a designated national park, the Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago di La Maddalena (see also at the parks.it). Permits issued by its managing body to enter protected zones of the park and exercise various recreational activities, like sailing, sport fishing, scuba diving, etc. (check for the visitor's information).
HistoryThe archipelago have a strategic value and were the object of a dispute between the maritime republics of Pisa and Genoa in the 13th century and subsequently were abandoned for a long period before being colonised again by Corsican shepherds and by Sardinian settlements in the 18th century. Napoleon Bonaparte, Admiral Nelson and Giuseppe Garibaldi all have historical links with the area.
Santo Stefano still hosts a NATO naval base, but U.S. ships left in 2008.
A product of India slamming in to Asia and Europe millions of years ago, these islands are mainly jagged rock that form steep cliffs and high peaks with amazing views all around.
The island of Budelli is particularly renown for its Spiaggia Rosa (Cala di Roto) with pink sand which were featured in the film Il deserto rosso (Red Desert) by Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni. Tourists used to bottle up the sand and over years it began to disappear, so the local government marked it off limits, only to be seen from a boat.
ClimateWindy relatively cold winters, amazing autumns and springs, hot summers.
phone: +39 0789736321address: Via XX Settembre
Frequent ferries by Delcomar and Maddalena Lines (in season up to every half an hour) connect the town of La Maddalena with the port of Palau in Sardinia. The ride lasts about 15 minutes.
By busTwo bus lines run around the islands of La Maddalena and Caprera, which are linked to each other by a bridge.
By scooterSeveral shops on the harbour front will rent bikes and scooters to passing tourists. Among them, Mega motors (via Amendola 2, every day from 09:00 to 19:00) is run by two friendly sisters and offers bikes (€15/day) or scooters (€25-60/day depending on power and time of year). Discounts start at the second day of rental and prices drop strongly between high (July-August) and low seasons.
La Maddalena island
Chiesa di Santa Maria MaddalenaThe church dates from the 18th century. It's current neo-classical façade was rebuilt in 1993 after alterations made in 1952.
phone: +39 0789 790633address: Strada panoramica, loc. MongiardinoA collections of artefacts from the wreck of a Roman cargo ship found near the island of Spargi.
Compendio Garibaldino di Capreraincluding the tomb of Garibaldi and the Casa di Garibaldi.
San Stefano island
Costanzo Ciano statueAt the eastern side of the Cala di Villamarina (small inlet at the southern shore of the island) there is an abandoned granite quarry with an bust of an Italian fascist activist Costanzo Ciano left unfinished there in 1943.
There are many beautiful beaches and coves, the best ones being usually off road and only accessible via unpaved trails. The closest one to the village is that of Tege, about 2km west of town.
The best beaches are usually on La Caprera (cala Coticcio, Testa di Polpo) and will require a 5-10 minutes easy hike to reach. On Maddalena, Trinita is definitely worth a look.
- Il Ghiottone is a tiny restaurant on the harbour with a set menu that consists of the day's catch. With ten tables only, it is best to book in the morning and see what will be on offer.
On the south-western side of the island there is a small gulf (a "cala" in italian) named "Cala Francese". This once was a french granite mining site, this granite has been used for making, among other things, the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York City. You can find a residence, run by a local family, near the now closed mine: Cala Francese Residence.