Category Archives: Alghero

Alghero’s Cathedral of Santa Maria in Italy

Catalan Gothic cathedral's bell tower in Alghe...

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Alghero is a beautiful coastal city of medieval origin situated in the northwestern coral coast of Sardinia. This town is 300 miles off the coast of Spain near Barcelona. They speak Italian as well as Catalan.

The recently refurbished cathedral of Santa Maria (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Immacolata di Alghero)  stands in Piazza del Duomo on Via Sant’Erasmo. Some of its oldest structures provide an outstanding example of the late Catalan-Gothic period.  This cathedral has been the bishop’s seat since 1503.

Door of the Cathedral’s Bell Tower in Alghero Sardinia

This cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It has an elaborate apse and an octagonal bell tower with a pyramidal cuspid. Some of the construction has dramatically transformed the interior and the façade. The original facade was replaced in 1862. The changes include four neo-classical Doric Columns supporting a triangular pediment  and a new central staircase.

The bell-tower is behind the church. It was part of the first phase of late Gothic construction and was modeled after the Cathedral of Barcelona. It has an octagonal barrel and pointed arch openings. It is crowned with a slender pyramid-shaped spire with polychrome majolica that is commonly used in Catalonia.  The distinctive Gothic  bell tower can be visited during high season.

Campanile of Santa Maria Cathedral in Alghero Sardinia

In 1503 Pope Julius II  implemented a major overhaul of the dioceses of Sardinia. He was supported in his efforts by King Ferdinand II. The first part of the building was finished during the first half of the XVI century and Alghero’s noble families guaranteed the financing needed to complete the project.

alghero Sardinia

Ornate lions in the cathedral of Alghero

The Cathedral was consecrated in 1730; 400 years after its foundation.  It houses the neoclassical marble mausoleum of the Duke of Monferrato, brother of King Carlo Felice  of Savoy, who died in 1799. This  mausoleum was sculpted by Felice Festa in 1807.

The interior space has three naves, separated by pillars and columns.  There are six chapels adorned with interesting sacred art. The first chapel to the right is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament and it has an imposing altar consecrated in 1824. The carved marble is decorated the center with a circular temple reminiscent of the Temple of Vesta in Rome.

The Virgin protects the sailors in Alghero Sardinia

The Baptism in Alghero’s Cathedral

The presbytery has five chapels which include the base of the bell tower. It is surrounded by a balustrade, made ​​of inlaid marble with a coral hue. On the sides of the stairway to the altar there are two marble lions that resemble their kindred spirits in the Cathedral of Cagliari.

The balustrated high altar has a group of sculptures depicting the Immaculate Conception accompanied by angels.

The main altar of the cathedral in Alghero Sardinia

There is an elegant pulpit . Behind the wooden choir, in the apse there are five Gothic radial chapels.

Cathedral of Alghero Sardinia

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides available @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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What’s Special about the Cuisine in Vino con Vista Sardinia Italy?

Sardinia _Stintino

Sardinia _Stintino (Photo credit: Viola’s visions ◕‿◕❤)

Vacanze in Sardegna - Summer Holiday in Sardinia

Vacanze in Sardegna – Summer Holiday in Sardinia (Photo credit: Tofom)

Sardinia_Alghero

Sardinia_Alghero (Photo credit: Viola’s visions ◕‿◕❤)

Pecorino sardo

Pecorino sardo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sardinia map

Sardinia map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Cheeses and sausages from Sardinia Is...

English: Cheeses and sausages from Sardinia Island (Alghero Public Market) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sea urchins roe in Alghero Sardinia
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If you have been following my posts, you may recall that I mentioned that the best meal I’ve ever eaten was at Andreini in Alghero, Sardinia.

English: 16th century catalan city walls, Algh...

English: 16th century catalan city walls, Alghero, Sardinia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Administrative and road road map of S...

English: Administrative and road road map of Sardinia (bilingual) Italiano: Mappa amministrativa e stradale della sardegna (bilingue) Sardu: Mapa de sas amministratziones e de sas carretteras de sa Sardigna (bilingua) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sardinia

Sardinia (Photo credit: giannisl)

Flag of Sardinia

English: Pecorino Sardo cheese

English: Pecorino Sardo cheese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had pasta that was prepared in a flaming wheel of “Pecorino Romano della Sardegna” cheese with botarga as a first course and “porceddu” as a second course which is spit-roasted suckling pig.  Sardinia’s cuisine is influenced by its insular geographic position as well as its farming and pastoral roots.

English: Cheeses and sausages from Sardinia Is...

English: Cheeses and sausages from Sardinia Island (Alghero Public Market) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The island prepares a special paper-thin bread called “carasau” that is served warm. Sometimes it is sprinkled with oil, tomato, pecorino cheese and eggs. It is simple but delicious. For special events and holidays like Easter the bread is embellished to represent sacred objects or shapes.

The regional specialty in the pasta arena is “malloreddus” which are small elongated shells that are spiced with saffron and prepared “alla campidanese” with tomatoe, sausage and pecorino cheese. These little dumplings are still made by hand in many towns in Sardinia. Local restaurants also serve spagehetti alla ricotta e noci (with walnuts). Another interesting Sardinian specialty is “culurgiones” which are large ravioli filled with potatoe, mint and cheese.

English: Alghero skyline and beach of Lido sar...

English: Alghero skyline and beach of Lido sardegna – sardinia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the coastal regions, seaside restaurants serve pasta with sea-urchins or bottarga (sea urchin roe). In the summer, spaghetti with lobster is your best bet. Fish soups like “fregula con cocciula” or “ziminu” are quite tasty. The “filetti di spigola allo zafferano” offers sea bass with saffron. Tuna is plentiful on the Isola di San Pietro.

The island has more sheep than people so lamb and mutton are regional favorites. The “pecora bolita” is mutton stew and the “cosciotto di agnello alla vernacia” is leg of lamb cooked in wine.

For dessert, try some “seadas” or sebadas” which are round pastry disks filled with cheese and lemon zest that are fried and served with strawberry honey. I love the “amaretti” cookies made with almond paste. Don’t miss the “mirto” which is a dessert liquor made from the myrtle bushes that cloak the island.

On the western coast, many Catalans migrated to Sardinia and brought their wine making expertise with them which you can enjoy when you try the “Vernaccia d’Oristano.”  I prefer the dry red “Cannonau” di Sardegna.

The Nuragus vine is found exclusively in Sardinia to produce the white Nuragus di Cagliari wine. Don’t forget to visit the UNESCO World Heritage ancient Nuragi structures in Sardinia. To learn more about Italy visit www.vino-con-vista.com

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Alghero’s Spectacular Vino con Vista Sea-Caves in Neptune’s Grotto

Grotta di Nettuno, Sardinien

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For an amazing day trip from Alghero‘s Old Town, visit the spectacular sea-caves  of Neptune’s Grotto located at the promontory of Capo Caccia.  The geological wonder is located directly under the lighthouse at sea-level. This fascinating natural jewel in Sardinia‘s Mediterranean basin attracts over 150,000 visitors per year.

These marine caves are located to the west of the town of Alghero and can be reached by boat or by a steep set of stairs. The scenic boat trip on the way to the caves  includes the tranquil blue bay of Porto Conte and the spectacular vertical cliffs at Capo Caccia. The cave was once a habitat for the Mediterranean Monk Seal, which has become extinct in the area.

The caves are accessible from the sea with the “Linea Grotto” boat tour that leaves the Port of Alghero every day (weather permitting). The other option is on foot via the “Escala del Cabirol” (Billy Goat Stairs). This dramatic set of about 660 steps is cut into the side of the cliff. I have personally traveled both ways and believe me,  I definitely prefer the boat trip from the harbor of Alghero!

This enchanting fairy-tale underworld sea-level cave complex was discovered by fishermen in the 18th century. Dramatic lighting enhances the magical stalactites (on the ceiling) and stalagmites.

These dramatic formations create impressive shapes that resemble organ pipes and cathedral columns.

 

The tour begins at the great room holding the transparent waters of the Lago Lamarmora (Lake Lamarmora). This is one of the largest saltwater lakes in all of Europe.

Admire the Acquasantiera (The Baptismal Font). This monumental stalagmite collects rain-water and serves as a vessel for birds that nest in the Capo Caccia region.

The tour moves into the Sala delle Rovine (Room of Ruins) and then proceeds to the Majestic Reggia with impressive columns.

One of the distinctive stalagmite formations is known as the Albero di Natale (Christmas Tree). You can view the Spiaggia dei Ciottolini (Pebble Beach) and then travel to the Sala Smith (Smith Room). In this room, the Grande Organo (Great Organ) has the largest column in the entire grotto. This room was named after the English captain who  was one of the first people to explore the grotto in the early 1800’s.

Beyond the “Great Organ” explore the columns that adorn the Sala delle Trine e dei Merletti (The Lace Room). The tour ends in the Tribuna della Musica (The Music Gallery) with a nice view of Lamarmora Lake

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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Visit “Little Barcelona” in Vino con Vista Alghero Sardinia

The beack in Alghero, Sardinia, Italy.
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Pristine Sardinia, like Sicily, is an island that has historically been plagued by foreign invaders because of its strategic location in the Mediterranean.

English: Piazza Sulis in Alghero (Sardinia), I...

English: Piazza Sulis in Alghero (Sardinia), Italy. Italiano: Piazza Sulis ad Alghero (Sardegna), Italia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is characterized by soaring cliffs, beautiful beaches and granite coasts.

Italiano: stemma della Regione Sardegna. Engli...

Italiano: stemma della Regione Sardegna. English: coat of arms of Sardinia Region. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1861, Sardinia became part of a Unified Kingdom of ItalyVittorio Emanuele II, of the Royal House of Savoy, was the son of Charles Alberto of Sardinia and Mary Therese of the Hapsburg Empire. He was born in Turin and was the King of Sardinia from 1849-1861. He became the leader of the new monarchy when Italy unified in 1861.  He reigned until his death in 1878.  When Italy unified in 1861, Rome retained papal status and Venice was still under Austian rule for an additonal decade.

Prior to the unification in 1861, the Phoenicians, Cartheginians, Romans and Spanish invaded and influenced the customs, culture, language and cuisine of Sardinia.  To get to magical Sardinia by air, fly into the main airports in Alghero, Olbia and Cagliari. Ferries from the mainland dock at Cagliari, Olbia and Porto Torres.

Sailing From Sardinia to Sicily

Sailing From Sardinia to Sicily (Photo credit: Nouhailler)

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediteranean and small enough to drive across in one day.  There are 1.6 million residents and 3 million sheep.  Like Sicily, this coastal paradise evolves from a mountainous center.

English: alghero (l' alguer) - old town sardin...

English: alghero (l’ alguer) – old town sardinia – Sardegna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sea hurchin fishing in Alghero Sardinia Italia...

Sea hurchin fishing in Alghero Sardinia Italiano: Pesca del riccio di mare ad Alghero Sardegna Català: Pesca d’eriçons de mar a L’Alguer (Sardenya) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alghero is an idyllic former Catalan Colony on the western side of Sardinia. It is called the Coral Riviera.  Alghero’s Centro Storico (old town), is protected by ancient walls.  This charming citadel has labyrinthine cobblestone streets and glorious towers.  Each year they host a car race.

Visit the 16th century Catalan Gothic Duomo in “Little Barcelona.”  The Duomo has a majolica dome and a high altar filled with beautiful statues and houses the Diosesan Museum of Sacred Art.  Climb the bell tower behind the Cathedral for beautiful views.  The restored 14th century Chiesa di San Francesco has summer concerts.  Travel about five miles to see the Necropolis of Anghelu Ruju.

The best beaches are in the north.  Arrange a boat tour from the harbor to Capo Caccia.  Then travel by boat to the Grotta di Nettuna or Grotta Verde where these cave lakes have amazing stalagmites and stalagtites.

Cheeses and sausages from Sardinia Island (Alg...

Cheeses and sausages from Sardinia Island (Alghero Public Market) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the best meals I have ever had was @ Andreini on Via Ardoino in Alghero.  Order the Tagliolini in Crosta di Pecorino.  They prepare the pasta in a flaming wheel of pecorino cheese with sage and bottarga.  Then order the the roast suckling pig.  Save room for the chocolate cake with lemon sorbet.

To learn more about Italy visit www.vino-con-vista.com and Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

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Alghero’s Enchanting Church of Saint Francis in Sardinia

ChiostroSanFrancescoAHO

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St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) adoring the C...

St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) adoring the Christ Child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alghero‘s atmospheric Old Town has some enchanting churches including the restored 14th century Chiesa di San Francesco. This church complex includes a convent and cloister that was originally built in the 1300s.

The church of Saint Francis blends Romanesque, Catalan-Gothic, late Renaissance and Baroque styles.

The tranquil two-tiered cloister is the oldest part of the complex and it is located in the heart of the main shopping district on Via Carlo Alberto. The lovely arched cloister is a venue for summer concerts.

Cloister of St. Francis

The cloister leads to the small chapel at the base of the tower. There are some interesting murals inside the portico of the cloister.

The left aisle leads to the sacristy that is decorated with antique furniture and wooden statues. The sacristy leads to the  cloister that has two tiers of round arches. The higher order of arches in the cloister were added in the 18th century. The lower level arches supported by an alternating columns and octagonal pillars were original.

The church was re-built in 1598 after a collapse in 1593. It has a beautiful vault in the presbytery with some magnificent Baroque  altars that resemble those found in St. Anthony of Padua.

The altar is dominated by statues of the Virgin Mary among the saints Francis of Assisi and Anthony of Padua in 18th century polychrome marble by the sculptor Giovanni Battista Franco.

The Altar of the Church of Saint Francis

On one of the pillars on the left has a 17th century wooden sculpture of “Christ at the Column”. It is carried in procession during Holy Week .

Christ at the Column

The sandstone facade has a portal with an architrave that is decorated with the Franciscan coat of arms surrounded by angels bearing the Franciscans of the Passion. There is a small rose window surmounted by an oculus above the ornate door.

Facade of the Church of St. Francis

There are some magnificent chapels like the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament  built in the eighteenth century Baroque style.

English: Giorgione: Madonna and Child with St ...

English: Giorgione: Madonna and Child with St Anthony of Padua and St Roch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Trvel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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Alghero’s Amazing Church of San Michele in Sardinia

Dome of San Michele, Alghero/Italy.

Image via Wikipedia

English: 16th century catalan city walls, Algh...

English: 16th century catalan city walls, Alghero, Sardinia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love Alghero Sardinia. There are so many interesting churches.

The church of San Michele is a Baroque church in Alghero on the northwest coral coast of Sardinia located on Via Carlo Alberto in Old Town. The Jesuit church of San Michele was built in the second half of the 17th century by the Ligurian master builder Domenico Spotorno who also worked on the Baroque rebuilding of the Cagliari and Ales cathedrals.

Facade of San Michele

The project was drawn up by the architect Domenico Spotorno. He was a native of Savona. He also designed the Cathedral of Ales and the reconstruction of the the cathedral in Cagliari .

It is dedicated to the city’s patron saint. The majestic dome is covered with colorful tiles created and designed by Antonio Simon Mossa and Filippo Figari in the mid-twentieth century. It was lovingly restored in 2007.

The Annunciation

The dome of the Church of San Michele

In 1503, this church became the cathedral pro tempore of the Diocese of Alghero while the actual cathedral was being completed, which is  the cathedral of Santa Maria.

The simple facade of the building is made of  sandstone.  Above the wooden door, wrapped in a frame of trachyte , two marble statues representing the Annunciation, and a little higher up, a relief that symbolizes the Holy Spirit.

The interior of the church has a nave with a barrel vault and it is divided by arches resting on Corinthian columns.

Altar of San Michele

Archangel Michael has a significant presence in the church. His painting dominates the The Baroque high altar with an elaborate i8th century Spanish crucifix. His large wooden statue depicts him defeating a chained Satan under his feet. You can also find Michael in the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art a few blocks away.

Michael the Archangel

One of the chapels is dedicated to Our “Lady of the Arrow” with a large painting from 1652 hanging directly over a small elaborate niche with the statue of the Virgin of Valverde. The Shrine of Our Lady of Valverde is a few miles from the city and is the site of religious pilgrimages with momumental altarpieces by Genoese artists.

Virgin of Valverde

There are many lovely chapels in the church. The chapel in the left arm of the transept is dedicated to  St. Ignatius of Loyola. In the right arm of the transept there is a chapel, dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, one of the his early companions. There is a chapel with a painting that represents a “vision” of St. Teresa of Avila. One of the chapels on the left is dedicated to Immaculate Mary with scenes from the life of Madonna.

coat of arms of Sardinia Region.

coat of arms of Sardinia Region. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides available @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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