Asinara, the second largest Sardinian island after Sant'Antioco, with its long, narrow shape going north-to-south, has a distinctive rugged coastline and varied habitats.
The flora of Asinara includes 678 species: 616 spontaneous varieties and 62 that were introduced. They are typically Mediterranean and over 50% are therophytes which survive the adverse season (the summer) in the form of seeds.
The endemic species are 29 in number and represent about 5% of the general flora: some of them are exclusive to Sardinia such as the Centaureahorrida, Limoniumacutifolium, Limoniumlaetum; others belong to the Sardo-Corsican region such as the Astragalusterracianoi and Erodiumcorsicum.
The marine environment is extremely rich and important from a scientific point of view. It is characterised by well-preserved and numerous varieties of flora and fauna communities, that are highly valued from an environmental point of view, and it has high quality waters with low chemical contamination.
FAUNA AND FLORA
About 80 land-based invertebrate wildlife species breed on the Island and many of these are extremely important worldwide from a scientific point of view because of their rarity. Asinara is the only place in Sardinia where the razorbill lives.
The amphibians include the Tyrrhenian painted frog (discoglossussardus), the emerald toad (bufoviridis) and the tree frog. The reptiles include the common turtle and the viperine grass snake, while the marine birds include the Corsican seagull, the Shag, the Shearwater, the Sardinian Partridge and the Herring Gull, which are ringed in order to study their migratory habits.
There are many mammals including hares, weasels, mouflons, wild boars and the characteristic white donkey.
The typical vegetation of the heat-loving Mediterranean maquis is enriched by the mastic tree, Euphorbia arborea, Colicotome, Phillyreaangustifolia, Phoenician Juniper and Cistus.
In the northern part of the Island in an area called EligheMannu (where a reforestation programme has been in progress since 1995 organised by the AziendaForesteDemanialidellaSardegna), you can admire an ilex-oak wood covering 5-6 hectares.
The coastal garrigues and the vegetation found in the sand dunes and lagoons are particular, scientifically-interesting features of Asinara.
WINE AND GOOD FOOD
Recognised the world over for its traditional, simple and wholesome natural ingredients, that are skilfully combined, the Sardinian cuisine can also satisfy the most demanding of palates.
The richness of the area offers a variety of delicately- and intensely-flavoured products in every season, that are skilfully enhanced by our Sardinian chefs.
The delicious foods that decorate the tables in Sardinia range from pasta dishes to meat and fish specialities and various bread loaves and rich cheeses, accompanied by full-bodied wines from a tradition lost in the mists of time.
Meals are drawn to a pleasing close with cakes enriched with the flavour of almonds or honey in various varieties and with liqueurs that bear the aromas of the countryside: myrtle, laurel, basil and other Island flavourings.
The skills of the farmers and shepherds, who wait patiently for the right moment to harvest their produce, go perfectly with the ideal climate that allows the grapes to ripen on the vines.
Investigate the Parco Regionale di Porto Conte - Capo Caccia and the Parco Nazionale dell’Asinara, along a trail of 56 km lastingabout an hour.
1st stop: Parco Regionale di Porto Conte - Capo Caccia
In order to visit the Area Marina ProtettaCapocaccia - IsolaPiana you must make your way to Alghero and follow the signs to the OasiNaturalistica (Nature Reserve). The predominant features of the Area Marina Protetta di Porto Conte are the fascinating limestone landscapes dotted with caves and gorges and bathed by crystal clear waters. On the Eastern side of the majestic headland of Capo Caccia, you can explore the Grotta Verde, covered in mosses and lichens and, below its rocky spur, the Grotta di Nettuno, which can be reached along the stepped pathway known as the Escala del Cabirol.
2nd stop: Parco Nazionale dell’Asinara
Visit the charming Island of Asinara, leaving from the Porto Nuovo in Stintino and from Porto Torres: tickets can be bought from special information kiosks The Island is an environmental paradise with its wild fascinating coastline and rich variety of wildlife including many species of birds and the white donkeys which are exclusive to the Island. The Parco Nazionale welcomes visitors to enjoy its unspoilt beauty with visits organised by the Park Authority and certain private entities.
Why don't you try some of the more amazing trails along the coastline and inland with trips by boat, mountain bike or off-roader or by trekking?