An Island in the Middle of the Mediterranean
municipality of LA MADDALENA
(Province di Sassari)
m. 352 s.l.m.
10800 (1700 nel borgo)
La Maddalena is a seaside borgo that lies in the sun on the south coast of the island of the same name. Sheltered from the west wind that dominates the Strait of Bonifacio, La Maddalena has chosen not to have a large port, but many small landings along the coast. Roads climb up the slope and adapt to form narrow alleys, small squares and flower-lined staircases to the oldest part of the borgo. The centre of local life is enclosed between Cala Gavetta, the deep harbour that welcomes the fishermen’s boats, Piazza Santa Maria Maddalena, where the church stands and Piazza Garibaldi, which houses the market and the town. The coast of Mangiavolpe, once inhabited only by fishermen, today hosts a lively promenade and leads to Piazza Comando, a square built at the end of the 19th century to house the maritime military command and where summer evenings are enlivened by military bands. Local granite has been used to pave the streets and the embankments, but also carved in decorative ways; the borgo is adorned with sculpted balconies and benches. The town began to develop around 1770 on the largest island of the Maddalena archipelago.
The local cuisine has influences from Genoa and Corsica. The simplest and representative dish is the ziminu, orginally a simple fish broth, in time it became richer and more refined. The fishermen’s return with the daily catch is one of the island’s highlights.
In a former coal warehouse, an artisan has resumed the ancient Sardinian craft of baskets weaving.
The Festival of Santa Maddalena, 22 July: celebrating the patron saint with an evocative sea procession, fireworks and market stalls on the main square.