La Maddalena Archipelago is situated in the Bonifacio Strait, this is the name given to the sea between Sardinia and Corsica, and includes, apart from numerous islets, seven larger islands: La Maddalena, Caprera, Santo Stefano, Spargi, Budelli, Razzoli and Santa Maria. What makes it different form other archipelagos that we find all around the Italian coast is that all the islands in the La Maddalena Archipelago are very close to each other. This characteristic renders them safe and suitable for navigation, very much appreciated by locals and visitors. It also gives us the possibility to discover and enjoy the various islands in a single day.

Discovering the territory

The archipelago bedrock is mainly granite and it is covered by the Mediterranean scrub and garrigue – an extraordinary collection of shrubs that grow on the rocky and sandy soil. The garrigue of Artemisia caerulescens densiflora similar to Sagewort is endemic to Sardinia and Corsica. The one that grows on Razzoli island is really unique. In the Mediterranean scrub juniper, strawberry tree, myrtle, heather, lentisk and helichrysum predominate.

1996 the Archipelago became a National Park

The sea of the archipelago is characterized by the marvellous colours with thousands of shades ranging from dark blue to azure, the beaches are famous for the particularly fine and very light, almost white sand. In 1996 the archipelago became a national park to protect its unparalleled beauty and unpolluted landscape and especially for the conservation of the rare plants endemic to Sardinia and Corsica many of them to be found exclusively on these small islands. It was the first national park in Sardinia and it still is the only one in Italy that extends over an entire county. The geo-marine park covers 18 000 hectares including both land and sea and has 180 km of coastline. It is known also as “the wind islands” where the Mistral wind predominates. The seas of the archipelago are also part of the Cetaceans Sanctuary established by Italy, France and the Principality of Monaco in 1999.

Granite everywhere

During our trip we’ll be able to observe the robust granite buildings perfectly concealed among the rocks and the vegetation. They are the military fortresses built between the end of the 18th century and the Second World War. The hard granite rock, its abundance and availability and a capacity to blend with the natural environment are the outstanding features of these buildings. Today we’ll enjoy spotting these fortresses, although they won’t always be easy to identify due to the excellent camouflaging skills of the soldiers who built them.

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