On the left on the most southern tip of Caprera island we will see L’Opera di Punta Rossa, or Red Cape Site. It is a complex of old military constructions built between 1879 and the beginning of the first world war on a narrow one kilometre and a half long strip of land. The complex is protected by the sea on one side and by high granite rocks on the other one.
A powder magazine full of History
The Red Cape Site is one of the most fascinating military structures from an architectural point of view. It was a powder magazine and supplied ships with munitions. Inside the complex there are some huge embrasures, warehouses, storerooms, hangars, barracks, lodgings for soldiers and officers as well as cannon emplacements, rusty rails and a steel cupola dominating the fortress from its highest point. We still can find some words written on the walls of the rooms by soldiers who spent their lives here just like the protagonists of The Tartar Steppe (or literally translated The desert of the Tartars’) written by a famous Italian writer Dino Buzzati. In other words waiting for the invasion, in our case of the French, that never occurred. Only a fata morgana, but made of rocks, not of sand as in the novel.
A paradise for photographers
The Red Cape Site is a property of the Region of Sardinia. In 2018 the Red Cape was proclaimed a site of cultural-historic-artistic importance. According to recent news, the future of this military complex should be similar to the light-houses of Razzoli and Santa Maria islands. The Red Cape Site will be entrusted to a private company for renovation and redevelopment with some areas available to the local community.
For the moment the Red Cape looks like an abandoned movie set that has become a paradise for photographers. Old buildings and the surrounding sea are used from time to time and for a couple of weeks each year by the Italian Navy special forces stationed in Varignano in La Spezia for their military exercises.
Other wonderful spots you can’t miss
We have almost finished our narration about Caprera, the second largest island of the Archiplago with surface of 15 square kilometres and surprisingly a more than 34 km of coastline. The north-east coast is rocky and not easily accessible. This part of Caprera is interesting due to the 212 metre high Monte Teialone peak, la Spiaggia del Relitto, or Ship Wreck Beach in English, named after a motor sailing boat Trebbo that wrecked here in 1955, or even the marvellous Cala Coticcio Bay often called Tahiti. Access to Cala Coticcio is allowed only with authorized local guides and must be booked in advance. Number of visitors is limited during the summer period.
The extraordinary beauty of Caprera, its bays, rock formations and the presence of high number of endemic plants all over the island led to the establishment of a nature reserve in 1980, more than 10 years before the island was part of the La Maddalena Archipelago National Park.