The Maddalena Archipelago

La Maddalena

Archipelago of La Maddalena, Budelli

The islands of the Maddalena Archipelago were once described as “seven wonders”. La Maddalena and the other larger islands of this archipelago (Santo Stefano, Caprera, Spargi, Budelli, Razzoli and Santa Maria islands) are really seven places of incomparable beauty. They are surrounded by other small islands, set in the beautiful, clear waters, to which few can compare. La Maddalena is the main island and it is the only one which habitable. Its 15,000 inhabitants speak a special dialect which is a linguistic mix of the Sardinian and Corsican languages.

The role of La Maddalena as naval base has been one of the most important in the whole European maritime history. The Romans realised that La Maddalena was a strategic position at the centre of the Mediterranean and used it as a key outpost against their eternal rivals, the Carthaginians. They also exploited its resources for civil purposes (the columns of Pantheon in Rome are made from granite from island’s quarries). Even Horatio Nelson realised the importance of this island – he had his ships stay in these waters for several months before his final battle with the French navy – and he repeatedly insisted to the British government that it would be possible to dominate the entire Mediterranean if they were able to control La Maddelena.

The islands are a magical composition of bays, creeks, fine sand beaches and crystalline sea with granite coastline offset by the clear water. In some cases, as with the famous "Spiaggia Rosa" (the Pink Beach) in Budelli, the sand contains microorganisms which give it its unique colour. The vegetation on land is typical of the Mediterranean coast: wild shrub lands; mostly of juniper, strawberry plants, phyllirea, lentisk, myrtle, heather, cistus, euphorbia, helichrysum italicum whose scents mix in the air, awakening your senses.

As for the marine wildlife, the area is one of the best in the Mediterranean, especially for white bream, corvina and grouper fish. The Grouper fish here even let divers swim close and touch them. It is an authentic paradise where man, fish and nature live in harmony.

The islands of the archipelago

Archipelago of La Maddalena, Spargi Island

Cala Ferrigno , Spargi Island

Visiting the other six uninhabited and uncontaminated islands of the archipelago you will experience the unique and evocative scenery and scents. It is hard to say which is the most beautiful. They are all different, so every island is, in its own right, the most charming and the most beautiful.

The nearest island to La Maddalena is Caprera, which is connected to La Maddalena by a bridge. Caprera is full of beautiful bays and creeks, the most well known being Cala Coticcio.
It is also called "Garibaldi's Island" (Italian military and political hero): you shouldn't forgo a visit to the Compendio Garibaldibo - the white buildings he built with his own hands - which now house relics and heirlooms from the historical period of the Risorgimento.
Spargi, along with the other islands, can only be reached by boat. The whiteness of the soft sand dunes of the beautiful Cala Corsara will amaze you from afar and you can enjoy a break among the island’s perfumed helicrysum flowers and go for a swim in its crystalline waters. You only need to travel up the coast to discover the creeks touched only by the wind and nature.
The island of Budelli has always been considered to be the gem of the islands. The Pink Beach (Spiaggia Rosa) became popular when the film director Michelangelo Antonioni included it in his film "Deserto rosso" in the '70s. The nature here is uncontaminated thanks to the total protection afforded under the rules of the National Park. It is a mix of colours and sweet scents, where the juniper and lentisk shrub lands join the blue and emerald sea. Swimming is permitted at the next beach, "la Spiaggia dei Cavalieri" - but please do not touch the wonderful sea daffodils which grow wild there. You can have a rest on the pink sand or one of the old wooden benches, put there by who knows who and who knows when, where you can just enjoy the view of the other islands, with their evergreen coasts and the colourful sea.

Maddalena Archipelago, Santa Maria

Maddalena Archipelago National Park, Santa Maria

The islands of Santa Maria and Razzoli are beautiful and wild as well. If you take a stroll along its coast or through the Mediterranean shrub lands, you may be lucky enough to see the Corsican gull and other animals. In Razzoli it is worth going to the lighthouse, which overlooks the sea dividing Sardinia and Corsica and facing the Northern winds and the white cliffs of Bonifacio.