For over 60 years thousands of tourists from all over the world have walked through the ancient squares and characteristic cobblestone streets of the historic centre of Alghero. The Catalan city is a veritable historic and environmental freak in North Sardinia . Founded by the Genoese in the 11th century, Alghero became a Catalan colony in 1354. Its inhabitants speak a Catalan dialects to this day and the streets of the historic centre are indicated with names in Italian and Catalan. The Aragonese-Spanish domination lasted until 1720.
That Alghero is a Catalan city is evident not only for its language, its traditions, its customs, its food, but also for its very beautiful monuments in Gothic Catalan style with influences from Arab architecture. We will note some:
- the elegant bell towers and the Cathedral dedicated to S.Maria (16th century). The church is believed to have been an adoption of pre-existing arab mosque;
- the church and cloister of San Francesco , built in the 1400's;
- Casa Doria , residence of the old government;
-The beautiful Palazzo d'Albis in Piazza Civica, an example of Gothic architecture from the 16th century, with monofores and bifores;
- the Chiesa di San Michele (16th century) with its famous cupola covered with polychrome majolica tiles.
The imposing watchtowers and bastions built for the defence of the city surround the historical centre, the so-called "città murata" (walled-in town). The Torre di Porta Terra , built in the 15th century by Jewish builders is one of the many towers that emerge in the town, it is accompanied by that of San Giacomo and Sulis on the Lungomare Colombo and the towers of Polveriera and of Magdalena , built on the opposite side of the historical town, towards the port.
Curiosity: when Charles V stayed in town
The D 'Albis building was the residence of the governor of the city and temporary headquarters of the Viceroy of the island. The building, property of the D'Albis family, hosted the emperor Charles V in 1541, while he was travelling on an expedition to Algeri. It is said that the emperor, on looking out one of the windows of the building, defined the city " Bonita por mi fè, y bien asentada": this phrase, difficult to translate, means more or less "graceful, pretty, and in an excellent position".