Porto Torres is located on a limestone headland in the centre of the Gulf of Asinara .
It was founded by the Carthaginians and during the Roman period it was one of the most important commercial towns of the Mediterranean : an importance it maintains today with the industrial and civil port that has recently been renovated and widened. To testify to the glorious past of Turris Libyssonis, as it was called by the Romans, we have the remains of the Palazzo di Re Barbaro, a Roman bridge characterised by seven unequal arches and numerous baths including that of Diocletian.
All the finds from the Roman period are conserved and on display at the Antiquarium Turritano that is located within the archaeological area of the Palazzo di Re Barbaro.
A splendid Aragonese watchtower testifies to the Spanish domination.
Curiosity: the search for the missing saints
According to tradition, the three martyrs saints, Gavino, Proto and Gianuario were decapitated on a rock at Balai in the third century AD by order of the emperor Diocletian. Their bodies were recovered thanks to a large scale excavation ordered in 1614 by the Archbishop of Sassari, Gavino Manca de Cedrellesche, the remains were then placed in three sarcophagi within the crypt of the basilica of San Gavino.