This park, which includes the island of Asinara and its coastal waters, belongs to the Municipality of Porto Torres. The island’s coast is made of schist cliffs to the west, and wide bays and small beaches, typical of rias granite landforms, to the east. Its vegetation is heat-resistant Mediterranean scrubland, including lentisk, euforbia, stunted trees, calicotome, narrow-leaf phillyrea, Phoenician juniper and rockrose. Its plant life includes 678 species, 29 of which are endemic, some exclusive to northern Sardinia and others characteristic of the Sardinian-Corsican region. Animal and bird life is noteworthy, with some 80 wild species of land vertebrates, including the mouflon, the wild boar, horse, the Sardinian donkey and the characteristic white donkey; bird life includes the rare Audouin’s gull, the European shag, the peregrine falcon and the Sardinian partridge. Asinara moreover is the only habitat of the magpie in Sardinia. Its seabed is rocky in the eastern portion, with steep cliffs and gullies, mainly sandy to the west. The shallower waters are colonized by two rare species, the red seaweed known as Lithophyllum lichenoides and the giant limpet Patella ferruginea. The island’s ecosystem has remained so well preserved thanks to its history of limited human presence. It was inhabited in the Neolithic period, as shown by the chamber tombs (domus de janas) of Campu Perdu, and in the Middle Ages when the Camaldolese monastery of Sant’Andrea and the Castellaccio at the Punta Maestro di Fornelli were built. The next evidence of human presence dates to the 17th century, when a community of shepherds and fishermen settled here. Later on, when the island became the site of a lazaret and subsequently of a farming penal colony, the villagers were moved to Stintino. From the 1970s to 1997 – the year of the Park’s foundation – Asinara was the site of a maximum security prison.
The Island of Asinara can be reached from Porto Nuovo at Stintino and from Porto Torres, where visitors will find information and ticket booths.
Guided tours of the Park are organised, by licensed boats authorised to sail round the coast, and off-road vehicles to visit the island’s interior.