Once a strategic military outpost, today it is an environmental centre and the symbol of the link between the past and the future, with views over the turquoise hues of the sea. The town of Stagnali looks out over the beach of the same name on the south-western side of Caprera, the second largest island of the Maddalena archipelago. Its origins date to the early 20th century, when the then Ministry of War built a garrison with barracks, storerooms, offices and stalls there. The complex, known as the ‘baraccamenti militari’, was home to the 3rd Company of the Bersaglieri Battalion. Its task was to defend the archipelago against enemy landings on the numerous beaches of the island. Stagnali is no longer a military outpost and now enjoys a new and varied existence: it is the island’s only in habited town and home to several structures belonging to the National Park of the Maddalena Archipelago, which includes an environmental education centre run by the park.
Stagnali is home to the Museum of the Sea and Maritime Traditions, the mineralogy-naturalistic museum and a dolphin research centre. The first one tells the story of the archipelago’s inhabitants and their relationship with the sea. At the mineralogy museum you’ll learn all about the rocks that make up the archipelago and the various types of sand that make up the beaches, as well as seeing a variety of fossils. There is even a section displaying meteorite fragments from some of the most famous impact locations in the world. The dolphin research centre monitors and works to safeguard the cetaceans that live in the surrounding waters, as well as organising excursions for visitors to see them first hand in their habitat.
In town, you can visit the little church dedicated to the Madonna della Pace. Once a military warehouse, a chapel was put in there in the mid-20th century. Abandoned for many years, the building was completely renovated and the church was inaugurated in 1998. Inside you’ll see frescoes and an altar made of granite ashlars. The town has a little harbour with a masonry pier built at the time the military was establishing itself there, but it is now used by both boaters and fishermen. A small beach lies next to the landing place, with golden medium-large grained sand and clear turquoise water dotted with rocky outcrops.
The village is a great starting point to go explore the attractions Caprera has to offer. As you head south-east, you will cross over an isthmus, graced on both sides by the Due Mari beaches. Further east is Relitto Beach where the wreck of a motorised sailboat lies on the beach facing a sea blessed with emerald reflections. Caprera is famous above all as the home of the Hero of the Two Worlds, Giuseppe Garibaldi. You can retrace his fascinating history and legendary exploits visiting the Garibaldi Compendium, and then proceed to enjoy the beaches on the northern side: Cala Serena, Cala Napoletana and the so-called Tahiti of Sardinia, Cala Coticcio.