Situated in Gallura, in the hinterland of the north-eastern coast of Sardinia, the town rises on a rocky slope surrounded by granite hills, in an area rich of pre-historic sites.
- Altitude: 84 mt a.s.l
- Population: ca. 11,000 inhabitants
- Zip/postal codes: 07021
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0789
- Patron Saint: Santa Maria della Neve, celebrated on 3rd Sunday in September
- Frazioni & Localities: Abbiadori, Baja Sardinia, Cannigione, Farina, Laconia, Liscia di Vacca, Monticanaglia, Padula d'Izzana, Pevero, Pulicinu, Porto Cervo, Santa Teresina
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The comune includes over 80 km of beautiful coast, with picturesque bays and beaches and crystalline waters, including the tourist complex called Costa Smeralda (= Emerald Coast) established in 1962 by prince Karim Aga Khan IV, with celebrated resorts such as Porto Cervo and Baja Sardinia.
History - Antiquity
The origin of the name is lost in the mist of time, probably derived as many other Sardinian place names from Asia minor, the place of origin of the ancient inhabitants of the island. An unproven interesting connection is to the mythical capital of the Lestrigoni, mentioned in the Odissey, whose location corresponds to Arzachena. In Roman times there were two centres called Turibulum maior and Turibulum minor - the Latin word turibulum being connected to the huge, mushroom-shaped rock which is a symbol of Arzachena.
The town of Arsaghene or Arseguen is mentioned in 1421 in a document where Alphonse V of Spain granted feudal privilege to Ramboldo de Corbaria, and was the capital of the district of Unale. In the following centuries plagues and Saracen raids caused a massive drop in population, until in 1716 Sardinian sovereign Charles Emmanuel III, unable to militarily control Gallura, re-founded the town and sent priests to civilise and control the local shepherds.
What to see
- about 2 km to the south-east the remarkable Nuraghe Malchittu, dated 1000 BC
- 5 km along the road leading to Luogosanto, the Tomba dei Giganti di Capichera, a collective sepulchre od the nuragic people, consisting of a huge oval monolith in front and a dolmen cell below.
- The Necropoli Li Muri, of the late Neolithic period, consisting of tombs made of stone circles with a central stone container.
- 19 km to the north-east, Porto Cervo, the most famous centre of the Emerald Coast, along an enclosed bay, with tourist port and high-quality tourist facilities