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The half day excursion to Asinara


The Luxury Boat Sardinia offers two guided tours to the Asinara National Park with daily departures from the tourist port of Stintino, one lasting half a day, with departures in the morning and afternoon, and the other lasting all day.

The half-day tour has as its first stop the special branch of Fornelli, in the south of the island, which, thanks to our rubber boats, can be reached in just 15 minutes. Arriving at the Fornelli docking, a preamble will be made where the history of the island is told and where the park signs are shown which suggest which routes to take and which are the main places to visit, not only naturalistic elements, but also points of historical / archaeological interest.

  Many know the name of the island especially for its more recent history, marked by the presence of prison structures that have hosted some of the most dangerous criminals of the last century. We are surprised to hear the information about the territorial extension of the island of Asinara, the sinuous development of the coast and above all the peculiarities from a naturalistic point of view, which in some cases are unique in the world.

Asinara is a Natural Park consisting of a Marine Protected Area and a Terrestrial Park of considerable size with atavistic balances of Mediterranean flora and fauna. Horned poppies with yellow petals that accompany the presence of tamarisks and rushes that grow without the presence of rivers or lakes, which take advantage exclusively of the autumn and spring rains, which create pools of water that also attract the Corsican seagulls, the shearwaters and some birds of prey present on the island.

Still remaining in Fornelli, one can also observe an aspect of geological interest: an overlapping of two types of rocks, between granite and metamorphic rocks, as if, in hundreds of millions of years, the coasts of Stintino have rested on the granite of the Asinara.

But the attention often returns to the history of the prison, distorted truths by over a century of separation from the world and so only those who have lived on the island have something to tell, becoming a historical resource of fundamental importance, but many struggle to share the personal stories thus feeding contemporary legends and myths, such as that of Matteo Boe the only one who managed to escape from the Italian Alcatraz with the help of his partner who organized everything.

Walking on the concrete road you reach a slight rise that allows visitors to enjoy the Caribbean landscape and the crystalline waters of the strait between the Piana and Asinara islands and with the increase in the field of vision you can also see the branch of Santa Maria, also called "the Foreign Legion", since most of the inmates who were housed in this structure were foreigners, they had often committed crimes related to drug trafficking and drug dealing.

Some prisoners were used on the Fornelli plain for agricultural activities, which were always carried out with archaic methods where, for example, the working of the land took place only with animal traction and not with mechanical means. To date, there are no longer any signs of this activity which was granted only to the most deserving prisoners and the land is mostly occupied by expanses of asteraceae which during the flowering period color the Fornelli plain.

If you are lucky, right away, you can meet the famous white donkeys of Asinara that all tourists hope to be able to photograph. In the end, what a trip to Asinara would be without a selfie with the park's mascot. But you can also fall in love with the Sardinian horses, goats and gray-haired donkeys that roam freely in the park. Only recommendation: do not get too close or possibly let the animals get close to you naturally.

The epic of the Fornelli prison also allows a very interesting reasoning on the architectural style of the building, because in any case what we see today is the result of a series of transformations, even on the main facade. In some photos from the first half of the twentieth century, the prison appears slightly different, in fact it can be said that it was the prisons that sometimes had to adapt to accommodate certain types of prisoners. For example, there is an entire wing where some very dangerous prisoners were housed, including brigades and mafia members, where all the external corridors and courtyards are "armored" with nets and grates.

There were many mafiosi held in captivity at Asinara, in particular two important names are always mentioned: Totò Riina and Raffaele Cutolo. Both stayed in the northern area of the island in some bunker cells that can be found near the village of Cala d'Oliva, of which the most famous was that of Totò Riina, locked up in a special prison renamed "the disco" because it was illuminated in day 24 hours a day, whose guards, in order not to be understood by the mafia boss, spoke exclusively in Sardinian.

Raffaele Cutolo, during his stay at Asinara, had the opportunity to get married, even if the harshness of the Italian Alcatraz limited any kind of contact with the outside world. The boss of the new organized Camorra remained on the island for six years until, following a hunger strike that lasted 30 days, with a consequent hospitalization, he was transferred to another Italian prison.

It remains paradoxical that a century of occupation of the island by the prison system became the lifeline for plants and animals that have almost totally disappeared in the rest of the world. Paradoxically we can still see some very delicate and very rare endemic plants such as the Sardinian buglossa which barely tolerates the occasional trampling, which if it becomes too frequent makes the plant disappear and which exists only in an area of 10 square kilometers between Sardinia and Corsica.

But Asinara has not only a recent history, linked to the mafia and the Camorra, to the prison guards and to the excellent men like Falcone and Borsellino. Going back, the island offers historical elements linked to the First World War, when it was conceived as a lazaret as well as an agricultural penal colony. Asinara, in fact, crowds of desperate Austro-Hungarian army were hosted, sick and hungry, abandoned in what you are in our eyes appears as paradise, to them it appeared as hell. As evidence of their passage, an ossuary with skulls and bones that decorate the walls.

A journey of the damned, where many died from the explosion of a cholera epidemic on board ships and for this reason they were not immediately disembarked on the island and the ships remained off Cala Reale, moving offshore from time to time to unload the corpses and this is also confirmed by the fact that at that time fishing around the Asinara was prohibited.

Who knows why the fate of this island has been so bloody at times, complete with pirates who stayed there to plunder passing ships or to make occasional raids in Porto Torres, the only inhabited center on kilometers of virgin coast. The pirate was called Red Beard and the remains of a castle remain, indeed a Castellaccio, which still has to be studied and excavated by scholars and archaeologists. There are no certainties about this character, it is said that he was an important exponent of an important Turkmen family with instance in Algiers and from there he left for the whole Mediterranean to make raids. The water channel between the Asinara and the Piana island is an obligatory passage for those who want to cross the Gulf of Asinara and the stronghold occupied by pirates was the ideal place for those who wanted to control the naval flow of that area.

It is said that land raids were also made to kidnap people, enslave them and redistribute them in the Mediterranean. Sometimes when certain ships passed, the pirates were able to confuse their navigation and run boats aground near the coast, which were then more easily plundered of goods and men.

If you liked this article and you feel like going on an excursion to the Asinara National Park, contact us: we organize guided tours and excursions to Asinara with the lowest prices in Stintino for this summer 2022.

Do you want to know how much it costs to visit Asinara?

With us the landing fee at the Asinara National Park is included in the price and if you choose the half-day excursion you will have a free tasting of Sardinian products.

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All day

09:45 - 17:30

From May 1st to June 30th 
Storm exclusively999€

per person85€*

From July 1st to July 20th
Storm exclusively1079€

per person90€*

From July 21st to August 31st

Storm exclusively1139€

per person95€*

From September 1st to October 15th 

Storm exclusively999€

per person85€*

*NB: landing fee on the island of Asinara included.



Half day

09:30 - 13:30

2.15pm - 6.15pm

From May 1st to June 30th 

BWA34  exclusively 599€

per person50€*

From July 1st to July 20th

BWA34  exclusively 660€ 

per person€55*

From July 21st to August 31st

BWA34  exclusively 720€ 

per person60€*

From September 1st to October 15th 

BWA34  exclusively 599€ 

per person50€*

*NB:landing fee on the island of Asinara included.

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