Costa Smeralda Architectural Style

Soft, delicate, and harmonious lines, tenuous colors, natural and refined materials, wandering through the alleys of Costa Smeralda is like getting lost in an open-air art gallery, where architecture is the undisputed queen.

The Costa Smeralda style was born on March 17, 1962, when the visionary inventor and founder of the Costa Smeralda, Prince Karim Aga Khan, brought together the best architects of the time, Michele Busiri Vici, Jacques Couëlle, Luigi Vietti, Raymond Martin and Antonio Simon Mossa , for the first Architecture Committee meeting, wanted by the members of the Costa Smeralda Consortium.

The “Comitato di Architettura”, guardian of the beauty and style of Costa Smeralda, represents the control and protection body of real estate development within the Consortium’s borders.

All projects subject to a municipal building permit, pass through the Architecture Committee’s desks, which is responsible for approving, rejecting or requesting changes to projects, to preserve local architectural traditions and harmony with the surrounding nature.

This protection and defense body is unique within Mediterranean tourist destinations, which makes the Costa Smeralda an icon of style that goes far beyond the Mediterranean borders.

According to the French historian Simone Gerlat, the functions of the Architecture Committee are similar to the French art academies established in the seventeenth century, created to monitor and protect the stylistic thread that distinguishes a particular current, which in this case manifests itself in an architecture unique and recognizable from all over the world.

The Costa Smeralda style expresses a Mediterranean spirit that winks at local tradition, a perfect homogeneous synthesis between the different sensibilities of the architects who have contributed, and a generous and extraordinary nature.

According to Vietti, the rugged vegetation of Gallura, especially its junipers, inspired the design of this movement.

The guidelines of the Costa Smeralda style are very precise and codified by the Building Regulations, which protect the urban development of the territory:

  • Soft, sinuous and never squared lines
  • Respect for the serenity of the landscape
  • Soft, pastel and never vivid colours
  • Use of the local stone par excellence, the famous Gallura granite
  • Use of juniper and local hand-carved woods

The result is a unique style that gives the area an unmistakable identity, a real trademark of elegance.

Respect and harmony with natural beauty, almost with a sense of sacrality, is the dominant feature of the Costa Smeralda style. This feature is also evident in the construction of “not seen” villas perched on the rocky hills, that follow the course of the land and vegetation and almost never rise more than two floors above the ground level. In this way the buildings are perfectly integrated into the context, without obstructing the view of the nearby buildings.

Over the last few years the Costa Smeralda style, especially as regards the interiors, has also left room for more decisive lines and the integration of materials with an industrial character, widely used in the latest frontiers of design, which opens the way to the evolution of a style that, in any case, maintains its strong personality and identity.

M. Carta

Sources: Consorzio Costa Smeralda

The Costa Smeralda’s Nuragic Heart

The Sardinian Open-Air Museums

The Costa Smeralda is known all over the world for its paradisiacal beaches, unspoiled nature and its glamour, but not everyone knows that the area hides inside a much deeper cultural heritage that holds about 6000 years of history.

In fact, during the Neolithic period, the first organized civilization preserved up to the present day was born in the municipality of Arzachena, known as the “Cultura di Arzachena”. It was an agro-pastoral civilization with strong attitudes to trade, navigation and observation and study of the stars.

The Archaeological Park of the municipality includes 8 sites scattered within the Gallura countryside, testifying to several millennia of history, from the Neolithic (V millennium BC – 3000 BC) to the final period of the Bronze Age (II millennium BC – 1800 / 900 BC).

Tempio di Malchittu

Although it is not known to which divinity it was consecrated, Malchittu was undoubtedly a sacred temple also a theater of ceremonies and rituals, constituted as a “megaron” with an atrium and ritual chamber. The path leading to the temple, which dominates the valley, passes between incredible granite rocks modeled by the typically Gallura mistral.

21 minutes from Porto Cervo.

Tomba Moru

The Tomba Moru is the result of one of the first restorations in history. In fact it was born as a funerary monument (allée couverte), then transformed into a “Tomba dei Giganti” (megalithic gallery grave) during the Recent Bronze Age (1300-1000 BC), with expansion of the mound and the enclosure of stones impaled in the ground and addition of the exedra (semi-circular ceremonial space outside the entrance to the tomb).

17 minutes from Porto Cervo.

Nuraghe Albucciu

The Albucciu Nuraghe is one of the most significant examples of “protonuraghe”, ancestors of the nuraghi arranged in a corridor. The roof was subsequently modified in the form of a tholos (trunk-ogival). The archaeological complex, located a few tens of meters from the Moru Tomb and the Malchittu Temple, also includes the remains of circular huts that were part of the nuragic village.

18 minutes from Porto Cervo

Nuraghe La Prisgiona

La Prisgiona, a Nuragic architectural pearl that dominates the Capichera

valley, is one of the most fascinating testimonies of the island’s nuragic ingenuity and also one of the most structured. It is a complex consisting of a fortress, an extensive village of about 100 huts (some of which have yet to be exhumed), a well for the village’s water supply (still functioning) and a funerary monument in the proximity, a sort of metropolis for the times. The different types of artifacts found testify that it was a dynamic and organized civilization, skilled in large-scale trade with other peoples of the Mediterranean, in the processing and conservation of food and drinks (the first traces of viticulture in Sardinia date back, of facts, to the nuragic period) and in manufacturing. Each hut was organized to fulfill its function by creating a leading social structure in the area.

24 minutes from Porto Cervo.

Tomba dei Giganti di Coddu ‘Ecchiu

The Tomb of the Giants of Coddu ‘Ecchiu, dates back to a very ancient period, around 2500 BC. It was born with a collective burial function and its peculiarity lies in the central exedra about 4m high, today the highest found, which makes this site one of the most evocative monuments of Nuragic Sardinia.

24 minutes from Porto Cervo.

Necropoli Li muri

The Necropolis of Li Muri is a precious testimony of prehistoric culture in Sardinia as it is the oldest site of the Arzachena Nuragic park (dating back to the end of the 5th millennium BC), giving clear traces of the fervent Neolith

ic activity on the island. The main peculiarity lies in the structure, unique on the island, formed by 4 original stone circles, a fifth inserted during the Bronze Age. Similar structures have been found in scattered areas between the Mediterranean and the Balkans, making this site one of the main examples of European megalism.

28 minutes from Porto Cervo.

Tomba dei Giganti di Li Lolghi

Li Lolghi is a “Tomba dei Giganti” located on a hilly relief that can be dated in two different phases in the Bronze Age, ancient phase and middle phase. It consists of a sepulchral chamber 27 meters long and an exedra of 26 meters.

27 minutes from Porto Cervo.

Fungo di Lu Monti Incappiddhatu

This particular site consists of a huge granite boulder eroded by the wind to create a large mushroom. The findings made around the rock testify that since prehistoric times (about 3500 BC) “the mushroom” was frequented and used as a rain shelter.

21 minutes from Porto Cervo.

Here are the 8 sites kept in the heart of the Costa Smeralda area.

The Sardinian archaeological culture is incredibly developed, providing the island with a historical heritage of extreme importance and unique in the world .

 “In Sardinia it is enough to lie down next to the Giants’ tombs to free the mind and body from negative influences” (Aristotle).

M. C.