From military prison to tourist hub
Porto Torres overlooks the Gulf of Asinara, where the island of the same name is located, a former penal colony, then military prison during the Great War. Founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC on the mouth of the Riu Mannu, it was the ancient capital of the sovereign state of the Giudicato di Torres-Logudoro in north-western Sardinia. Transformed into a petrochemical hub in 1957, the town has for years been converted into a tourist hub with the inauguration of the Asinara National Park.
Visit the Basilica of San Gaudino, the largest Romanesque church in Sardinia, and the Roman bridge, an impressive construction from the imperial age connecting the ancient city of Turris Libisonis with Karales, today's Cagliari. Three thermal baths are nearby: the Maetzke, the Central and the Pallottino. Also worth seeing are the Monte d'Accoddi Altar, highest expression of pre-Nuragic civilisation in Sardinia, and the Turritano Archaeological Antiquarium Museum.
Beaches include Balai, Scoglio Lungo and Acque Dolci. Among the most popular outdoor activities are sailing and windsurfing, allowing you to moor in the secluded coves of Asinara Island, to discover the Castellaccio Fortress, as well as the turtles of the Asinara Marine Animals Recovery Centre, which are cared for here before being returned to the sea.