Bosa; Reflections, Cobbled Streets & a Medieval Castle. Sardinia

Bosa is a town in the province of Oristano, Sardinia. Seen from a distance, the townscape resembles a canvas of rainbow colours with houses stacked steeply on the hillside overlooked by the castle. The town is divided by the River Temo where moored fishing boats reflect vibrantly and palm trees line its banks.

Bosa is about 40km south of Alghero and in comparison is small and compact. We went up late one morning for a bite to eat, a stomp around the alleyways and to see whether we could get into the castle.

Bosa

Bosa marina from afar

History

The area around Bosa has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It was probably founded by the Phoenicians and although little is known about the original settlement it is thought that it suffered repeated raids by Arab pirates.

The Malaspina family (a wealthy family from Tuscany) developed a town at the foot of the river in 1112. Now-a-days this location is called Bosa Marina and it’s approximately 2.5km from the current town of Bosa.

After the construction of the Malaspina Castle in the 12th century, the population gradually moved from the coast to the hills. The town remained in the hands of the Malaspina family until the 14th century when it was taken over by the House of Aragon. Along with the rest of Sardinia, it was later ruled by Spain via royal marriage.

The houses began to be built later at the foot of the castle for protection thus giving life to the birth of the medieval quarter now known as Sa Costa.

Bosa

The town of Bosa

The ancient village called Sa Costa is located at the foot of the hill Serravalle and is dominated by the Malaspina castle. Many of the streets of the old town are accessible only by foot, given their narrowness.

The river

Fiume Temo is Sardinia’s only navigable river. It can be traced for about 5km back to its source and meets the ancient ruins of a Roman bridge. Not far away is the Romanesque cathedral of St Peter which dates to 1062! We didn’t make it far though.

Bosa

The estuary and village are still a working fishing port and during the heat of the day the boats are moored up. Get there at the right time and you can see the boats hauling in their catch.

Bosa

Bosa fishing boats

Bosa

The palm tree lined promenade to the west is where the Bosan population take their evening stroll. On the other bank are the remains of the tanneries that were active here until after the Second World War, today some are being restored and turned into restaurants. Bosa has a large number of restaurants which all seem to be thriving. Vegan food wasn’t easy to come across but we found lots of places willing to adapt their ingredients and menus for us. It can seem daunting to go in and ask, especially after our experience in France, but all of the chefs were happy to alter their dishes for us ‘fussy eaters’.

Bosa

The Tannery side of the river

Fish in the river

Despite its green and sludgy appearance the river seemed to be in a healthy state with lots of fish.

Reflections

Bosa has two bridges connecting each side, one which is more modern and houses all of the big supermarkets and new housing developments. One bridge is single lane traffic which causes a back log through the town itself and walking over the bridge was nerve racking, being so close to the cars but it’s a necessary evil to get photos with lovely reflections.

Bosa

Standing on the bridge

Bosa

Overlooking Bosa

Historic town centre

The historic ‘Sa Costa’ district of  the town is a maze of medieval streets, stone staircases and tall houses all nestled under the vigilant gaze of the Malaspina castle.

Bosa

The historical alleyways of Bosa

The main street

The main street of the town is called Corso Vittorio Emanuele and is cobbled (no surprise there) and flanked by tall 17th century multi-story buildings. It is not entirely pedestrianised although pedestrians litter the pavements and square built around it.

Bosa

Main square in Bosa

Bosa

Off the main street

Cute cars

Lots of Sardinia’s producers seem to have these cute little three-wheeled carts for delivery.

Bosa

Bosa

Delivery cart

Churches

Despite Bosa’s tiny size, there are a number of large churches and a cathedral. Goodness knows why such a small town needs so many.

I never go into churches because I find it difficult to tolerate religious sanctimony but on this occasion my youngest daughter asked to go into one. As we’re on a learning journey I can hardly say no, so we took her in. This is the Chiesa del Rosario.

We also had a very quick peak in another one as there seemed to be a procession… which turned out to be a funeral.

Bosa

 

More cobbled streets and painted doorways

Bosa is old and elegant and many of the buildings have retained their old architecture but have been modernised with a lick of paint and new windows and doors.

Bosa

Pretty shop front

Bosa

House front

Bosa

House doors

Bosa

Houses

Castle

The highlight of our trip to Bosa was visiting the castle! The hilltop castle of the Malaspinas has an unparalleled view of the town and out to sea. Within its walls is a church with fifteenth century frescoes, a Roman wall and wooden statue of Madonna and Child, which is carried in procession through the town during the festival of Regnos Altos in September.

We drove up from Bosa and parked nearby. The view over the town is spectacular.

Bosa

The view from the road near the castle

Bosa

The view over Bosa

Bosa

Pretty gardens and rooftops

 Walking on the walls

Once we’d paid the entrance fee, which from memory might have been €6, we were given a fact sheet and allowed off to explore alone. A nice change from many places we’d visited.

What a view of Bosa from above! Pretty magnificent to see it from a height.

Bosa

A view of Bosa town from above

Bosa

Walking on the ramparts

Bosa

The town of Bosa and Bosa Marina

Bosa

Castle walls and the church

Video from the walls

The church

From the outside the 14th century church doesn’t look like much but the drawings on the inside are worth a visit. They were discovered in the 1970s during restoration work.

Bosa

The church from the outside

Bosa

Drawings from inside the church

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