Pan di Zucchero, one of the most evocative rocks in Italy

The Pan di Zucchero, in Sardinia, is the highest sea cliff in the Mediterranean and a place capable of moving like few others.
Pan di Zucchero, one of the most evocative rocks in Italy
The beautiful Scoglio di Pan di Zucchero, the highest in the Mediterranean

Nature is capable of creating small masterpieces that man, despite years of evolution, would never be able to replicate. Our country witnesses this dominance everywhere, but among all the wonders of nature there is one that even retains a curious primacy: it is the highest sea cliff in the Mediterranean.

Let's talk about Bread of sugar, a suggestive rock that rises a few kilometers from the inlet of Masua, parish of Iglesias, in the southwestern area of ​​Sardinia.

Sugar Loaf: useful information

Until the 18th century, this rocky island in the middle of the Sardinian Sea was called Concali on the ground. However, due to its close resemblance to Bread of sugar – a majestic hill 396 meters above sea level that stands out in Rio de Janeiro – has been known for many years as Sugarloaf Mountain.

To be completely honest, it is also the color of its limestone rock that reminds us of this sweet ingredient: it has shades of pure white, and is so particular that during the time of sunset the sun's rays illuminate it with shades that range from yellow to orange.

The Pan di Zucchero has not always been there, in the middle of the beautiful, clear Sardinian sea. Its position - as well as its shape - is the result of the powerful action of marine erosion that caused its isolation from the continent. Solid and rounded in appearance, it is 133 meters high and has an area of ​​0,03 km².

Pan di Zucchero, one of the most evocative rocks in Italy
El Scoglio Pan di Zucchero seen from the moment you arrive

And then the rains, which over the centuries have caused the creation of two caves in the form of tunnels in the walls of this imposing rock: two large and solemn arches that open at sea level, doors accessible by boat and that They offer an exciting experience.

The panorama from which it is framed is also extraordinary, with cliffs that stand out over 100 meters high, the rocks of S'Agusteri and Morto (joined to it) and a series of coves that will make you fall in love.

How to get there

Despite having an angelic name, get to Sugar Loaf It is not always an easy task, since the surrounding seabed is usually characterized by strong, although apparently calm, currents.

But if weather conditions permit, it will only be necessary to board a boat or tender that leaves from the splendid Cala Masua.

In addition to the excitement of being in front of this gigantic rock and entering a boat into its "bowels" thanks to its suggestive openings, the Pan di Zucchero offers the possibility of tariff escalation, but exclusively with equipment and support from specialized guides. Once up, the view is fascinating, and its summit is also the ideal place to catch a glimpse of the three "younger brothers", two called s'Agusteri and one il Morto.

The caves are 20 and 25 meters long respectively and are habitats for seabirds, while in front of this beautiful islet you can see the mouth of the sea. Porto Flavia mining tunnel.

The Porto Flavia mining tunnel

Porto Flavia is a complex human work that seems to be balanced between mountain and sea. In fact, it is a true engineering masterpiece, designed by Cesare Vecelli, since before the minerals were loaded by hand on sailboats and transported to the port of Carloforte, from where they left for the rest of the continent.

Pan di Zucchero, one of the most evocative rocks in Italy
Porto Flavia, the mine between the mountains and the sea

We are therefore faced with an incredible mine that has a tunnel approximately 600 meters long and that offers a fascinating view of the suggestive Pan di Zucchero pile (and beyond).

Built between 1922 and 1924, it also includes a mining town that makes its way into the slope of the Punta Cortis and where there is also a museum of mining machinery. And then the charming little beach of Porto Flavia, with soft sand and transparent water, even framed by a fresh and regenerating pine forest.

The beaches that you cannot miss in the area

The area in which the Scoglio di Pan di Zucchero is located is truly wonderful and is home to beaches and coves that invite well-being and relaxation. Unmissable, for example, is the same masua beach which is caressed by a crystalline sea, in addition to offering a more than special panorama.

A little further north is the truly magical Cala Domestica, an exceptional bay protected by high cliffs and controlled by a Spanish tower. Until 1940, the minerals extracted from the mines were sent through these parts, which is why it still houses ruins of warehouses, deposits and tunnels dug by miners.

With a shape reminiscent of a fjord, it offers white sand mixed with grains of amber and gold, while behind small bushes of Mediterranean scrub make room for beautiful dunes.

Then again the Buggerru Beach which is an extension of soft sand with clear reflections bathed by a sea of ​​splendid blue tones. With its shallow, sandy seabed, it is located just a stone's throw from the center of this former mining town.

However, to the south you should not miss the beaches. Gonnesa Gulf of Lion which offers more than 3 km of virgin beaches. Among these, the Plag'e Mesu – which translated means “middle beach” – which is a large strip of white sand bathed by the typical crystalline sea of ​​Sardinia. Being exposed to the mistral, it is especially appreciated by surfers who find numerous waves to master here.

Finally Funtanamare – Funtan'e Mari in Campidanese – which is the longest stretch in the area and which retains a wild appearance. Of fine sand with a thousand shades of gold and pink, it is the bed of sea water that acquires colors ranging from emerald green to blue.

Very busy in summer, it is actually a very popular destination even during the winter months because here you can come and admire all the power of the sea. In addition, it gives an atmosphere of magical profiles to the sunset, when the sun's rays kiss the lines of the Pan di Zucchero Rock and the Masua promontories that rise above the sea.

Pan di Zucchero, one of the most evocative rocks in Italy
The beautiful beach of Funtanamare
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