Porto Torres

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Porto Torres
Comune di Porto Torres
Aerial view of Porto Torres and the civic harbor
Aerial view of Porto Torres and the civic harbor
Porto Torres is located in Sardinia
Porto Torres
Porto Torres
Location of Porto Torres in Sardinia
Coordinates: 40°50′N 8°24′E / 40.833°N 8.400°E / 40.833; 8.400
Country Italy
Region Sardinia
Province / Metropolitan city Sassari (SS)
 • Mayor Sean Christian Wheeler
 • Total 102.62 km2 (39.62 sq mi)
Population (31 August 2008)[1]
 • Total 22,289
 • Density 220/km2 (560/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Turritani or Portotorresi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 07046
Dialing code 079
Patron saint Gavinus
Saint day 30 May
Website Official website

Porto Torres (Sassarese: Posthudorra, Sardinian: Pòrtu Turre) is a comune and city in northern Sardinia, in the Province of Sassari.

It is situated on the north-west coast about 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of the Gorditanian promontory (Capo del Falcone), and on the spacious bay of the Gulf of Asinara.


Porto Torres' territory is situate on north-west part of Sardinian Coast, inside the gulf called Gulf of Asinara. The extension of municipality is almost 10200 hectare and is suddivided in two parts with almost the same portion of land. One part is the part where is situated the city, the industry and the romanic ruins, the latter is Asinara island with the smaller Isola Piana. This part of territory is from 1997 a national park. The morphology of "city part" is flat, in fact Porto Torres and the rest part of north-west Sardinia is characterized by a Nurra flat, there are some hill formation in the middle of the flat, part of this hill formation is in Porto Torres' territory and the highest elevation of it is Monte Alvaro with it thickness of 342m. Furthemore the land territory is crossed by two rivers, Rio Mannu and Fiume Santo, the first draws the edge of Porto Torres territory on west instead the latter is pretty near the city and was used like a fluvial way from the Roman age.


Roman bridge

In ancient times, Turris Libyssonis was one of the most considerable cities in Sardinia. It was probably of purely Roman origin, founded apparently by Julius Caesar, as it bore the title Colonia Julia.[2] Pliny described it as a colony, the only on the island in his time, suggesting that there was previously no town on the spot, but merely a fort or castellum.[3] It is noticed also by Ptolemy and in the Itineraries, but without any indication that it was a place of any importance.[4]

The ancient remains still existing prove that it must have been a considerable town under the Roman Empire. According from the inscriptions on ancient milestones, the principal road through the island ran directly from Caralis (Cagliari) to Turris, a sufficient proof that the latter was a place much frequented. Indeed, two roads, which diverged at Othoca (modern Santa Giusta) connected Caralis to Turris, the more important keeping inland and the other following the west coast. It was also an episcopal see during the early part of the Middle Ages.

Basilica of San Gavino

The existing port at Porto Torres, which is almost wholly artificial, is based in great part on Roman foundations; and there exist also the remains of a temple (which, as we learn from an inscription, was dedicated to Fortune, and restored in the reign of Philip), of thermae, of a basilica and an aqueduct, as well as a bridge over the adjoining small river, still called the Fiume Turritano. The ancient city continued to be inhabited till the 11th century, when the greater part of the population migrated to Sassari, about 15 kilometres (9 mi) inland, and situated on a hill.[5] It was partly under Genoese hands before, in the early 15th century, it was conquered by the Aragonese. After the Spanish rule it was part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.

Torres was separated from the comune of Sassari in 1842. At the time the area which had been built around the basilica of San Gavino joined the fishermen's community near the port to form the new Porto Torres.

Main sights[edit]

  • The 11th-century, three-naved Basilica of San Gavino, which was built using only precious hardstones like marble, porphyry and granite, is the largest Romanesque church in Sardinia. Instead of the usual western facade and eastern apse, the cathedral sports two apses. The crypt holds several Roman sarcophagi.
  • Neolithic necropolis of Su Crucifissu Mannu and Li Lioni.
  • Nuraghe of la Camusina, Li Pedriazzi, Margone and Minciaredda.
  • Remains of the Roman bridge, the largest in Sardinia with its arches and a span of 160 to 170 metres (520 to 560 ft) on the Rio Mannu
  • Palazzo Re Barbaro
  • Catacombs of Tanca Borgona and piazzale Amsicora.
  • Aragonese Towers of the port and of Abbacurrente.

Transportation and industry[edit]

Chemical industries in Porto Torres

The port is connected by ferries with Genoa, Marseille, Toulon, Barcelona, Civitavecchia, Propriano, Expressway SS131/E25 to Sassari and Cagliari, and a national road to Santa Teresa Gallura (SS200). A railway operated by Trenitalia connects the town with Sassari, and the rest of the island.

Chemical industries support the modern economy of Porto Torres. Fiume Santo, a 1,040 MW power station owned by E.ON, is 5 to 10 kilometres (3 to 6 mi) west from the port, in the municipality of Sassari.[6]

Plans related to industrial conversion are in progress in Porto Torres, where seven research centres are developing the transformation from traditional fossil fuel related industry to an integrated production chain from vegetable oil using oleaginous seeds to bio-plastics.[7][8]


  1. ^ All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
  2. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Turris Libisonis". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  3. ^ Smith 1857, p. 1241 Cites: Plin. iii. 12. s. 17.
  4. ^ Smith 1857, p. 1241 Cites: Ptol. iii. 3. § 5; Itin. Ant. p. 83.
  5. ^ Smith 1857, p. 1241 Cites: De la Marmora, Voy. en Sardaigne, vol. ii. pp. 363,468-72; Smyth's Sardinia, pp. 263-66.
  6. ^ "Fiume Santo Power Station (Thermoelectric Power Plant), Italy". Retrieved 28 January 2011. 
  7. ^ matrica: green chemicals
  8. ^ A new age for the Italian chemical industry