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In the historical region of Planargia, along Sardinia's only navigable river, the Temo, lies picturesque Bosa. Legend has it that the town was founded by Calmedia, wife of the hero Sardus Pater. The town of Calmedia, in the place now called Calameda, a flourishing cultural centre, would for centuries coexist with the neighbouring Bosa, with which it would eventually merge. In fact, the name has ancient origins: an unfortunately lost Phoenician epigraph, probably dating back to the 9th and 8th centuries B.C., attests for the first time the presence of a Bs 'n people, referring to the inhabitants of Bosa.

Throughout the Middle Ages it suffered Arab raids, but with the construction of the Malaspina Castle on the Serravalle hill, it is assumed that the population gradually began to move to the slopes of the hill. It guaranteed greater protection against Arab raids, and only the cathedral of San Pietro remained in the Calameda area. In 1308, the Malaspina ceded the castle of Bosa to James II of Aragon, and following the alliance with the Arborea, Pietro Ortis took possession of it. But it was Mariano IV who broke the alliance with the Aragonese by taking the castle by force and only in 1400 did it come under the reign of John II of Aragon. Passed as a perpetual fief to Giovanni di Villamarina, captain general of the royal fleet, and then inherited by Bernardo di Villamarina in 1479 on the death of his father, Bosa was granted greater trading privileges. Isabella di Villamarina died without heirs and King Philip II of Spain seized the territory, reuniting it with the royal patrimony, thus becoming a royal town and ceasing to be under feudal authority.

In the mid-1600s, the town was ravaged by various vicissitudes: it suffered a flood, was hit by the plague, a fire and a severe famine. It only recovered in the 1700s when it passed into the hands of the Habsburgs and then later the Savoy family, and in the 1800s it had a progressive population increase. Numerous activities developed, such as leather tanning (to the left of the Temo, in the buildings known as sas Conzas), the old walls were demolished and by the mid-19th century, the town was extended towards the sea, revitalising the port as well.


The archaeological site S'abba Druche is interesting and there are numerous Domus de janas (such as those at Coroneddu, Ispilluncas, Monte Furru, Silattari, Tentizzos) and nuraghi (at Monte Furru). The 12th-century cathedral of Bosa, the Co-Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with two domes, covered with coloured majolica tiles and a red sandstone bell tower that also characterises the rococo decoration of the façade with classical-style pilasters and cornices, dates back to the 12th century. Inside the castle walls we find the Church of Nostra Signora de Sos Regnos Altos that preserves frescoes of the Catalan school, while outside the walls we find the Church of San Pietro Extramuros, one of the oldest Romanesque churches in Sardinia. In Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is the Church of the Rosario or Oratory of the Rosary in Mannerist style. In the square of the same name stands the Church of the Madonna del Carmine with the former friars' convent, with a rich Baroque façade that breaks the linearity with the elevation of the simple convent. Of interest are the wooden furnishings and the only organ in Sardinia built by the Lombard manufacturer Carlo Giuliani.

Among the civil architecture, located on the left bank of the Temo, we find the old tanneries, declared a national monument in 1989, built far from the town because of the bad smell produced during the early stages of leather processing. To commemorate the inauguration of the aqueduct, one of the first in Sardinia, a large fountain in local red trachyte and fine white marble, 'Sa Funtana Manna', was built in 1881. Interesting to see is the medieval district of Sa Costa, a building ensemble developed on long and narrow streets with a paving composed of pebbles and basalt slabs. The Casa Deriu Museum, is one of the most beautiful buildings on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, a rare example in Sardinia of an authentic 19th-century noble residence, the three-storey building also hosts temporary exhibitions dedicated to crafts and art.

On the trachytic outcrops of the Red Island, once separated from the mainland, stands the 16th century Bosa Tower. Consisting of a single storey with a domed vault, it was equipped with six cannons of various calibres and seven guns. The Argentina Tower, on the other hand, had the task of signalling the arrival of enemies. It was accessed through an entrance located three metres above the ground and is visually connected to the other towers of Foghe, Colombargia and Ischia Ruja.

Via a long and steep flight of steps, on the top of the Serravalle hill, the castle of the same name was built in 1112 by the Tuscan Malaspina family. Over the centuries, it was enlarged several times by the Pisans, Aragonese and Spanish and is surrounded by walls built of light-coloured trachyte.

Bosa boasts ancient traditions and religious and secular festivals. Among the most heartfelt religious rites are Santa Maria del Mare and Regnos Altos, which take place on Saturdays and Sundays of the second week of September. On the first Sunday in August, the feast of Santa Maria Stella Maris is celebrated: in the morning, a procession of boats previously decorated with flags, reeds and flowers carries the Madonna along the river, from the church of Bosa Marina to the Cathedral, and in the afternoon she returns to her church. On 28 May, the two patron saints of the town, Saints Aemilius and Priam, are celebrated.

Among the pagan rituals, Carnival is definitely an event not to be missed. There are no masks parading, but there is a merriment in the streets that manifests itself as a theatrical plot with sexual allegories. It is characterised by two typical masquerades that take place on Shrove Tuesday. The one on Tuesday morning is called 'S' Attitidu' (lament) where the masqueraders are dressed in black, hold a doll and weep for her unserious behaviour. They beg all the women, even those not masked, for some milk to refresh the doll, tired and lost from its dissolute costumes. At nightfall, the masqueraders dress in white and paint their faces black, hold a coloured lamp or a basket and with a candle search for 'Giolzi', depicting the search for sex. The masquerade ends with a bonfire burning a puppet to symbolise the end of carnival and the return to normal life.

Bosa is famous for its food and wine tradition and the quality of its oil and wines. Among them is Malvasia, which has also earned the DOC label. An itinerary has been dedicated to it that starts from Bosa and passes through the other villages that produce this wine: Modolo, Magomadas, Suni, Tresnuraghes, Tinnura and Flussio.

Trekking and birdwatching enthusiasts can enjoy the spectacle offered by the Badde Aggiosu Nature Reserve, Marrargiu and Monte Mannu. For snorkelling enthusiasts, however, a visit to the Capo Marrargiu Biomarine Park is recommended.

Trekking and birdwatching enthusiasts can enjoy the spectacle offered by the Badde Aggiosu Nature Reserve, Marrargiu and Monte Mannu. For snorkelling enthusiasts, however, a visit to the Capo Marrargiu Biomarine Park is recommended.

It is possible to make exciting and unique excursions, such as a trip on the trenino Verde or to explore the city.

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