Santa Maria Navarrese

A distillation of colours in front of the Isolotto d’Ogliastra

An ancient legend links the name of this place to a princess who arrived from faraway Navarre in Spain… perhaps driven out or fleeing from her father Garcia IV, King of Navarre, the young woman and her retinue, around the year 1052 escaped a fearsome storm and found refuge and shelter in the safe bay protected from the north winds. In the shade of millenary wild olive trees, as thanks to the Virgin Mary for the narrow escape from danger, he built the small white church that can still be visited today, a few hundred metres from the central beach of the village.

Today, Santa Maria Navarrese is one of the best-loved and most frequented tourist centres on the east coast, a sort of buen retiro for those not looking for glamour and ‘VIP watching’. Santa Maria Navarrese is a distillation of colours: the bright green of the millenary wild olive trees, the bagolari and carob trees that decorate and embellish the central Piazza Principessa di Navarra; the white of the ancient church that cuts across the deep blue sea of the Gulf of Arbatax.

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