Area: 51,9 km2
Location: Porto Torres, Sassari Province, North of Sardinia, Italy
Number of inhabitants: 1
Protected island: yes
Terrestrial protection status: National Park of Asinara, Marine Protected Area
Asinara is a Mediterranean island, part of Porto Torres, a municipality in the Sassari province, Sardinia.
Asinara is located between the Sardinian Sea to the west, the Corsican Sea to the north, and the homonymous gulf to the east. To the south, it is separated from the small Piana island by a narrow navigable canal, called Passo dei Fornelli.
Accesss to the Asinara National Park is free, with visitation services carried out by operators authorised by the Park itself.
The island is famous for its ancient prison.
The deportation of prisoners of war, especially Austro-Hungarians, dates back to the beginning of the First World War. About 24,000 prisoners were transferred in those years. Following the Ethiopian War (1937), many Ethiopians were deported to the island, among whom the Negus’ daughter.
Asinara remained closed to the public from 1885 to 1999, in total isolation reinforced in the early 1960′ by the establishment of the maximum security prison in which brigades and mafia members such as Raffaele Cutolo and Toto Riina were interned
The isolation, however, allowed the preservation of a large part of the natural environment of the island, avoiding the concretisation, and allowing the birth in 1997 of the Asinara National Park.
The island is morphologically moutainous, with high coasts, between which beaches and a vegetation characterized by the Mediterranean scrub are interspersed, scarcely wooded due to human activity and the lack of waterways or lakes.
The island counts 29 endemic floral species and a total of around 700 different floral species. There are 2 rare species (red algae and patella ferruginea) in its marine rocky and sandy environment. Its rich fauna also counts 80 wild species of vertebrates, among which: horses, wild boars, mouflons, rare birds such as the peregrine falcon or the Corsican seagull, and the now emblematic albinos donkeys.