top of page

The archipelago

The Maddalena Archipelago decorates the Sardinian north-eastern coast, close to Bonifacio Straits, and in 1996 was declared National Park.

Transparent waters, spectacular sea beds, secluded beaches which pop up along the some 140 Km of his coast make this corner one of the most fascinating places of the world. The Maddalena archipelago is composed by seven wonderful main islands and an incredible variety of little reefs and rocks.

But the strong point of these islands is the skyline of the landscape: a real geological show madly modelled by wind and water.
Maddalena and the other Archipelago’s islands are a privileged corner, a paradise on earth that nature, along the times, leaved intact in their original beauty.  

Not only the summer is the appropriate season: Maddalena, Caprera, and the other islands are heaven almost 365 days every year.

The history

The granite quarries of Cala Francese were opened in mid-800 in connection with the work of fortification of the naval base of the archipelago. On an area of ​​over 20 hectares it was gradually built up the artifacts, structures, rail, crane and dock for the processing and transportation of monumental blocks sea.

Since 1870 a bank of Genoa began a systematic exploitation of the granite of Cala Francese, taking several hundred from mainland stonemasons. He is taken so start an economic activity that was long one of the main area, along with its sea borders, with the exploitation of the Gallura forests and, of course, with those related to the presence of a large military base.

From the 800 the granting of the quarries passed to the Genoese company Marcenaro and Grondona, then constituted in society "Export Graniti Sardi". First in the world along with the Norwegian granite quarry, used as a building material for major projects in an era prior to the use of reinforced concrete on a large scale, he experienced a remarkable commercial success, mainly thanks to very good characteristics of purity and pressure strength. The number of stonemasons increased up to peaks of more than 500, also with episodes of strikes and social tensions well documented in the history of industrial relations. The processed product was exported around the Mediterranean and in the Americas. It was producing three hundred and fifty tons of granite first quality daily, even on the basis of orders that arrived from the copious municipality of Genova, for the expansion of the docks and the new paved streets.


From the quarries of Cala Francese was extracted for work material such as dry docks (Taranto, Bizerte, Palermo, Naples, Genoa and Venice); harbor works (Oran, Alexandria, Tripoli, Port Sudan, Caen, Genoa, Venice, Crotone); the banchinamenti of the Suez Canal; the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York; paving of streets or squares (Via Balbi and Corso Buenos Aires in Genoa, Piazza Venezia in Rome; bridges (Ponte Palatino and parts of Long Tiber in Rome, Ponte Doria in Genoa, Bridge on the Po in Piacenza); tunnels and viaducts (Gallery Mazzini in Genoa); buildings of architectural and civil relief (Stock Exchange Palace in Rome, the Piazza Duomo and Via de Pretis buildings in Naples); the monuments dedicated to Don Guzmao of Santos (Brazil), to the fallen of Arquata Scrivia, to Garibaldi in the first centenary of his birth, in Piazza XXIII Febbraio in La Maddalena.

But the most important work of "Soc. Export Sardi Granite ", was the monument erected in 1930 in Djebel Mariam (Ismailia), entitled the" Defense of the Suez Canal, "in memory of the fallen war facts and the British and French in the defense of strategic waterway during the WWI.

The monument consists of a base of 24 meters on each side and nearly three meters high, topped by two pylons of 38 meters, and at the foot two winged colossal figures of 9 meters. All it made with more than 2000 cubic meters of bare granite, architect Roux Spitz project and drawings of Delamarre sculptor, while the execution and assembly in the work site were secured by the most experienced stonemasons of the quarry.

The mining stopped with the outbreak of World War II, and the quarries were not in fact never reopened, remaining for years in a state of serious disrepair, residual interest only to mineral collectors.

For more Info

For more information about the attractions of the Archipelago and the various locations, please visit the links:


bottom of page