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Asinara was originally a fishing community, which later on became a penal criminal colony, a peasant colony, and a hospital center for lepers. It was finally turned into a maximum security jail that hosted, among others, mafia boss Totò Riina, and it became a National Park in 1997. The island break the national and international news when a group of redundant workers of Enichem (a petroleum company based in the nearby Porto Torres) occupied the old prison of Cala D’Oliva in a protest that lasted over a year starting from 24 February 2010.
Asinara island is part of a marine Reserve (Area Marina Protetta) and it is possible to find endemical animal species such as the local white donkey. It also hosts a turtle recovery center.
Asinara is unhabitated, that is why you don't spot any cars or find crowdy beaches. Places to visit are the historic jail of Cala d’Oliva and of Fornelli, and the beautiful beaches of Cala Sabina, Cala Trabuccato, and Cala d’Arena. Climbing with your bike to Punta Scomunica along the little oaks of S'Elighe Mannu, you can appreciate the beauty of the Gulf of Asinara up to Corsica island.
You will leave Asinara wishing to come back here as soon as possible!