Lighthouses of Italy: Southern Sardinia (Sardegna)

Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian) is the second largest island of the Mediterranean, after Sicily; the island is about 270 km (170 mi) from north to south and 145 km (90 mi) from east to west. Most of Sardinia is mountainous, and the coastline is rugged. The island has a long and complex history. After several centuries of Spanish rule, the Kingdom of Sardinia became independent in 1718. For many years after that, Sardinia controlled substantial territory on the mainland, including Genoa in Italy and Nice in France. And in 1861, when Italy was united as a single country, the king of Sardinia became king of Italy.

This pages includes lighthouses of Sardinia's southern coasts in the provinces of Ogliastra, Cagliari, Carbonia-Iglesias, Medio Campidano, and Oristano.

The Italian word for a lighthouse is faro, plural fari. This name is usually reserved for the larger coastal lights; smaller beacons are called fanali. Aids to navigation are operated and maintained by the Italian Navy's Servizio dei Fari. Lighthouse properties are naval reservations, generally fenced and closed to the public.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. EF numbers are from the Italian Navy's light list, Elenco dei Fari e Segnali da Nebbia. Admiralty numbers are from volume E of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

Special thanks to Egidio Ferrighi for his helpful comments on this page and to Michel Forand for sharing his extensive and careful research on Italian lighthouses.

General Sources
Fari e Segnalamenti
Lighthouse information from the Italian Navy's Servizio dei Fari.
Online List of Lights - Italy
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Many of the photos for Sardinia are by Egidio Ferrighi or Arno Siering.
Fari Sardegna
Photos posted by Andrea Utzeri.
Lighthouses in Sardinia
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Italy
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in Italy
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Cyberlights Lighthouses - Italy - Sardegna
Photos of Sardinian lighthouses by Egidio Ferrighi, posted by Gary Richardson and Anna Klein.
Italienische Leuchttürme auf Historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Faro di Capo Spartivento
Capo Spartivento Light, Domus de Maria, June 2010
photo copyright CharmingSardinia.com, courtesy of Paolo Rossi; used by permission

Faro di Sant'Elia
Capo Sant'Elia Light, Cagliari, June 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Frank Kovalchek

Ogliastra Province (Central East Coast Lighthouses)

Arbatax Lighthouses
* Arbatax Molo di Ponente
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); flash every 3 s, white or red depending on direction. 10 m (33 ft) bottle-style post light centered on a round 1-story stone base. Post light painted green; the base is unpainted. Trabas has a photo by Siering, Google has a street view across the harbor, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the mole enclosing the west side of the inner harbor of Arbatax. Accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. EF-1242; Admiralty E1036; NGA 8572.
* Arbatax Molo di Levante Spur
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); red flash every 5 s. 8 m (26 ft) round masonry or concrete tower mounted on a stone base. Tower painted white with a red band at the top; the base is unpainted. Trabas has a photo by Siering, the light appears in a photo of the harbor, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the mole enclosing the east side of the inner harbor of Arbatax. Accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. EF-1236; Admiralty E1034; NGA 8568.
* Arbatax Molo di Levante
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); continuous red light. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted; lantern painted red with a gray metallic roof. Trabas has a photo by Siering, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater mole on the east side of the harbor of Arbatax. Site status unknown, but the mole appears to be walkable. ARLHS SAR-029; EF-1235; Admiralty E1033; NGA 8568.
* Capo Bellavista
1866. Active; focal plane 165 m (541 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 19 m (62 ft) square cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the seaward end of a 2-story keeper's house. Originally painted in black and white horizontal bands, although these seem to have faded badly. The Navy's photo appears at right, Trabas has a photo by Ferrighi, a 2007 closeup is available, and Bing has a satellite view. This powerful lighthouse has a range of 26 nautical miles (48 km or 30 mi). Both cape and lighthouse are well named for the spectacular view. Located on a high promontory at Arbatax on the central east coast of Sardinia; accessible by the many switchbacks of the Via Faro Bellavista. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-008; EF-1246; Admiralty E1032; NGA 8564.

Capo Bellavista Light, Arbatax
Italian Navy photo

Cagliari Province (South Coast) Lighthouses

Castiadas Lighthouse
* Capo Ferrato
1925. Active; focal plane 51 m (167 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the seaward side of a 2-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. Trabas has Ferrighi's photo (also seen at right), Maria Luisa Fercia has a closeup photo, a view from the sea is available, the Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The tower is original, but the house was rebuilt in 1955. A new lantern was installed in 1966. The house has been privately owned since the lighthouse was automated in 1976. In 2003, the local tourist association proposed that it should be bought and converted to a museum. However, the owners don't wish to sell and nothing has come of this idea so far. Located at the end of a very sharp promontory about 14 km (9 mi) northeast of Castiadas and 25 km (15 mi) north of Capo Carbonara. Site and tower closed (private property), although the lighthouse can be seen from nearby. ARLHS SAR-013; EF-1250; Admiralty E1042; NGA 8560.

Villasimius Lighthouses
Secca dei Berni (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1902). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) round strongly conical stone tower with a short post light at the peak. The stone tower is unpainted; the post is black with a red horizontal band. Trabas has Ferrighi's closeup photo. The Jenkins 1904 light list describes the beacon as cylindrical rather than conical. Located on a reef about 1.5 km (1 mi) offshore and 5 km (3 mi) northeast of Capo Carbonara. Accessible only by boat. Site open; there's no abstacle to climbing the external ladder of the tower. EF-1254; Admiralty E1044; NGA 8556.
Isola dei Cavoli
1858. Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); two flashes every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. 37 m (121 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a large 3-story, fortress-like keeper's house. Tower painted with black and white horizontal bands; lantern dome is gray metallic. The Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Ferrighi has a view from the sea, Trabas has Ferrighi's closeup photo, Wikimedia has a view from the sea, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The Isola dei Cavoli (Island of Cabbages) is a rocky 40 hectare (100 acre) island about 800 m (1/2 mi) southeast of Capo Carbonara. The island is a research reserve administered by the Università di Cagliari. Located on the highest point of the island. Accessible only by boat; there are good views from the Capo Carbonara lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Università di Cagliari. LARLHS SAR-001; EF-1262; Admiralty E1048; NGA 8552.
Capo Ferrato Light
Capo Ferrato Light, Castiadas
photo copyright Egidio Ferrighi; used by permission
Capo Carbonara
1974. Active; focal plane 120 m (394 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 5 m (17 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. Adjacent 2-story masonry keeper's house. The Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Ferrighi's closeup photo, Stefano Sassu has a closeup of the tower, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view from the station entrance. The original light was described as a skeletal tower. Capo Carbonara, the southeastern corner of Sardinia, juts out from the coast at San Stefano. Located just southeast of the town. Site and tower closed. ARLHS SAR-010; EF-1258; Admiralty E1043; NGA 8548.

Cagliari Lighthouses
* Capo Sant'Elia
1860. Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 21 m (69 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands; lantern dome is gray metallic. Frank Kovalchek's photo is at the top of this page, Trabas has a good photo by Siering, Ferrighi has a photo, Michael Peters has an aerial photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. A late medieval watch tower stands near the lighthouse. This traditional landfall light for Cagliari is located on a promontory on the southeast side of the city, at the end of the Via Faro. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-019; EF-1270; Admiralty E1054; NGA 8532.
* Cagliari Molo di Levante (East Breakwater)
Date unknown (station established 1856). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) tapered round tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white; lantern and gallery painted green; lantern roof is gray metallic. Stefano Sassu has a closeup photo, Trabas has Ferrighi's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the east breakwater of the traditional (eastern) harbor. Accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-041; EF-1276; Admiralty E1057; NGA 8502.
* Cagliari Molo di Ponente (West Breakwater)
Date unknown (station established 1856). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); red flash every 3 s. 11 m (36 ft) tapered round tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white; lantern and gallery painted red; lantern roof is gray metallic. Trabas has Ferrighi's closeup (also seen at right), Stefano Sassu has a good closeup, and Google has a satellite view. A new harbor has been built recently at Cagliari, but this lighthouse is located at the end of the west breakwater of the traditional (eastern) harbor. Accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-040; EF-1277; Admiralty E1056.2; NGA 8500.

Cagliari Molo di Ponente
Molo di Ponente Light, Cagliari
photo copyright Egidio Ferrighi; used by permission


Domus de Maria (Capo Spartivento Area) Lighthouses
* Pula (Capo di Pula, Torre di Sant'Efisio, Torre del Coltellazzo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 16 m (52 ft) massive round stone defensive tower with a small lantern on the roof. The tower is unpainted. Yidian Dong's photo is at right, Trabas has a fine photo by Arno Siering, René Seindal has a view from the sea, Angelo Tolu has a fine view, and Bing has a satellite view. This is an early 17th century Spanish tower, one of many on the Sardinian coast. The light marks the western entrance to the Golfo di Cagliari. Located on a promontory overlooking the harbor of Pula. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-012; EF-1305; Admiralty E1070; NGA 8452.
* Capo Spartivento
1866. Active; focal plane 81 m (266 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 19 m (62 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the landward side of a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted brick red with white trim, light tower white; the lantern dome is gray metallic. A photo contributed by Paolo Rossi is at the top of this page, the Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. This famous lighthouse marks the southernmost tip of Sardinia. After automation, the condition of the lighthouse deteriorated and it was damaged several times by vandals. Ferrighi's photo shows this poor condition, as does another of his photos posted by Trabas. However, the lighthouse has now been restored, and it looks great in Maurizio Agelli's January 2007 photo. The restoration was part of a project to convert the light station into a luxury resort. Note: there is another Capo Spartivento, also with a famous lighthouse, at the southern tip of the Italian mainland in Calabria. Located on the point of the cape about 3 km (2 mi) southwest of Chia. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-020; EF-1310; Admiralty E1072; NGA 8448.
Pula Light
Torre di Sant'Efisio Light, Pula, March 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Yidian Dong

Carbonia-Iglesias Province (Southwest Coast Lighthouses)

Sant'Antioco Lighthouses
* Ponte Romano (Sant'Antioco) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1924). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white flash every 5 s. 22 m (72 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a 3-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. The Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has an excellent photo by Siering (also seen at right), Utzeri has many photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The original light was on a skeletal tower. Older photos of the present lighthouse show it was formerly painted with black and white horizontal bands. A sand spit nearly connects the island of Sant'Antioco to the mainland of Sardinia, and the Romans closed the gap with a bridge in the early third century AD. The modern crossing is a causeway with a short bridge at the Sant'Antioco end. The original Roman bridge is also visible. The lighthouse is located near the center of the causeway, beside the SS126 highway. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-045; EF-1315; Admiralty E1080; NGA 8440.
Isolotto Il Vacca
Date unknown. Inactive. 7 m (23 ft) square stone tower; the lantern has been removed. Salvatore Selis has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Il Vacca (The Cow) is in the same island group as Il Toro (next entry). Located on the highest point of the island, about 4 km (2.5 mi) southeast of Capo Sperrone. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown.
Isolotto Il Toro
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 118 m (387 ft); two flashes every 6 s, white or red depending on direction. 5 m (17 ft) post light centered on a square 1-story equipment shelter. Entire lighthouse is white. Utzeri has a distant view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Il Toro (The Bull) is the tallest of three small islands about 10 km (6 mi) south of Capo Sperrone, the southern tip of the Isola di Sant'Antioco. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS SAR-004; EF-1343; Admiralty E1074; NGA 8436.
Faro di Ponte Romano
Ponte Romano Light, Sant'Antioco
photo copyright Arno Siering; used by permission
Scoglio Mangiabarche
1935. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 6 s. 11 m (36 ft) round stone tower with a small lantern and gallery, painted white. The name mangiabarche means "boat-eater," a reference to the dangerous shoals nearby. The Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has a nice photo by Siering, a fine 2009 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Lighthouse Digest has a June 2000 article on the lighthouse, but note that the light has been renovated and repainted since that time. Located off the northwest point of the Isola di Sant'Antioco, marking the 2.4 km (1.5 mi) wide channel between that island and the Isola di San Pietro. Accessible only by boat, although there is a good view from the shore. Site and tower closed. ARLHS SAR-038; EF-1348; Admiralty E1086; NGA 8428.

Carloforte (Isola di San Pietro) Lighthouses
Note:The The Isola di San Pietro (St. Peter's Island) lies 7 km (4 mi) off the coast of Sardinia and 5 km (3 mi) northwest of the Isola di Sant'Antioco. Carloforte, the only town on the island, has a population of about 6500 and is accessible by ferry from Portoscuso.
* Carloforte Campanile Duomo (Entrance Range Front)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); continuous red light. 22 m (72 ft) cream-colored square bell tower with a small white dome. Giulio Gardu has a closeup of the tower; the light is mounted on a bracket in front of the railing, below the bell. Another photo shows the light at night, Trabas has a photo by Ferrighi, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. In another photo, the rear light can be seen on a wall, painted with black and white horizontal bands, just to the left of the bell tower. Located in the center of Carloforte, the principal town of the Isola di San Pietro. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-044; EF-1365; Admiralty E1093; NGA 8388.
Carloforte Casa Fanalista Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); continuous red light. 8 m (26 ft) light mounted on a corner of a 2-story building. Next to the building is a 15 m (49 ft) square solid daybeacon, painted with black and white horizontal bands; the corner of the building is also painted with black and white horizontal bands. Trabas has Ferrighi's photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The rear light is on a small stone tower. Casa fanalista is a lightkeeper's house. Located on the south end of the Carloforte waterfront. Site open, tower closed. EF-1361; Admiralty E1094; NGA 8412.
* Capo Sandalo
1864. Active; focal plane 134 m (440 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 30 m (98 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the front of a 2-story stone keeper's house. 1st order Fresnel lens in use. The lighthouse is unpainted stone; lantern dome is gray metallic. Stefano Sassu's photo is at right, the Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has a photo by Ferrighi, Francesco Parodo has a fine closeup of the tower and lens, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This magnificent lighthouse marks the southwestern corner of Sardinia. The lighthouse is (or was recently) staffed. Located at the end of the SP104 highway on the western coast of the Isola di San Pietro. Site open; at least one visitor was able to secure a tour from the keeper. ARLHS SAR-018; EF-1384; Admiralty E1090; NGA 8432.
Isola Piana
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); two flashes every 8 s, white or red depending on direction. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical tower with gallery, painted white. A distant view (with a waterspout) is available, and Google has a satellite view. Piana is a small island off the northeastern corner of the Isola di San Pietro. Located on the northern tip of the island, marking the northwestern entrance to the Canale di San Pietro, the channel between the Isola di San Pietro and the mainland of Sardinia. Accessible only by boat; the island has a small harbor and docking facilities are available. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-025; EF-1382; Admiralty E1103; NGA 8360.
Faro di Capo Sandalo
Capo Sandalo Light, Isola di San Pietro, June 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Stefano Sassu

Portoscuso Lighthouse
La Ghingetta (Portoscuso) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1919). Active; focal plane unknown; two flashes every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) tapered round tower, painted with red and black horizontal bands. The Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has a photo by Siering, Stefano Sassu has a photo (misidentified as the Scoglio Mangiabarche lighthouse), Fabio Murru also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original light was described as a skeletal tower. Located on a rocky reef (Scoglio la Ghinghetta) off the harbor of Portoscuso. Accessible only by boat, but there is an excellent view from ferries leaving Portoscuso for Carloforte on the Isola di San Pietro. Site and tower closed. ARLHS SAR-034; EF-1376; Admiralty E1099; NGA 8364.

Medio Campidano Province Lighthouse

Capo Frasca (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 66 m (217 ft); white flash every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) round round post light with lantern and gallery, centered on a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Lighthouse painted white. Google has a satellite view. The first lighthouse was described as a 5 m (17 ft) square tower. The area surrounding this light is a naval base also used for NATO forces training. Located on the point of Capo Frasca, marking the south side of the entrance to the Golfo di Oristano. Site and tower closed. ARLHS SAR-050; EF-1386; Admiralty E1104; NGA 8356.

Oristano Province Lighthouses

Oristano Area Lighthouses
* Oristano (Gran Torre di Oristano, Torre Spagnola)
Date unknown (station established at least by 1919). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); red flash every 5 s. 16 m (52 ft) massive round defensive tower, 20 m (66 ft) in circumference, with a lantern room on the roof. The tower is unpainted stone; the lantern room is painted white. The light is displayed through a bay window in the front of the lantern room. The Navy has a page for the lighthouse, a good closeup photo is available, Trabas has Ferrighi's photo, Stefano Sassu has a closeup of the lantern room, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The largest of all the Sardinian coastal towers, the Torre Spagnola was built in the early 1500s with later additions. Located in Marina di Torre Grande, about 6.5 km (4 mi) west of Oristano at the northern end of the Golfo di Oristano. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS SAR-022; EF-1394; Admiralty E1106; NGA 8324.
* Capo San Marco
1924. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and double gallery, attached to the seaward side of a 2-story masonry keeper's house. The lighthouse is unpainted stone; lantern dome is gray metallic. A photo is at right, the Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Ferrighi's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Elisabetta Deriu, the last keeper of the lighthouse and believed to be the only female light keeper in Italy, kept the light to the age of 82. The lighthouse is at the end of the narrow Penisola del Sinis, which also features a defensive tower thought to have built in Gothic times (around 500 AD). Located at the end of the SP6 highway in Cabras, marking the northern entrance to the Golfo di Oristano. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-017; EF-1390; Admiralty E1108; NGA 8320.
Faro di Capo San Marco
Capo San Marco Light, Cabras, February 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by ezioman

Capo Mannu Area Lighthouses
Isola di Mal di Ventre
Date unknown. Active focal plane 26 m (85 ft); flash every 6 s, white or red depending on direction. 8 m (26 ft) square equipment shelter topped by a lantern. Lighthouse painted white. The Navy has a page for the lighthouse, Danilo Spiga has a closeup photo, and Google has a fuzzy satellite view. The Isola di Mal di Ventre (the name means Foulwind Island) is a low, dangerous island about 1.8 m (1.1 mi) long surrounded by rock reefs. Located about 10 km (6 mi) west southwest of Porto Mandriola. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-003; EF-1402; Admiralty E1111; NGA 8316.
* Capo Mannu
1960. Active; focal plane 59 m (194 ft); three long (1.5 s) white flashes every 15 s. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white. The Navy has a page for the lighthouse, 2009 photo is available, Trabas has a photo by Ferrighi, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Ferrighi reports that this lighthouse is in very poor condition. Capo Mannu is highly exposed to the waves and is a favorite spot for surfers. Located at the end of a promontory pointing westward from Porto Mandriola. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SAR-016; EF-1404; Admiralty E1112; NGA 8312.

Bosa Lighthouse
* [Bosa Marina (1?)]
Date unknown (station established 1883). Inactive for many years. 3- or 4-story masonry keeper's house, painted originally with black and white horizontal bands although most of the paint has faded away. A 2009 photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The lighthouse stands seaward of a 15th century Aragonese watchtower. A breakwater mole has been built extending southward from the lighthouse and the active light, at the end of the mole, is a 7 m (23 ft) red post displaying a continuous green light above a continuous red light. Various proposals to restore the lighthouse as a tourist attraction have come to nothing and the building is falling into ruin. Located on Isola Rossa, an island sheltering the harbor of Bosa Marina. Accessible by walking the mole that connects the island to the mainland. Site open, building closed. Active light: EF-1406; Admiralty E1116; NGA 8308.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Sardinia | South: Western Sicily

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted May 24, 2006. Checked and revised March 23, 2014. Lighthouses: 28. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.