Nestled between the sky and the water, Bosa opens up in an explosion of colours to the eyes of those who, driving along the coastal road from Alghero, discover this village nestled between vineyards and olive groves.
An ancient settlement, it is the only one in Sardinia to have developed on the banks of a river, the Temo, the mainstay of the town and a resource for the commercial exchanges that have always characterised Bosa’s history.
The origin of Bosa dates back to Phoenician times: according to legend, ‘Bosa vetus’ was founded by Calmedia, daughter of Sardus, hero of the island’s first inhabitants.
But it was the Malaspina family that indissolubly linked their name to the town on the river.
The castle of the same name, built in 1112, keeps austere watch from the top of Serravalle hill over the town coloured by the pastel-coloured roofs of the tanneries, bringing with it the best-known legend of the river valley of the Temo.
It is said, in fact, that the Marquis Malaspina, jealous of his beautiful wife, had an underground passageway built leading to the Cathedral in the centre of the old town, so that the woman could attend religious services every day without being seen by anyone else. One day, blinded by jealousy over an alleged betrayal, the Marquis cut off his wife’s fingers and wrapped them in a handkerchief. After he had left her bloodless, he went to see some friends and, not caring about the consequences, pulled out the handkerchief, from which the severed fingers fell. The Marquis was immediately imprisoned, while the woman’s soul has wandered the halls of the castle ever since.
Descending the hill we reach the old town, characterised by high buildings and narrow streets leading to the river bank, where ‘Sas conzas’, the historic tanneries built in pink stone, each with its own jetty, stand.
A town that deeply feels and lives the traditional civil and religious rites.
The “Carrasegare Osincu”, a colourful and noisy carnival, a triumph of irony and fantasy in contrast to the element of tragedy that characterises the history of the island’s typical masks; in summer, the festival dedicated to Santa Maria del Mare, the patron saint of fishermen, whose statue is carried along the river by a procession of decorated boats, and the festival dedicated to Nostra Signora di Regnos Altos, characterised by the so-called ‘altarittos’, made by the inhabitants of the ‘Sa costa’ district, and long tables where it is possible to enjoy drinks and typical local dishes.
A glass of Malvasia di Bosa, a straw-yellow DOC wine characterised by the scent of honey and fruit, mainly produced in Planargia, between the valley of the river Temo and Montiferru, whose vines were originally transplanted to the area by Venetian merchants who came to Bosa to trade in the city’s typical hides, always accompanies the typical local dishes.