Begin this tour with a pleasant 15-minute ferry crossing to the island of La Maddalena, one of three inhabited islands in the seven island archipelago that lies off the north coast of Sardinia. It was settled mostly in the 18th century, but because of its strategic position was a desirable possession. The Maddalena islanders successfully repulsed Napoleon's attempt to land in 1793, while Lord Nelson anchored his fleet in the island’s safe waters prior to the Battle of Trafalgar.
The capital of the island is also called La Maddalena and lies on the coast, overlooked by the Guardia Vecchia fortress. Along the seafront, handsome buildings are evidence of the island's 18th-century heritage, while the old town is dotted with narrow lanes. Perhaps enjoy a coffee and people-watching in the main square of Piazza Garibaldi, or explore the shops and beaches.