The Costa Smeralda Master Plan

The future development of the exclusive Sardinian resort

The regional law in Sardinia allows specific agreements between a developer, the regional government and a borough council for the installation of new tourist insertions on a regional level. At present, negotiations are taking place to define a Master Plan for the Costa Smeralda, with the participation of H.H. the Prince Aga Khan and executive directors of the I.T.T. Sheraton group, Mr. Juan Capello and Mr. Robert Cotter, and it is expected that these will reach a definitive agreement with the borough council and the regional government by September of this year.

The Master Plan foresees the completion of the compartment Nr. 2, which reaches from the Pevero bay to the Romazzino area and as far as the bay of Cala di Volpe and the development of compartments 3 and 4 which reach the area of Portisco. The compartment of Liscia di Vacca and Porto Cervo is now almost fully developed, but most awaited is the construction of a conference centre which will be built between the Porto Cervo Tennis Club and the Cervo Hotel and which would allow Porto Cervo to remain "alive" all the year round. The planning of this, of which there already exists a three-dimensional model, is now at a final stage.

The Master Plan is an outcome of fifteen years of study; covering the 2400 hectares which remain to be developed. Four additional golf courses, of 18 and 9 holes, are foreseen, projected by the great masters Jack Nickols and Robert Trent-Jones, surrounded by villas and open spaces. The building density will be reduced to about half of what has been constructed so far, with large slices of land left in their wild state.

In effect the access way to the Costa Smeralda will pass through golf courses and "green zones" to the left and right of the road.

The Costa Smeralda will thus have five golf courses including 54 holes and will become one of the main golfing centres in the Mediterranean, assuring an influx of quality tourism in the winter and allowing shops and restaurants to stay open all the year round. The British, for instance, claim that it never rains on a golf course, since a golfer plays in any weather and the Sardinian climate which is particularily mild, is most suitable for this activity.

Unfortunately Sardinia has fallen well behind in developing this sport, having by now only three golf courses, when compared with the Algarve in Portugal, which is much smaller than even the province of Sassari, and yet has 24, or the Costa del Sol area in Spain which leads with 57 golf courses, although with a less beautiful landscape and with a less controlled tourist development.

The Planning Office of the Costa Smeralda is equipped with highly sophisticated Intergraph computers, at first developed by the NASA organisation for the survey of the planets in outer space. Using these computers, combined with aerial photography, the Planning Office has analysed the whole territory covered by the Consorzio, cataloguing even every rock and tree. Using this information the higly qualified technicians of the Costa Smeralda can plan beforehand the future shape of buildings on a three dimensional scale and ensure their perfect and harmonious placing on the ground.

It is little known that the Planning Office of the Costa Smeralda, directed by the urbanisation specialist architect Enzo Satta, is visited by numerous teams from all over the world, who come to inspect and copy the winning development method applied here. To better appreciate the extent of this activity, it suffices to compile a list of countries which regularly send their observers: Germany, France, Switzerland, Great Britain, Spain, Greece, the United States, Japan, Turkey, Egypt, Australia, Russia, Oman, Tanzania, the Philipines, India and Pakistan.

Once completed, the Costa Smeralda will have become an exceptional and masterpiece example of programmed urbanisation, covering a vast area of 3000 hectares, thought of and initiated with so much foresight by the Aga Khan.

It has been publicly stated that the immediate object of the ITT Sheraton group is to prolong the tourism season of the Costa Smeralda, and their investment of considerable sums, over US$ 6,000,000, in the refurbishing of its hotels, is confirmation of its involvment and faith in the future of the area.

All of these new measures will certainly lead to a longer season and will allow the owners of properties here to enjoy them for longer periods of the year and perhaps eventually to live here even all the year round. Sardinia, with its vast variety of unique geographical and historical features, confined in a relatively small space, is really like a continent in miniature, and has much to offer to the motoring tourist in search of something different and special.

Undoubtedly also the start up of the master plan will stimulate further property investments, with many different projects and a choice of interesting alternatives. The recent general slow down in the property sector of the italian economy has resulted in a lowering of prices and consequently a well-chosen property in the Costa Smeralda will provide not only much personal satisfaction, but also would become an excellent investment.

Laurence Camillo
June 29th 1996


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    Copyright L. Camillo 2000