The original owners entertained the vacationing Italian royal family at Villa las Tronas and we felt like royalty ourselves, from the moment we stepped inside this Sardinian retreat.
Surrounded by the sea on three sides and by its own walled park on the fourth, Villa las Tronas is literally a place apart, although it’s visible from nearly any point along Alghero’s shoreline.
We had spotted it ahead as we drove north along the spectacular coastal road, where Sardinia’s mountains meet the Mediterranean. As we turned off the street, big wrought-iron gates swung open, and by the time we had reached the parking area hidden in the shrubbery below the villa, a smartly uniformed bellman was there to carry our luggage up to the door.
Each room, from the elegant public spaces on the main floor to the 36 guest rooms, takes fullest advantage of the sea views. Ours was a demi-suite, with a sitting area and two large windows overlooking the sea. Cream-colored walls highlighted the upholstery and bed covering of rich reds and gold. The high king-sized bed sat in its own alcove, and we each had our own marble bathroom. Mine had a luxuriously deep tub. Fine antiques, original art and fresh flowers embellish the entire interior, which is rich in architectural detail, but the light and spacious rooms remain serene and sophisticated, never feeling fussy or over-decorated despite their opulence.
When we went down to dinner a pianist was playing classical music in the dining room, which was flooded with golden light as the sun dropped toward the sea. With a solid wall of west-facing windows, every table has a sea view. From the first glance at the menu, we knew it would be an outstanding dinner, the dishes focused on locally grown meat and produce, with a nice blend of continental technique and traditional Sardinian styles.
We began with pure Sardinia, splitting a starter of house-made culurgiones served with beef ragu. These hearty little Sardinian raviolis took on new grace. We could have chosen a carpaccio of sea bass or the local seafood specialty, sea urchins, served over pasta. For a main course it was difficult to choose between the saddle of young boar and the lamb rack in herbed crumbs, but my companion chose the latter, which was finished with a delicate touch of mustard. I chose verticale, a white fish like sole, but a bit thicker, with firm filets that don’t fall apart; it was served with a sauce of mirto, the Sardinian digestivo made from berries. Presentations were artistic, but not fussy, and the service was both flawless and cordial.
As we lingered over dinner, the western horizon faded into afterglow, with the soaring cliffs of Cabo Caccia silhouetted dark against it, until all was black and only the rhythmic blink of the lighthouse at its tip was left visible. That’s when we noticed the fishing boats coming and going in the waters below. No wonder my fish tasted so fresh.