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Second-Chance Lighthouse

An exclusive resort at Capo Spartivento, Sardinia

Italian rock singer Luciano Ligabue has captured the very essence of Capo Spartivento in his music.

Because it was here on the Sardinian promontory that marks the eastern tip of the Gulf of Teulada that he laid the foundations for Mondovisione, one of the most successful albums of his long career.

Ligabue is happy to admit that he owes much of the inspiration for the project to “a monastic week at Capo Spartivento, spent sleeping the lighthouse”. 

Ah, yes, the lighthouse…. Built in 1866 and occupied by lighthouse-keepers until the 1980s, the Capo Spartivento lighthouse was then abandoned and forgotten by most everybody. But not Alessio Raggio, an enterprising Cagliari businessman who got the idea of converting it in 1991. It took him a further 15 years and a great deal of determination and stubbornness before he finally made his dream of creating an exclusive resort come true in 2009.

“Luxury here means the uniqueness of the complex and the philosophy behind it,” explains Raggio. “Our idea of hospitality is to provide guests with a home from home: people coming here should feel they are visiting friends.” The exterior and interior renovations were just grist to his mill too. The design is a clever, quirky mix of modern and antique pieces picked up all over the world.

On the sea-facing side of the exterior there is an expanse of teak decking into which an infinity pool with two whirlpool tubs has been set.  All around are deckchairs and leather sofas for guests to sink into, relax and drink in the incomparable sea views.

The teak deck leads into the interior through a glass door. “I wanted it to be transparent,” explains Raggio, “to ensure the connection with the sea was never broken.”

The ground floor area features a lounge which, although open-plan, is very much in two parts. At the back, white leather Fürstenberg sofas, an antique wall mirror and a fireplace make up the sitting area while two tables, one glass and the other an antique work bench from Mongolia, make up make up the communal area.

On the first floor, there is another lounge with also with a fireplace and an enormous Indian trunk used as a bookcase, in addition to six 35-square metres guest bedrooms.

Each bedroom is unique and features a mix of modern design and small antique knickknacks. The only common denominator is Murano glass lamps with each bedroom’s a different colour.

The second floor has a large terrace with four canopied day beds from which guests can take the sun by day and gaze at the starry sky at night between sweeps of the light which towers just above. The latter is actually still owned by the Italian Navy which, to celebrate its rebirth in 2004, fitted it with an antique Frenel bulb.  

There is also a garden at the back of the lighthouse complete with outdoor sofas, a barbecue and fireplace area, and a raised section with glass gazebos.

Nearby are two outbuildings made from the old tanks once used to store the acetylene glass that powered the light. Both have skylights through which guests can admire the sky. The lighthouse is at the end of a dirt track closed to the public but a private dock and helipad are planned. Solar panels are used to heat the water and waste water is filtered through a purification unit for reuse in the gardens. Capo Spartivento: a truly magical place where anyone can be the keeper of the light. For a little while at least.