Sardinia’s Little Arch
S’Archittu is a small coastal tourist resort near Oristano, part of the municipality of Cuglieri in Sardinia.
The rocky coast, consisting of Middle Miocene limestone, is made up of a diverse landscape, with a string of promontories and coves. The town is a major tourist attraction with its barren, limestone terrain and moonscape-like quality. Its most striking natural landmark is s’archittu, a small stone arch named after the town. The arch was carved into a rounded shape by the combined action of sea and weather.
The scenic 50 foot tall arch acts as an underpass beneath a rock bridge that leads to the tip of the rocky protrusion. A frequent photo opportunity, the natural wonder is illuminated during the evenings. Visitors can walk over the arch and dive off the rock bridge into the surrounding waters. Diving off the top of the arch has actually become so popular that the 2001, High Dive World Championship used the rocky shelf as a venue for their competition.
The little arch is actually what remains of an ancient cave, whose roof collapsed under the incessant thumping of the waves and the repeated compression and decompression of the air contained within its vault. It is currently in a fair preservation status but its long-term status is certainly imperiled by the action of the weather and the sea threatening its stability.