The Island

A place full of feeling, experienced over the decades by recluse souls and free spirits, chosen as a home by Enrico Mereu.

A land of contrasts


Asinara is an island of about 51 square kilometers located in the extreme north-west of Sardinia. It is part of the municipality of Porto Torres, in the province of Sassari.

Defined by many as a paradise on earth due to the beauty of its coasts and the richness of flora and fauna hardly disturbed by man, the island is best known for having been a penal colony from 1885 to 1998. Numerous high-profile criminals are transited through the "superprison": during the years of lead the maximum security cells were equipped for the imprisonment of members of the Red Brigades who, kept in constant isolation, organized a revolt in 1979 using homemade devices built with coffee makers. The revolt was put down by a massive intervention by the police who, through the use of tear gas, forced the rioters to surrender.

Between the eighties and nineties it was the head of the new organized Camorra Raffaele Cutolo who was imprisoned on the island while between 1992 and 1995, among the prisoners of the 41-bis, Salvatore Riina stands out for the heinousness of his crimes, the head of the heads of our thing. Defined as the Italian Alcatraz, only two inmates managed to escape in the prison's more than 112 years of activity: Matteo Boe, a criminal native of Lula who disappeared on a rubber dinghy with the help of an accomplice.


Since 2002, the island has been returned to the community, becoming a national park to all intents and purposes.

The Sculptor of Asinara


Enrico Mereu was born in Nurri on April 3, 1959. he Arrived on the island for the first time in 1980 and at the time he was mainly a young prison police officer. Few know that his soul is actually split in two: on the one hand an extension of the state, of justice, of sanctions and on the other the irrepressible drive to free forms and bodies from raw material.

It is thanks to this inner dualism that the artistic sensitivity of Enrico can be declined, a man who has experienced the archetypes of "good" and "evil" on his skin, and has been able to appreciate the resulting interweaving, the knot that embraces all human beings in the complicated path of existence. And it is precisely to the most intimate aspects of the human soul that the sculptor dedicates his work of expression, and so from the same wood from which a suffering Christ is born, stands a father who, left alone after the death of his wife, carries everything on his back the weight of responsibility towards her children. From the same wood from which Aeolus, the god of the wind, wriggles out, a family of dolphins comes out and playfully chases each other. Pain, determination, joy, strength, responsibility, sacrifice, family but most of all, freedom.

Enrico was able to demonstrate a more unique than rare tenacity even in defending his right to remain at Asinara. His battles were numerous, among which the twenty-three days spent chained at the port of Cala d'Oliva certainly stand out, to be recognized as a belonging that was already written in the wind.