Sardinia’s gorgeous Costa Smeralda - its Emerald Coast - is where the jet set love to kick back, indulge and enjoy their good fortunes. So it’s lucky for them that Prince Karim Aga Khan was similarly captivated by this 35km stretch of undiscovered and pristine Gallurian coastline - then known as Monti di Mola - in the late 1950s.
Over the next few years, he and his fellow investors persuaded the local shepherds to sell up whilst they perfected Prince Karim’s meticulously planned vision for an exclusive resort and marina in this corner of paradise.
Together with the Swiss-French set designer Jacques Coulee, the Aga Khan was adamant that his project would have minimal impact on the landscape. To this end each building was modelled first in wire to ensure its discrete low-rise design melded with its natural setting, right down to their uniquely organic shapes and the colour of stucco which was to be used.
Strict planning laws were also introduced to prohibit construction on the shoreline, which meant that the Costa Smeralda escaped the high-rise monstrosities which began to afflict the Spanish and Italian coastlines in the 1960s.
Needless to say, word of this idyll soon spread through Europe’s glitterati and aristocracy and the rest - as they say - is Porto Cervo history. Bravo!
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