Olbia represents the heart of the Marine Protected Area including, within its municipal territory, the islands of Tavolara, Molara and Molarotto.
Its natural port has been since ancient times, the engine of an intense social and commercial life for the city. The Nuragic civilization, the Punics and the Romans were the populations that followed one another in time and that exploited the potentialities of the territory.
The Romans strengthened the port which became an important junction for trade with the rest of the peninsula and also a strategic military naval base. With the end of the Western Roman Empire, the city of Olbia experienced a first period of decline.
The Vandals attacked it, destroying it and sinking the ships moored at the port. The remains of the sunken ships are now exhibited in the archaeological museum adjacent to the Benedetto Brin pier. Olbia lived a period of relative tranquillity during the Giudicati when, between the end of the XI and the beginning of the XII century, the basilica of San Simplicio, patron of the city, was built.
With the conquest of the Aragonese and the shift of maritime traffic from the Italian peninsula to the Iberian, Olbia fell into a dark and ruinous phase. Malaria and the continuous aggressions suffered by the city, forced the population to move to the most internal areas of Gallura and nearby Corsica.
We have to wait until the second half of the 19th century for the rebirth of Olbia. The requalification of the port, the re-establishment of commercial activities with the Italian peninsula, the railway line Cagliari - Chilivani - Olbia bring back the well-being and a consistent demographic increase.
At the dawn of the 20th century, Olbia experienced a period of economic, social and cultural growth which is still going on today. The sudden tourist development was certainly the engine of the socio-economic boom of the territory, but this progress has given little room for reflection on our living and our relationship with the environment.
The function of the Protected Marine Area of Tavolara - Capo Coda Cavallo in the context of a city like Olbia, is also to promote a new model of more sustainable development, attentive to the person and respectful of the fragile balance of the environment.