“The second largest Island in the Mediterranean Sea”
Cradle of nuragica civilization, Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily. It is a special region, beginning with its Statute, which makes its own within the Italian Republic. Sardinia is the peculiarities custodian of a story that makes it an island of unique ethnic and linguistic peculiarities . The Sardinian it’s a real language and not just a dialect, belongs to the group of Indo-European languages and is present in two main variants in the island: the logudorese, spoke at North; and campidanese, in the south. In Alghero, instead, it is called a variant of the Catalan language: the dialect of Alghero. Everything here seems to be different from the rest of Italy: from the food, to construction, from music to language. Sardinia, in fact, despite having been used, since the dawn of civilization, as naval berthing of many civilizations of the Mediterranean, and coveted for its territory rich in forests, water and metals, has been able to take advantage of its isolation and its strategic location to develop an autonomous historical and cultural heritage. Thanks to its climate and the beauty of its beaches has become, in recent decades, a hugely popular tourist destination also by the international jet set, especially in the hot summer months. The Costa Smeralda, the Maddalena archipelago, Cala Volpe and Capriccioli have thus become one of the top tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. From this tourist boom, Sardinia has been able to bring out a second face, open and modern, able to coexist peacefully with the original and persistent traditional soul.
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Cagliari. University and archbishop seat and city from ancient history, is the administrative center of the island since Roman times, when it became the capital of the province, up to the Sardinia Kingdom , that the elected capital. Its port is classified as “international” because of its importance: commercial, industrial, tourist and service for passengers performs. The city has in common with Rome, Lisbon and Istanbul the fact that it was built on seven hills, which identify as many city districts: Castle, Tuvu Mannu, Tuvixeddu, Monte Claro, Monte Urpinu, Colle di Bonaria, Colle di San Michele. Many people passed or remained in Cagliari during its history: Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Pisans, Genoese, Aragonese, Catalan, Spanish, Piedmont. So, next to the imposing testimonies of Roman rule, as the Amphitheatre, the Cave of the Viper and the Villa of Tigello, Cagliari preserves important treasures of other cultures and eras, as the two great Pisan Towers, built at the beginning of 1300 to oversee the oldest part of the city; the Castle; the nineteenth-century bastion of Saint Remy, built as a scenic walk on the old walls in Spain. Today Cagliari carves out an important place in the organization of major sporting events such as the Grand Prix Formula One Powerboat World Championship or the women’s Beach Volleyball, held in one of the most beautiful beaches of Sardinia, the Poetto, summer destination of many tourists .
The curious shape of Sardinia led the Greeks to call it Ichnusa, that is “footprint”. More than 80% of its territory is mountainous and hilly, while the flat areas represent about 18% of the territory and grow especially in Campidano. The coasts are articulated in the gulfs of Asinara to the north, Orosei in the east, the Cagliari to the south and the Alghero and Oristano in the west. Two thousand kilometers of rocky peaks, with small creeks at north-east and become deeper in the valleys. Low and sandy coasts, sometimes marshy areas are located in southern and western: are the coastal ponds, wetlands are important from an ecological perspective. Many islands and islets surround and among these the largest is the island of Sant ‘Antioco, followed Asinara, from the island of San Pietro, the Maddalena and Caprera.
In Sardinia are held, especially in the field of sailing, many international sports competitions. The sailing centers and sailings schools, along the coast of Sardinia, are numerous. Porto Cervo is one of the most important goals of yachting. Other yacht clubs are located in Alghero, Bosa, Cagliari, Carloforte, Stintino. Among the major nautical events, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, which takes place the first week of September; the Veteran Boat Rally, considered one of the greatest races of vintage boats; The Regatta of the Vela Latina, held in August in Stintino; and Sardinia Rolex Cup in September in Porto Cervo, for fans,the equivalent Mediterranean of the Admiral’s Cup. In the vicinity of the town of Porto Pollo and Barrabisa, at north of Palau, on the other hand is a paradise for windsurfers and kitesurfing, or the so-called Island of the Gulls, surrounded by sea and joined to the mainland by an isthmus of sandy soil. We should also mention the Rally of Italy, which takes place in May in Sardinia, and in particular on the narrow winding streets of the Gallura. The Trofeo Alasport, however, is considered a prestigious event for fans of the Cross Men and Women World . In late March, in fact, participate every year the best known samples of the specialty. The event began in 1973 in Alà dei Sardi and from race cross country, over the years, has become an international motocross appointment.
By Plane. The international airports of which the island is equipped are those:Alghero Fertilia, Olbia-Costa Smeralda and Cagliari-Elmas. All three airports sorting traffic arriving and departing to the main Italian cities and several European destinations, while two other regional airports they fly: those of Oristano Fenosu and Arbatax.
By Boat. Ferry connections to Sardinia vary from year to year and are obviously more frequent in summer. In recent years, several companies like have made available to travelers fast ships, which allow you to reach the island with a journey of about 5 hours. Sardinia is accessible from all the ports of Italy to Cagliari, Porto Torres, Olbia, Gulf of Aranci (Olbia) and Arbatax.
Sardinia is a region that lends itself to be visited by following different routes, from artsy to nature. In fact, we must not choose between art cities and unspoiled beaches. The interpenetration between nature and urban agglomerations scattered throughout its territory is total. Alghero, for example, is a beautiful and ancient cityt. A Catalan city characterized by high Spanish walls and a scenic waterfront designed by the same architect who designed the famous Las Ramblas. Yet the city is not far from beautiful beaches like that of Capo Caccia, which lends itself particularly well to nature walks and bird watching; or to the beache of Bombarde, famous for its waters always cool even in August. So also the evocative ruins of the Roman port of Tharros are within walking distance from beautiful beaches as S’Archittu or Santa Caterina. At 12 km from Oristano is also possible to see the wonderful characteristic pink flamingos of the island. Another exception should be made for the beautiful archipelago of La Maddalena, consists of seven main islands and other smaller islands, all included in the homonymous National Park. The archipelago is also known for being the final resting place of the Hero of Two Worlds, Giuseppe Garibaldi, who built at Caprera the famous White House, today museum house open to the public and the place where the remains of the hero are buried.
TRADITIONS AND FOLKLORE
Very attached to traditions and culture (which keeps alive with pride and passion), Sardinia enhances its folklore with religious festivals and events related to the seasonality of the work of the land. Carnival, for example, with its allegorical rituals and the great popular participation, opens with the bonfire of the night of St. Anthony. A Oristano takes place the colorful Sartiglia, a carousel horse of Spanish origin that features the famous on componidori, whose dressing following centuries the same old gestures. But is in Barbagia that the same event takes a very different appearance, with tragic masks of mamuthones at Mamoiada, of merdules in Ottana and sos thurpos in Orotelli, that move with measured steps to the sound of heavy and ominous bells , recalling ancient peasants rites. Similarly, the Easter, which is the island recurrence more important, is enriched with many original features such as the Lunissanti (Holy Monday) in Castelsardo, offering the charm of a city lit up only for the occasion by torches and a procession that winds accompanied by poignant chants . Full of color opens instead the month of May in Cagliari, with the parade of traccas, characteristic and decorated wagons pulled by oxen, on the feast of Saint Efisio, a ritual that has 346 years attracts the attention of thousands of pilgrims from all over the island. On the occasion of the Feast of San Costantino in Sedilo takes place also the unbridled Ardia, whose protagonists are brave knights who jump on a dizzying ride along a steep, creating an ancestral and strong spectacle of blood.
The Sardinian cuisine is a cuisine based on simple ingredients that belong more to farming and pastoral tradition than to the seafood. Many variants of the same products that you meet on the island, starting with the bread. The most common is the bread Carasau typical of Barbagia and consists of a crisp,round and flat pastry . The same bread, if sprinkled with oil, salt and heated in the oven is called Gutiau, while completely different is the Pistocu typical from Ogliastre, more tick. Wide choice of cheeses ranging from Pecorino Sardo Dop, made with fresh sheep’s milk, Pecorino Romano Doc, which despite its name is produced by 90% on the island, and has a spicy taste. Other famous cheeses are the Fiore Sardo Dop and Casizolu, stringy cheese in the shape of pears, which became Slow Food. While among the first courses are the masters malloreddus, semolina dumplings served with gravy and sausage, and bread frattau, carasau bread soaked in broth and interspersed with grated pecorino cheese, tomato sauce and topped with poached egg. The undisputed star of the second courses is the suckling pig (purceddu), cooked on a spit or on the grill and then served on wooden cork trays covered with myrtle leaves. Particularly important is the viticulture, dating back to the Nuragic civilization. Linked to particular events, however, the preparation of desserts, almost all made of durum wheat, almonds and honey. Great, the Tonara nougat and sa seada, a dough disc that contains within it a filling of fresh cheese, slightly sour, flavored with lemon, fried and covered with melted honey. Among the red wines include Cannonau, grape of Spanish origin, the Monica and the Girò, while among whites it signal the Vermentino from Gallura and the Oristano Vernaccia. Among the spirits, the Mirto,the Filù and Ferru.
Traditional Sardinian craftsmanship is a collection of popular arts extremely varied and rich in taste and originality. The weaving of wool, cotton and linen , tapestries, pillows and curtains is still largely practiced hand, with frames of conception very old, and even many of the productions mechanized retain features of this tradition. The jewelry is one of the most authentic testimonies craft and form an integral part of traditional costumes, rich filigree buttons and brooches, necklaces embellished with coral, precious stones and pearls. The work of gold, refined taste, are filigree. The woodwork is characterized by original products such as carved chests, the straw chairs of Assemini, the bisere Mamuthones (that the traditional mamoiadine masks) and the cork production of Calangianus. The craft of basket weaving is widespread, but is the Orristano area the area where most will process the raw materials, such as cane, the dwarf palm and the asphodel, ideal for making baskets. The ceramics have a simple and linear shape. A millenary tradition inspires various schools which hand down the techniques of turning, from baking and glazed with natural colors decoration . Another ancient Sardinian tradition is the one of the knives. The blades collectibles are not always switchblade, but also to fixed handle, usually in ram or mouflon and inlaid by hand. The classic murta blade (a myrtle leaf) are considered by fans of real works of art.
DID YOU KNOW THAT….
… The Pink Beach, located on south-east of the island of Budelli in Maddalena Archipelago, is so called because of its pink coral color? Actually it depends on the presence in their shoreline of calcareous shells of Miniacina miniacea, a protozoan foraminifera. The famous beach is one of the most protected of the entire archipelago of La Maddalena, since they are prohibited access on the beach, transit or the parking of nautical transport in the marine water in front and, even, bathing. In 1964 the beach was the set of the film The Red dessert by Michelangelo Antonioni, while in 1982 it hosted an episode of “Games Without Frontiers”.