Giara di Gesturi and the wild horses

Known mainly for the herd of wild horses living on its territory, the Giara di Gesturi, called in Sardinian Sa Jara Manna, is a 600-meters-high basaltic plateau of vulcanic origin, with a surface of about 42 square chilometers. The area is located in the region of Marmilla, in the central-south part of the island. This exceptional geological formation consitutes an extremely imporant habitat of various plants and animals. An interesting and particular spot on the map of Sardinia, known for the last herd of wild horses in Europe, wonderful nature and historical spots.

Giara di Gesturi, an important natural habitat

The plateau of the Giara di Gesturi was formed about two millions years ago, as a consequence of the tectonic movements and the activity of two vulcanoes, Zepparedda and Zeppara Manna¹. A spot with very diversified vegetation, covered by the typical Mediterreanean shrub, the cork and hold oaks forests, as well as numerous herbs, like the strawberry tree, myrtle or Helichrysum italicum.

The best-known inhabitants of Giara di Gesturi are the wild horses. Called in Sardinian Cuaddeddu de sa Jara, the horses are a native species of an unknown origin. Due to the difficult environmental conditions, the animals are rather small in size, reaching up to 135 cm of height, and for this reason are sometimes called ponies. It is still not certain how the species reached the island. Some scientists believe, that they might have been brought by the Phoenicians or the Greeks around the V or IV century BC. According to other theories, the species derives from the horses present in Sardinia since the Neolithic age.

Source of the picture http://www.sardegnasentieri.it/da-vedere/giara-di-gesturi

The surface of the plateau is full of hollows of the land, called in Sardinian paulis, which fill up with water and serve as watering places for animals. The biggest one is Pauli Maiori, a container which reaches the maximum of 1.3 meters of depth² and holds water all year round.

Visiting the Giara di Gesturi and surroundings

Apart from the beautiful nature and interesting geological formation, the Giara di Gesturi and its surrounding are also an extraordinarily important place from the historical point of view. On the plateau, there are the remains of about 23 nuraghs, ancient fortifications built by the Nuragic civilization which inhabited Sardinia in the Bronze Age. Close to the Giara di Gesturi there is also one of the most important Sardinian nuraghe called the su Nuraxi of Barumini. This millenial complex which consists of the ruins of five towers (a central tower and four corner towers) as well as a village, was erected in the 17th century BC. Due to its importance and invaluable historical meaning, in 1997 the nuraghe was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Source of the picture https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/explore/barumini

Sources

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giara_di_Gesturi

  2. https://www.giarasardegna.it/en/content/pauli-maiori-tuili

  1. https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/explore/gesturi

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giara_horse

Source of the picture on top of the page

http://www.sardegnadigitallibrary.it/mmt/1024/14025.jpg

Samugheo and the textile production

Called also the capital of the Sardinian textile craft, the town of Samugheo is located in the province of Oristano, in the center of the island. This little town, inhabited by about 3,000 people, is well-known for the artisanal production of amazing rugs, linen, clothes and other textile items. It is also highly appreciated for its typical bread, traditional carnival celebrations as well as interesting historical spots in the surroundings.

The town of Samugheo

Samugheo is located in the area of Brabayanna, “the door of Barbagia”, on the altitude of about 400 meters above the sea level. The town is surrounded by forests which constitute the habitat for numerous animal species, among which foxes or boars. In the neighborhood of Samugheo, there are various interesting historical sites, dating back to the prenuragic and nuragic era, with the necropolis domus de janas at Spelunca Orre and the nuraghe Perda Orrubia being the most remarkable ones. Another noteworthy spot is the ruins of the Medusa castle (Castello di Medusa), a mysterious fortification erected in the fourth century. According to a local legend, the castle was built by Phorco and after his death in 253 BC the building passed on to his daughter Medusa. 28 years later the princess Medusa died decapitated by Perseus. However, she left the castle and its treasures to the devil; whenever anyone tries to approach the palace, the guardians would turn him into stone¹.

Source of the picture http://www.sardegnadigitallibrary.it/mmt/1024/255151.jpg

One of the ancient traditions still cultivated by the inhabitants of Samugheo is the carnival. However, despite the centenarian origin of the celebrations, the main characters of the Samugheo’s carnival called mamutzones, have been rediscovered only in the eighties. The figures of mamutzones are strongly related to the pastoral character of the area and the animals. In fact, the relationship is reflected in the costume, made up of a black or white goat fur jacket, bells and a cork headgear called su casiddu, covered by goat skin with real goat horns on top. The best-known carnival event in Samugheo is called “A Maimone”; it’s a parade, which presents the carnival costumes from all over Barbagia.

Samugheo’s rugs and textiles

The town of Samugheo is famous for the textile and rug production. The ancient artisanal weaving traditions have been practiced for centuries, and still nowadays are cultivated in numerous local craft laboratories. Carpets, rugs, household linen or regional clothes, these are only some of the products created by the Samugheo’s artisans. Produced with materials like flax, cotton and wool, the textiles are woven by using the traditional Sardinian techniques. They impress with the beautiful colours as well as geometric, plant or animal motives, arranged in original compositions. But textiles decorate also some buildings inside the city; as a matter of fact, wonderful murals representing rugs and people dressed in traditional clothes can be found on the walls of different Samugheo’s constructions.

Source of the picture http://www.sardegnadigitallibrary.it/mmt/1024/108365.jpg

Visitors interested in discovering more about the traditional weaving should visit the museum Murants, where they can see the permanent exhibition of linen, traditional regional costumes and tools used for weaving. The museum organizes also numerous laboratories dedicated to the textile craft as well as interesting temporary exhibitions. Moreover, in order to promote the local and Sardinian handicraft, Samugheo hosts every year the most important textile craft fair called Tessingiu.

Sources

  1. https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/it/esplora/castello-di-medusa

  2. https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/explore/samugheo

  3. https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samugheo

  4. http://www.murats.it/collezione/

    Source of the picture on top of the page

    http://www.sardegnadigitallibrary.it/mmt/1024/257856.jpg

Mamoiada and tourism rooted in the carnival

A city of rich traditions, known for the delicious cuisine and amazing festivities, which every year hosts one of the most famous carnivals in Sardinia. Mamoiada is a little town in the region of Barbagia, in the province of Nuoro, inhabited by about 2,500 people. The inhabitants of the village still cultivate the local traditions, strongly linked to the ancient agro-pastoral roots. The area is also well-known for the food and the Cannonau wine production, as well as shepherds walking paths and sos pinnettos, little houses made of wood and stone, used in the past by the pastors as shelters.

Carnival of Mamoiada – Mamuthones and Issohadores

The biggest attraction of Mamoiada, which made the city famous all around the world, is undoubtedly the carnival. Deeply rooted in pagan rituals and the local pastoral tradition, the carnival parade attracts yearly numerous tourists, curious to participate in this unique event. The two main characters of the Mamoiada’s carnival are Mamuthones and Issohadores, who cross the streets of the city while performing their dance. Mamuthones, mysterious figures dressed in dark wooden masks, animal furs and heavy cow bells attached to their backs, walk slowly in two lateral rows. On the other hand, the Issohadores, characters dressed in white masks, red jackets and other characteristic elements of the Sardinian clothing, run freely around the Mamuthones and control the parade. This unique event should not be missed while visiting the area in the carnival period!

Visiting Mamoiada

Tourists visiting Mamoiada will discover a lot of interesting spots in the town and the area, among which relevant historical remains of the human presence. Some of the most important ones are the dolmens and the chamber tombs domus de janas, with the impressive sa Conchedda Istevene. A well-known prehistorical monument is also the Boeli’s stele, called also Sa Perda Pintà. According to scientists, this 2.6-meter-high stone slab decorated with circles around cup marks, dates back to 3,500 BC. Moreover, in the area there are about 32 nuraghes, as well as some remains of the Ancient Romans presence.

Museum of the Mediterranean Masks in Mamoiada

Visitors interested in finding out more about the carnival traditions, costumes and history are invited to visit the Museo delle Maschere Mediterranee (Museum of the Mediterrean Masks). Another interesting event is the so-called “Cortes Apertas”, a festival which takes place from September to December in 27 cities of the Nuoro province, including Mamoiada. During the weekends, the visitors have the possibility to enter in the courts of the oldest houses of the village, participate in artistic and craft shows, as well as taste the local food and beverages.

Sources

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortes_Apertas

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamoiada

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/explore/mamoiada

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stele_di_Boeli

Source of the picture on top of the page:

https://www.vistanet.it/ogliastra/2018/01/27/mamoiada-ai-cancelli-partenza-carnevale-la-sfilata-dei-mamuthones-degli-issohadores/

Orgosolo

For years known as a town of bandits, nowadays an open-air gallery visited by thousands of tourists every year. The town of Orgosolo, located in the Sardinian region of Barbagia, enchants visitors with its amazing landscapes, traditions and the incredible murals painted all over the city. A real treasure of the internal part of the island, which conserves important traces of the local culture and through the paintings on the walls tells the history of Sardinia and the world.

History of Orgosolo

The territory of Orgosolo has been inhabited by humans for centuries. In fact, the traces of the human presence date back to the times of the nuragics, an ancient Sardinian civilization from the Bronze Age, and still nowadays can be admired by the visitors. The end of the 19th century saw the start of criminality and violent conflicts between the local families. As the years went by, the criminality escalated causing more and more victims. At some point, when the number of murders grew significantly, the Italian army intervened and in collaboration with the locals started catching the bandits, often hidden in the mountains. Later, the banditry evolved with frequent kidnapping for ransom. The phenomena of the Sardinian banditry was presented in the movie of Vittorio de Seta from 1961 entitled “Banditi a Orgosolo”.

Murals of Orgosolo

Nowadays, the town is a popular tourism destination well-known for the murals. These exceptional works of art, distributed on the buildings all over the town, illustrates different stories – life of the locals, history of Barbagia and Sardinia, as well important events from the Italian and world history. The first murals were created at the end of the sixties, by an anarchic group Dionisio. Later, in 1975, the teacher Francesco Del Casino together with his students painted a couple of new murals along the street Corso Repubblica. The inhabitants of the town were very favourable to the initiative, and soon later new murals were created by various artists. Today, there are about 200 different murals all over the city. The visitors interested in following the path of paintings and discovering their history are invited to rent an audio guide, which will guide them through this amazing gallery city.

Visiting Orgosolo

Apart from the works of art around the city, the visitors will find in Orgosolo and its surroundings a lot of fascinating spots. Amazing slopes of Supramonte mountains and nature surrounding the town will attract fans of hiking, who will enjoy numerous walking paths and natural monuments. On the itinerary should not miss the Gorroppu canyon, the deepest canyon in Europe, or the largest sinkhole in Sardinia called Su Suercone. Tourists interested in history should see the nuragic complex Nuraghe Dovilineo, built by the ancient civilization of the nuragics or the stone necropolis Su Calavriche, on the way between Orgosolo and Nuoro. Visitors coming to Orgosolo in August will have the opportunity to watch the horse race, which takes place every year on the 15th of August during the celebrations of the Virgin Mary’s Assumption.

Sources

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/explore/orgosolo

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orgosolo#Murales

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sardinian_banditry

Tonara and the nougat di Tonara

Located in the heart of Sardinia, close to the Gennargentu National Park, Tonara is a little village in the region of Barbagia. Its location at the altitude between 800 and 900 meters above the sea level makes of it one of the highest-situated towns of the island. This lovely spot full of old stone houses located along narrow streets is inhabited by about 2,000 people, who still nowadays cultivate the rich local traditions. As a matter of fact, Tonara is well-known for its craft, beautiful mountainous landscapes, but most importantly the delicious nougat called the Torrone di Tonara. It is also a birthplace of Peppino Mereu, a poet writing in Sardinian language. An interesting stop which should not miss on the itinerary of the tourists visiting Barbagia and the fans of sweets.

The village of Tonara

The name of the village comes probably from the calcareous rock of Su Toni, on which Tonara is located. Surrounded by woods of oaks, holm oaks or chestnuts, the village is considered one of the greenest towns on the island. The forests around Tonara are a home for numerous animal species, among which rare birds, like the Sardinian goshawk, and full of different types of mushrooms, with the dark cep and the Cesar’s mushroom being the most appreciated.

Source of the picture https://www.borghiautenticiditalia.it/borgo/tonara

The territory of Tonara has been inhabited for centuries. In fact, the most ancient traces of human presence date back to the prenuragic era, with the necropolis domus de janas of Is Forreddos and the grave Pitzu e’ Toni being the oldest monuments of that time. The area conserves also traces of the nuragics, an ancient Sardinian civilization from the Bronze Age. On the way to the village, the visitors can find the remains of the nuraghe Su Nuratze and of an ancient settlement. While visiting the village, the tourists should also see the interesting local churches, like the parochial church of San Gabriele built in the 17th century, or the Casa Porru, an ethnographic museum, which previously served as a prison.

The nougat of Tonara

Tonara is, however, primarily known for its delicious hallmark; appreciated in Italy and in the world, the delicious nougat called the Torrone di Tonara. The torrone is a typical Italian Christmas sweet, produced also in other parts of the world. The village of Tonara has a long tradition of the craft torrone production, passed from generation to generation. What makes the Tonara’s torrone so special among the other nougats is the use of honey instead of sugar. The honey gives to the sweet a particular taste and softer consistence. Other ingredients of this delicious speciality are almonds, nuts or hazelnuts, collected directly in the surrounding forests. Apart from the classic version, many producers offer also the versions of torrone with particular Sardinian aromas, like the strawberry tree.

Source of the picture http://www.anticotorronificiopili.it/it/torrone

The inhabitants of Tonara celebrate yearly the regional deliciousness during the festival called the sagra del Torrone. Since 1979, the festival takes place every year on Easter Monday. During the event the visitors can taste the delicious nougat and observe the traditional ways of its production. It is also a great opportunity to learn more about the Tonara’s craft; as a matter of fact, Tonara is one of the last places where the cow bells called sonaggias and pittiolos are artisanaly made.

Sources

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/explore/tonara

https://www.sardegnainfesta.com/sagre/sagra-del-torrone-a-tonara.htm

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonara

Source of the picture on top of the page https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/it/esplora/tonara

TINNURA, a jewel rich in murals, authentic artistic expressions

Tinnura is a small village of 247 inhabitants, located in the Planargia, an area mostly belonging to the province of Oristano, well known for its murals.

The village is in fact a museum of modern art ‘open air’ full of picturesque murals painted on the facades of the houses, depicting moments of rural life and the village. Famous also for the realization of the asphodel baskets. The name of pre-Roman origin, derives from thinnías, the plants of the thorny rush of the nearby rivers. The patron saint is Sant’ANNA celebrated on July 26th with religious and civil rites. Another heartfelt feast is for the Blessed Virgin of Remedy, at the beginning of September.

The territory of Tinnura was inhabited since pre-Nuragic times, as demonstrated by some menhirs. The nuraghe Tres Bias (or Trobia), a complex structure controlling the surrounding area, dates back to the Bronze Age, as does the nearby Giants’ tomb on Crastu Covocadu, one of the largest and most important on the island, around which finds from the second half of the 2nd century B.C., i.e. the Roman age, have also been found. The village was then under the domination of the Giudicati of Cagliari and Arborea, with a short feudal passage to the Malaspina.

The murals, very representative in Tinnura and of great artistic quality, are paintings made in the walls of the buildings representing scenes of daily life, images of denunciation, suffering and hopes of a community.

The diffusion of this expression that becomes artistic in Sardinia, originated from the social unease of the ’60s, and then became an instrument of storytelling and communication of the history of the small realities of the island.

Orgosolo, San Sperate, Villamar, Serramanna, Urzulei, Barisardo are among the most famous centres of Sardinia where it is possible to admire these splendid works of art, but they are not the only ones.

The small village of Tinnura, in the province of Oristano, has to offer an extraordinary example of murals that tell in pictures the life of the inhabitants.

Everything is depicted with an incredible realism, every gesture and expression is taken care of in every detail, the walls of the buildings come alive becoming the stage of memory and memory.

It deserves a visit. It leaves visitors speechless. The fountain representing the signs of the zodiac in the centre of the city, from which fresh and vital water flows out, is also pleasant.

https://www.oristanoturismo.it/tinnura/

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/it/esplora/tinnura

http://guida-sardegna.it/2012/01/24/il-fascino-dei-murales-di-tinnura/

Sant’Antioco and Carloforte

The territory of Sardinia is composed not only of one island. As a matter of fact, apart from the main land, the region counts other 227 small islands and islets. Two of them, which deserve a special attention are located in the Archipelago of Sulcis, on the south-west of the region. The island of Sant’Antioco and the island of San Pietro, with its marvelous center Carloforte, enchant visitors with their nature as well as the diversity of culture and history.

Sant’Antioco

With the surface of 109 square kilometers, Sant’Antioco is the second biggest island of the Sardinian region. The territory is divided into two municipalities, Sant’Antioco and Calasetta, inhabited by about 11 thousand people, who can easily reach the mainland of Sardinia by a modern bridge. The island and the homonymous town owe their name to Saint Antiochus (Sant’Antioco in Italian), one of the first Sardinian martyrs. According to a legend, Antiochus was a doctor, exiled by the Romans to the island and condemned to forced labour in the lead mines for spreading the Christian faith. While on the island, Antiochus continued converting others to Christianity, for what he was sentenced to death and executed. Nowadays, the cult of the saint is very strong on the island and a basilica dedicated to the martyr can be found in the center of the town of Sant’Antioco.

Source of the picture http://www.santantioco.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/basilica_santo_antioco.jpg

The island of Sant’Antioco was inhabited in the past by many ancient civilizations. The main town of the island was founded by the Phoenicians and later became the Carthaginian and the Roman colony. However, the first traces of the human presence date back to the prehistoric times, at least to the fifth millennium BC. Imporant remains which prove the millennial history, like menhirs and tombs called domus de janas, can still be found on the island. Moreover, in the Bronze Age Sant’Antioco was inhabited by the nuragics, an endemic Sardinian civilization. Nowadays, the island counts about thirty nuraghes, the constructions left by the nuragic civilization, among which the most important are the nuraghes s’Ega de Marteddu and the impressive complex Grutti ‘e Acqua. Other ancient monuments which survived until our times are the Roman bridge, fountains, ancient acropolis, catacombs and necropolis.

Sant’Antioco has also a centuries-old tradition related to the production of the fabric byssus, known also the sea silk. This extremely rare and valuable material is obtained from the filaments of a species bivalve marine molluscs (Pinna nobilis), which can reach up to one meter of length. Since ancient times, cloths and decorative elements produced with this rare fabric were considered extremely valuable and were worn by the elite of the society. Nowadays, the species Pinna nobilis is under a strict law protection as threatened with extinction.

Source of the picture https://www.stilearte.it/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Bisso.jpg

Moreover, the region is well-known for the local cuisine and wine specialities. Sardus Pater and Trebbiano are the two types of wine produced on the island, whereas the sweet pastry called sebadas, filled with pecorino, should not be missed by anyone visiting the little island.

Carloforte

The town of Carloforte is the main center of the island of San Pietro, founded in 1738 by a group of Ligurian families of coral fishers, who migrated from the island of Tabarka in search for corals. On their way back to the hometown Pegli, the fishers discovered a plenty of coral colonies in the Sardinian west coast. After receiving the permission of the king Charles Emmanuel III, they have settled down on the uninhabited island. The town still nowadays maintains a strong connection with the Ligurese origin. As a matter of fact, the inhabitants still speak the Ligurese version of the dialect called tabarchino, which is taught also in Carloforte’s schools.

Source of the picture https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/places/south/carloforte

Nowadays, the island of San Pietro is inhabited by about six thousand people and is a popular tourist destination. Visitors coming to the town of Carloforte will enjoy its beautiful historical center full of interesting monuments, like the church of the Madonna dello Schiavo, San Carlo Borromeo, the remains of the first fortified citadel or the stairs of the arch of Via Solferino.

Source of the picture https://www.italianways.com/carloforte-genoa-on-the-other-side-of-the-sea/

In the surroundings of Carloforte there are numerous important natural spots and beautiful beaches, among which the most popular is the beach La Caletta. The fans of diving and snorkeling will enjoy the rich marine flora and fauna in the waters around the island. A place worth visiting are the salt pans, the Saline di Carloforte, a natural pond inhabited by various species of marine birds, among which flamingoes. Moreover, since 1980 the island hosts a center of research on raptors of the Italian association the LIPU (Lega Italiana Protezione uccelli).

Tourists visiting Carloforte between May and June should not miss the event called “Girotonno”, a festival of local cuisine with music and live cooking, which celebrates the ancient traditions of fishing tuna.

Sources

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/places/south/santantioco

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sant%27Antioco_(Italia)

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisso

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carloforte

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/places/south/carloforte

Source of the picture on top of the page https://www.sardegna.info/sud/isola-sant-antioco/

Barbagia

The territory of Sardinia is very diversified and presents different types of landscape. Whereas most people associate the island with the emerald sea and sandy beaches, the internal part of Sardinia is full of picturesque hills and mountains, which hide fascinating towns, traditions and history. Extended in the area of about 1.300 square kilometers, the region of Barbagia located alongside the massive of Gennargentu mountains, represents an important stop on the tourist’s itinerary which will open in front of the visitors a completely different and marvelous identity of the island.

History of Barbagia

The region of Barbagia is inhabited by about 120 thousand people whereas the main city of the region is Nuoro. The name of the region dates back to the times of the ancient Romans, who used to call the mountainous central-east part of the island Barbaria. As a matter of fact, for many centuries the hardly reachable area of the mountains Gennargentu served the indigenous population as a shelter during the invasions of foreign civilizations, like the Carthaginians or the Romans. However, the area has been populated long before then, with the first traces of the human presence dating back to 14.000-12.000 BC. The territory was also inhabited by the nuragics, an ancient endemic Sardinian civilization, with the nuragic village of Tiscali being the best-known remain of their times. Over the centuries of various invasions, the region remained independent from the foreign influences, thanks to the hostile character of its inhabitants. After the unification of Italy, the region saw the development of banditism.

Source of the picture https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/explore/nuragic-village-tiscali

Culture and traditions of Barbagia

Isolation of the mountainous terrains and strong identity of the inhabitants allowed the development of various unique traditions. In fact, Barbagia is the region with some of the most famous carnival cities in Sardinia. The town of Mamoiada hosts every year the famous mamuthones and issohadores dance, whereas in the town of Ottana the main part of the carnival celebrations is the parade of Sos Boes and Sos Merdules. An important cultural heritage of the area, which has been included on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List, is the old pastoral singing form called canto a tenore. At times when the shepherds were leaving their homes for long months to pasture the sheep and goats on the hills of Barbagia, they used to gather together and perform this polyphonic song with four different voices – bassu, contra, boche and mesu boche.

Source of the picture https://www.italian-traditions.com/mamuthones-traditions-of-sardinia/

Visiting Barbagia

Barbagia is a wonderful region which will be particularly beloved by the fans of mountains and walking tours, who will enjoy the excursion paths and breathtaking panoramas. The mountain range Supramonte will enchant the tourists with the white rocks, whereas in the territory of Oliena everyone can discover the beauty of su Gologone springs. The visitors should not miss Su Gorroppu, the deepest canyon in Europe. Barbagia is also full of little ancient towns, hidden between the mountains, which over the centuries maintained their original aspect. The tourists will discover there the local life and will fell in love with the magical ancient streets and architecture.

In Barbagia there are numerous interesting museums which will introduce the visitors to the local traditions and culture, among which the Museum of Sardinian Life and Popular Traditions in Nuoro. Those who would like to feel the Sardinian carnival for the whole year should see the Museo delle Maschere Mediterranee in Mamoiada, whereas the town of Bitti offers to the visitors the Museum of the Canto a Tenore. The fans of modern art should not miss the town of Orgosolo, full of beautiful murales. Moreover, Barbagia is also famous for the Cannonau wines, especially the wine Nepente produced in Oliena.

Sources

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/places/centre/barbagia

http://www.italia.it/en/travel-ideas/nature-and-wildlife/traveling-barbagia.html

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbagia

https://www.sardegnaeventi24.it/itinerari/la-storia-della-barbagia-e-del-supramonte/

Source of the picture on top of the page

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/it/luoghi/centro/barbagia

Tavolara and Molara

On the north-eastern coast of Sardinia, on the south from the Costa Smeralda, there is a wonderful protected area called “Tavolara Marine Protected Area – Punta Coda Cavallo”, established by the Italian government in 1997. The area, which extends on about 15,000 hectares of land and sea, includes also three islands of particular beauty: Tavolara, Molara and the islet of Molarotto. The islands of granite origin and original shape, represent an important habitat of various flora and fauna species, among which numerous marine birds. The surroundings of the islands are very popular among the fans of diving and snorkeling, attracted by the rich marine environment and amazing waters. In 2007, the area has been also recognized as the SPAMI, Specially Protected Area of Mediterrean Importance.

Tavolara, the smallest kingdom of the world

The five-kilometer-long and 1.5-kilometer-wide island of Tavolara is known as the smallest kingdom in the world. According to a legend, in 1836 the king Charles Albert of Sardinia, who was hunting in the area, decided to visit the unknown island. While introducing himself to Giuseppe Bertoleoni, the inhabitant of the island, Giuseppe, who probably did not believe that the person in front of him was the real king, replied that he was the king of Tavolara. According to the family, Charles Albert of Sardinia allowed the independence of the island; however, no document attesting this fact, apart from the testimony of the family, has been conserved.

Source of the picture https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/explore/tavolara

On the island of Tavolara there is also a NATO base, whereas in the summer the island hosts an important film festival “Una notte in Italia”. The prolonged beach called Spalmatore di Terra, located on the east of the island, is a popular tourist spot.

The island of Molara

Molara is a little island with a surface of about 3.4 square kilometers, high 158 meters above the sea level. The name of the islet comes from the Italian noun mola, which means grinder, and refers to its shape. Molara, which nowadays is a private propriety and cannot be visited by tourists, can be admired from the boat. It is covered by typical Mediterranean flora and inhabited by wild goats, cows and various species of marine birds. In the northwestern part of the island there are the remains of a medieval church and traces of a medieval town. An interesting geological formation on the island is the so-called “dinosaur rock”, a natural sculpture formed by erosion and winds which resembles a dinosaur.

Sources

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tavolara

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/en/explore/tavolara

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isola_Molara

Costa Smeralda, the emerald coast

Located on the northeast of Sardinia between the Gulf of Arzachena and Cugnana, Costa Smeralda is one of the best-known tourist destinations on the island. The 55 kilometers of wonderful coast with emerald sea, breathtaking nature as well as luxurious holiday attractions and infrastructure, are the favourite holiday destination of numerous VIP tourists from different parts of the world. A holiday dreamland which started from an enchantment and an idea of one person, who had a dream of building a tourist paradise on a paradise Sardinian coast. Visited by cinema stars, famous singers, politicians and businessmen, over the years Costa Smeralda became the symbol of luxurious high-level holidays and the Italian dolce vita.

History of Costa Smeralda

Before Costa Smeralda became a luxurious tourism destination, the territory was known as Monti di Mola and was inhabited by poor Sardinian farmers. The turn of events started in the fifties, when John Duncan Miller, a banker from London arrived to Cala di Volpe during a yacht trip and fell in love with the area. After returning to England, Miller convinced a group of acquaintances to invest and to create there a tourist resort. In 1961, the five investors: the prince Aga Khan, Giuseppe Mentasti, Patrick Guinness, René Podbielski and John Duncan signed the letter of intent, and on 14 March 1962 founded the Consortium Costa Smeralda, which gave the beginning to the famous touristic area.

Source of the picture http://www.sardegnadigitallibrary.it/mmt/1024/235331.jpg

In order to plan the constructions, the investors involved the best architects, among whom Michele Busiri Vici, Luigi Vietti or Jacques Couelle. Their intention was to reflect the original architecture of the region and minimize the impact on the natural environment. The buildings, small, white, of a particular shape, were erected with local materials and conserve the original character of the eastern Sardinian coast.

Costa Smeralda nowadays

Costa Smeralda offers to the visitors a lot of luxurious tourist attractions and breathtaking natural spots. High-class hotels, villas, restaurants, bars, night clubs, elegant boutiques are surrounded by amazing nature and landscapes. The heart of Costa Smeralda is Porto Cervo. Called also Saint-Tropez of Italy, Porto Cervo is visited yearly by numerous VIPs, who enjoy the attractions of the town as well as a huge port adapted for the most luxurious yachts and boats. Another well-known spot of Costa Smeralda is Cala di Volpe, a natural port of great beauty, which served also as a cinematographic set for some scenes of the movie “The spy who loved me”, the tenth film about the adventures of James Bond. Other interesting areas of Costa Smeralda are Capriccioli, Pantogia, Grande Pevero or Liscia di Vacca. Since 1967, the marina of Porto Cervo has been the headquarter of a yacht club, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, founded by the prince Aga Khan, which hosts various international events. Costa Smeralda is easily reachable thanks to the presence of the airport, Olbia-Costa Smeralda, located three kilometers from the center of Olbia. In the area of the coast, there is also a Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute, an institute which conducts research on these marine mammals.

Sources

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_Smeralda

https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/it/luoghi/nord-est/costa-smeralda

https://www.realestate-costasmeralda.com/la-storia/

Source of the picture on top of the page

https://www.unionesarda.it/articolo/cronaca/2017/02/02/alberghiero_da_tutta_la_sardegna_ad_arzachena_per_sognare_un_futu-68-566733.html