Great beauty travels on the Green train

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta


Wednesday, December 6th, 2023


Great beauty travels on the Green train

On the tracks of the historic Sardinian railways time passes by slowly. Fairy-tale landscapes flow past the windows, in a unique experience that offers the perfect introduction to the most intimate and profound aspects of the island.

“At the end of a long climb, we reach a station after a stretch of solitude. Each time, it seems that nothing lies ahead, nothing is inhabited. And every time, we pull into a station.” This is the poetic description, aboard the locomotive that is today the Trenino Verde (Green Train) of Sea and Sardinia, the project dedicated by David Herbert Lawrence on his 1921 voyage to Sardinia. Following in his footsteps a century later, travellers from all over the world are attracted to this unique railway line, derived from the ‘old components’, designed and constructed between the late 19th and early-20th centuries. An Italian excellence, a unique experience comprised of four trails totalling 437 kilometres, with three sections having been operating non-stop for 130 years, including engineering and architectural works, such as bridges and tunnels. The lines, never abandoned, have been preserved and protected, connecting the coasts and hinterland, integrating such with excursions to the lakes by boat, trekking, cycling and horse riding. You can hop on the on any of the seasonal calendar days or hire it out for a group excursion – thanks to the initiative Su Trenu Antigu, aimed at enthusiasts, schools and tour operators, for an exclusive railway line!

At a leisurely pace, the locomotive glides smoothly along the rails, in the midst of lush forests, ‘choo-chooing’ along between corridors of rocks, olive groves and mastic trees, climbing with much effort to the peaks of reliefs. The sun illuminates the wooden details, the window frames glimmering, framed with damask curtains. In the early 20th century, social gatherings on wheels moved like those of elegant and distinguished society. Within, the luxury is from another era – red velvet lounges run along a corridor lit by yellow-tone ceiling lights. The on-board excursions will titillate all of the senses through the landscapes, scents and silences. There is Mandas, a medieval village in Trexenta with a glorious past, today an important cultural hub, with trains heading in two directions. The first and historical line originally reached Sorgono. Today, it crosses the Sarcidano sub-region, passing the Giara di Serri, a town famed for its Santuario Nuragico di Santa Vittoria, the shores of Lago San Sebastiano and the hills of Isili, the ‘copper town’. After having passed through lush the countryside of Nurallao, it rises up to Laconi, a village famous for Sant’Ignazio, for its castle and Marquis garden Aymerich and for its menhirs, safeguarded in the Menhir Museum – the Museo della Statuaria Preistorica Sarda. Today, it is the end of the line, completing the pathway that crosses the historic region of Barbagia di Belvì and Mandrolisai, rising up almost 900 metres.

The second Mandas line reaches Sadali, crossing much of Sarcidano and the Barbagia di Seulo historical region. On the way, you will see the villages of OrroliNurriVillanova Tulo and the hamlets of Palarana and Betilli, flanking the Lago di Flumendosa, crossed by boats in Mississippi style. A resplendent landscape of water and Nuragic structures, it is dominated by karst phenomena, such as the Grotta Is Janas, waterfalls like su Stampu de su Turrunu, and prehistoric monuments like the Nuraghe Arrubiu. Prior to the final station of Sadali-Seulo, pass by Esterzili, a mural town at 700 metres above sea level, famous for the Nuragic Temple Domu de Orgia and a bronze tablet with Roman inscriptions. From June to early September, the train toots along each weekend, also travelling the Ogliastra route. The Eastern course departs from the port of Arbatax, in the beautiful tourist resort of Tortolì. Stops along the way include the high-up stations of IlbonoElini, Arzana, Lanusei and Villagrande Strisaili, passing through enchanting panoramas like the forests of Santa Barbara and Selene. The terminus is in the depths of Ogliastra, in Gairo Sant’Elena, the town that has lived twice, with the present one having been built in the mid-20th century further upstream, following a flood that destroyed the old Gairo that is presently a ghost town.

Granite landscapes modelled by the wind and a stretch of wild olive trees, cork oaks and vineyards of vermentino vines as far as the eye can see. This is the quaint and profound Gallura traversed by train. The journey commences in Tempio, on the slopes of Monte Limbara, a gracious town rich in springs and home to the island’s most famous allegorical Carnival. The spectacle of nature change colour continuously along the journey. The locomotive stops in villages overlooking the Lago di Liscia, festooned with tourist boats. The locomotive stops in villages overlooking the Lago di Liscia, festooned with tourist boats. The train tracks run just a short distance from the coast, the line crossing the valley of Calangianus, capital of cork, then Nuchis and Luras, a town of prehistoric dolmen and thousand-year-old olive trees, including the ‘patriarch’ of Europe. From the Sant’Antonio di Gallura station, you will glimpse the geometric Arzachena countryside, its landscape threaded with vineyards. The old village station hosts a small museum. Looking out of the azure window of the terminus, Palau, famous for its beaches, military forts, the Roccia dell’Orso and the ‘gateway’ to the La Maddalena Archipelago National Park. The north-western line currently departs from Santa Maria di Corte, in the territory of Sindia, a flourishing town during medieval times built around a Benedictine monastery. After crossing the Planargia sub-region, the train reaches Bosa Marina, a coastal area in one of the most enchanting Sardinian villages, Bosa, its multicoloured houses rising up a hill dominated by the Castello di Serravalle, reflected on the Temo river. Along the way, you’ll discover FlussioTinnuraTresnuraghes and Modolo, famous for the malvasia grape variety, asphodel baskets and precious fabrics.

Sardegna Turismo
 
 
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The tradition is looking to the future

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta


Wednesday, December 6th, 2023


The tradition is looking to the future

The starting point is curiosity: observing them, listening to them, mothers and grandmothers carefully choosing the ingredients, showing off their skills and performing almost ritual gestures, while patiently explaining the various steps in just a few words. Then comes the passion, the tenacity, the desire to experiment, starting by repeating what was learned and adding just the right amount of imagination. Sardinian traditional cuisine, with its distinctive local qualities providing unique sensations and flavours, takes on a new character in the third millennium: that given by the new generation of brave and talented chefs.

There are only two binding principles, namely respect for the patrimony of knowledge handed down from generation to generation and the local products. Solid, healthy foundations that have helped put several areas of Sardinia in the blue zone, the land of lively, active centenarians. As well as the inescapable typical restaurants, trattorias and farmhouses – foundations of the ‘historical’ dishes of local cuisine – there are the chefs, more or less young ones, often with a wealth of prestigious experience in kitchen teams throughout the world. Their challenge? Returning home to honour Sardinia in the world of excellent food, rethinking the culinary tradition of a unique land.

Sustainability, local products – grown in their own vegetable gardens or supplied by producers just around the corner -, rediscovering forgotten ingredients, particularly cereals, legumes and wild herbs, innovative cooking techniques, the evolution of forms and textures – such as tartare and finger food -, the influence of exotic cultures: these are the elements that characterise the nouvelle vague of Sardinian cuisine. It is a cuisine in which the concept of the customer has evolved, becoming no longer just a consumer of delicious dishes, but a guest pampered and accompanied through an experience that can excite and titillate all the senses.

The results? Every year, Sardinian restaurants are increasingly recognised, mentioned and included in the most prestigious international culinary guides, such as the Michelin Guide and the Gambero Rosso, and in specialised magazine articles all over the world. Such goals are also achieved by pizzerias, pastry shops, bakeries and ice cream parlours. Research and innovation also characterise the wineries, with the rediscovery of almost forgotten vines and the enhancement of wine varieties of the past, the production of liqueurs and spirits made from spontaneous herbs and fruits and the increasing number of craft breweries. Eating and drinking well go hand in hand and always find the right combinations and the best and sometimes daring ways of complimenting each other, resulting in unforgettable sensations to experience in every corner of the island.

Sardegna Turismo
 
 
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The Stonehenge of the Mediterranean

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta


Wednesday, December 6th, 2023


The Stonehenge of the Mediterranean

Sardinia has an age-old story, told by the archaeological evidence dotted throughout the territory. The tangible signs of the prehistoric island are endless: menhir, dolmen, domus de Janas, sacred wells, tombs of the giants and countless Nuraghe complexes. Enormous stones that have been guarding secrets for four thousand years. Buildings, often intact, of the first civilizations ever to exist in Europe, the only sites of their kind in the world, a patrimony to be discovered and experienced: this is the Stonehenge of the Mediterranean.

Eyes to admire and a soul to understand. It is the immediate feeling when faced with the impressive ruins of prehistoric Sardinia. Megalithic monuments, stones that recount stories and protagonists, identifying populations and beliefs. Visiting the island means reliving the same itineraries, once again hearing the sounds of the stones telling a distant story. Evocative places steeped in charm, to be visited on foot or on two wheels, in contact with nature and history.

A day in Sardinia is like flipping through hundreds of pages of a book on archaeology: you will come across some of the most important sites and complexes in the world. Deserving, more than any other, of the title of Sardinian Stonehenge, is the area of Pranu Mutteduthe Perdas Fittas are the most obvious traces of the Neolithic civilization. From the Mediterranean scrub, visitors will see numerous blocks of Megalithic buildings. Legends and fairy tales that get lost over time, like those of the Janas of Barbagia, accompany travellers on their visit to the prehistoric ruins.

Seven thousand stone towers, and many others could still be uncovered. To be exact, one every three square kilometres. The nuraghi, symbols of the Island, were probably the centre of social life of a civilization that emerged at the beginning of the Bronze Age (in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC) and lasted until the Iron Age (9th century BC) and stands out compared to all the Mediterranean cultures. In some areas, as in the Valle dei Nuraghi (in Logudoro) there are thirty of them, just a few hundred metres from each other. That of Barumini, Su Nuraxi, has been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sardegna Turismo
 
 
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Shapes and colours of the northern romanesque tradition

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta


Wednesday, December 6th, 2023


Shapes and colours of the northern romanesque tradition

A fascinating discovery tour of the loveliest and most important Christian temples of north-western Sardinia built in the late XI and early XII centuries.

1 – Santissima Trinità di Saccargia, Codrongianos

The beauty of the church lies in the spectacular two-tone treatment of the outer parament, a succession of alternating beige limestone and dark basalt blocks. Sardinia’s most renowned Romanesque structure has been the property of Camaldolese monks since 1112. It boasts a valuable fresco on its central apse.

2 – Nostra Signora del Regno, Ardara

On the eastern slope of Montesanto, the church is graced with elegant dark basalt and was the site of the swearing in of the reigning Torres clan in the era of the Giudicati, IX-XV centuries. The altar was consecrated in 1107, as attested by an inscription dating to the XIII century. The structure of the building is typically Romanesque. Worth seeing is the celebrated twelve metre high Ardara retablo, Sardinia’s largest XVI century polyptych. The cylindrical early XVII century pilasters decorated with portrayals of apostles and saints are also very interesting.

3 – Sant’Antioco di Bisarcio, Ozieri

The countryside surrounding Ozieri is home to the Majestic church of Sant’Antioco di Bisarcio, built before 1090 with lava stone. The original structure burned down in the late XI century and its reconstruction dates to the first half of the XII century. Worth noting on the exterior are the lovely sculpted decorations of the ground floor arcade of the portico, topped with a cross vault ceiling, and the apse with lozenge ornaments.

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Markets, cribs and delights, here is Christmas in Sardinia!

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta


Tuesday, December 5th, 2023


Markets, cribs and delights, here is Christmas in Sardinia!

Sparkling artistic decorations, villages of colorful stalls, scents and flavors of traditional sweets, classic Christmas symphonies. It is the enveloping atmosphere that characterizes many historic towns and villages in Sardinia at Christmas. Craft houses, gastronomic specialties, colors and melodies enliven, in the Sulcis-Iglesiente, the markets of Iglesias, Domusnovas and Masainas, the Christmas village in Sant’Antioco and that of Santa Claus in Tratalias, in which the ancient medieval houses become the laboratories of the elves. In Oristano you will find events and markets in Uras, in Narbolia, in Terralba with the ninth edition of ‘The streets of Christmas’ and in Piazza Othoca in Santa Giusta, animated by ‘Christmas in the Lagoon’. While, in Oristano the wooden houses of the market are housed in Piazza Roma. The Christmas atmosphere in the Middle Campidano is breathed in Senorbì, where shine the tens of thousands of lights of the ‘Christmas house’, in Guspini and Serramanna, which proposes the Passilladas de Paschixedda.  Almost homonymous is the event of Esterzili, in the Barbagia of Seoul: Donus de Paschixedda is the traditional market in the ‘village of cribs’. Snow contributes to the atmosphere in Barbagia, with events in Dorgali, Nuoro and Sarule.

Read more on Sardegna Turismo: https://www.sardegnaturismo.it/it/mercatini-presepi-e-delizie-ecco-il-natale-sardegna

Thence we came forth to see again the stars

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta


Thursday, August 17th, 2023


Thence we came forth to see again the stars

With few unnatural light sources and clean air, the sky above Sardinia is free from environmental and light pollution, free to offer its best and showcase, in the dark of night, the moon and constellations, planets and meteors. It will be a time of vast, open night skies, an immense planetarium where you can see the first stars appearing at dusk, solitary and full of energy, or in the company of the ‘supermoons’ , full at their maximum perigee, the closest point to Earth. You can see the most distant constellations and galaxies and in all seasons there will be swarms of shooting stars, the most beautiful in August, which create romantic nights to spend with your gaze turned upwards. One thing that never fails is the Milky Way, which you can admire from the island’s solitary open-air observatories, a flood of astral light that fills the heart after a dark winter.

In the ancient world, the stars were seen as powerful and primordial manifestations of the divine. They were marvelled at by the prehistoric peoples in Sardinia who lived in symbiosis with the sky and built thousands of megalithic monuments in harmony with the movement of the stars: domus de Janasmenhirsacred wells, towers and Nuragic tombs. The ‘people of the stars’ are on their way to these same magnetic places, packing a beach towel for romantic night-time bathing, a sleeping bag and a telescope in their rucksacks. At dusk, in small groups, they walk along the star hiking trails through places of a rare and wild beauty, made even more beautiful by the evening light, the silence broken only by the sounds of nature and the scents of helichrysum, myrtle and thyme, which are more intense at night. Along the way, they may come across a nuraghe, a Giants’ tomb, a Romanesque church, an old stone and reed hut used by shepherds, scenes set against a backdrop of starry skies that remain etched in their memory and captured in photographs. Late in the evening, tacchi, plateaus, cliffs and sheer headlands are the extraordinary stargazers offered by Mother Nature.

And not just with the naked eye, there is a technological giant overlooking the San Basilio plain to allow you to look at the heavens. It is a highly sophisticated radio telescope, 70 metres high and 64 metres wide, with astonishing capabilities, picking up sounds and lights from distant worlds. Just catching a glimpse of it from the road passing by, one is intrigued and amazed. You can book a visit, accompanied by international researchers working there. If, on the other hand, you want to look at the sky on special occasions with instruments more powerful than your eyes and telescopes, you can book a visit to one of the two astronomical observatories in Ogliastra, one on the Tacchi di Ulassai, the other in the Selene forest in Lanusei. Or, if you are simply curious about the Universe, you can take a fun astronomical walk through Cagliari‘s Planetarium, the first steps towards becoming a passionate astronomer.

Sardegna Turismo

 
 
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The hidden world of caves

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta


Thursday, August 17th, 2023


The hidden world of caves

They guard masterpieces of nature, hide secrets, preserve the memory of legendary inhabitants. They still host some of them in their meanders and sometimes they talk. Like sa Oche, ‘the voice’, that howls, ringing out in the valley of Lanaitto in Oliena, generated by the air currents moving in the ‘twin’ cave of su Bentu. A short distance away, the words of Grazia Deledda, from her novel ‘L’edera’ (The Ivy) and from nineteenth-century tales can be heard, halfway between reality and legend, in the setting of the Corbeddu Cave. It was the home of a ‘gentleman bandit’, from whom it got its name and who transformed it into a tribunal of his own. Some of the oldest human remains ever found on a Mediterranean island come from here. Ispinigoli, in Dorgali, and its 38-metre high ‘column’ are also surrounded by original stories. Who knows if the 60-metre-deep hole at the bottom of the cave was really used for human sacrifices, to the point of earning itself the name of ‘abyss of the virgins’. In this area, the passage down from the mountains to the sea is short and there are also legends linked to the sightings of the monk seal: whether or not they still frequent the Gulf of Orosei is a mystery, but they undoubtedly lived around Cala Gonone, in the Grotte del Bue Marino (Sea Oxen Grottoes), named after them. The ‘room of the beaches’ was a safe haven for giving birth and weaning their pups. The Neolithic peoples also gathered here, in the same ‘rooms’, just above the level of the water, where the Cala Gonone Jazz concerts have been held every summer for decades.

Silence reigns at Ulassai, in the impressive rooms of the spectacular Cave of su Marmuri, one of nature’s true masterpieces. On the subject of underground wonders, the Supramonte of Baunei is no exception: the Grotta del Fico cave, where a fig plant hanging from the cliff overlooking the sea welcomes you at the entrance, along with some little goats climbing on the rocks. Then there is the cove of Cala Sisine, behind which the local shepherds discovered another cavity that they baptised su meraculu, the Miracle cave, perhaps because of the scintillating play of light or the endless series of natural sculptures there. The work of man is also evident there, with graffiti dating back to the Palaeolithic age in the Grotta Verde at Alghero, particularly anthropomorphic depiction, which is the most ancient discovered in Sardinia. The cavity ‘pierces’ the cliffs of Capo Caccia, a coastal part of the Porto Conte park and a place where mythology and sea blend together: the Grotte di Nettuno (Neptune’s caves) demonstrate this and the enchanting little lake is part of the sea god’s realm. The same goes for the colourful ‘gardens’ of gorgonians and corals in the cave of Nereo, hidden tens of metres down beneath the surface of the water and composed of numerous enchanting underwater rooms, dedicated to his daughters, the Nereids.

The ruins of a Roman road bear witness to the fact that the valley of Fluminimaggiore, where the temple of Antas stands – first Punic, then Roman – was directly connected to the ‘archaeological room’ of su Mannau and it is no coincidence that there are prehistoric and Nuragic ruins in the same valley. Along the way, you will travel through thousands of years of history until you get to the cave, a spectacular show of nature, with its ponds of crystal-clear water and all kinds of stalactites and stalagmites, where the pre-Nuragic people, in the light of dim oil lamps, performed their rituals. Numerous ‘fractures’ in the rock on the Island were the place of ancient cults, also in the countryside of Morgongiori, where a spectacular staircase carved in the basalt by the Nuragic people opens up at the bottom of a crevice, with a body of water at its base. The name refers to the ritual function: sa Scab’e Cresia, the church staircase. The rocky cavities were also the realm of the Janas, who were part fairy and part witch. Their domus, where they dedicated their time to household chores, especially loom weaving, are scattered all over the island. Three of them chose to live among the enchanted landscapes of Sadali, in a cave that gets its name from them: is Janas. They are still there, after being turned into stone as a divine punishment, now three imposing stalagmites, along with columns, draperies and statues, which look like furniture and kitchen utensils, under a ceiling of white stalactites.

Inside is Zuddas, white is again the unmistakable feature: the eccentric thread-like formations branch in every direction like white filaments, embroidering the walls of the main room, along with ‘cannulae’ (tube-like elements) and ‘rock flowers’. We are in Santadi, in the Sulcis-Iglesiente area, land of the mining era, where it is easy to come across spectacular caves and their distinctive features. At Domusnovas, in the fairy-tale woods of Marganai, a cavern opens upthe tunnel of San Giovanni: it is the longest ‘carriageable’ cave in the world and gets its name from the fact that, during the Middle Ages, it contained a chapel dedicated to the saint. A spiritual element is also linked to a nearby cave, not far from Iglesias: in 1952, a few miners, while digging a tunnel, found themselves before a celestial vision, leading them to link the cavern to a cathedral and dedicate it to their patron saint, Santa Barbara. It is the oldest cave in Italy and its walls are covered with rare baryte crystals. The path leading to it winds through the part of the mine where the digging took place: there is a first section on the mining train, then a lift and lastly a spiral staircase. No ‘artificial’ interventions have taken place in the cave, which is intact and protected, and is a work of art to be carefully preserved.

Sardegna Turismo
 
 
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Summer 2023, to the sound of music

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta


Wednesday, August 16th, 2023


Summer 2023, to the sound of music

Artists of international standing and avant-garde musicians, experimentation and refined research, exploration of new sounds and exchanges between genres and arts. Concerts and jam sessions until September, in places with “endless spaces and superhuman silences” that apparently have nothing to do with the theatres. Only until the evening though, when good music takes possession of the infinite natural and historical stages. Coves protected by pink granite and red porphyry, enchanting sea caves with perfect acoustics, amphitheatre-shaped beaches, expanses of countryside with thousand-year-old olive trees and Vermentino vineyards, historic squares and promenades of towns and villages, museums and places of remembrance, at the foot of nuraghi and in ancient Punic cities.

The sea is bluer and bluer

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta


Tuesday, August 8th, 2023


The sea is bluer and bluer

So many corners of paradise, which are wild and difficult to reach, and cannot be classified, not because of their limitless beauty, but literally because they cannot ensure, because of their very nature, the requirements and services asked for by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Sardinia’s blue flag beaches make it unmistakeably, undeniably, the island of fabulously clean and crystal-clear seas and put it right at the top of everybody’s summer holiday options. But it also pays attention above all to sustainability and environmental protection, services and safety, education and information on respecting coasts which are unpolluted for long sections. The recognition given by the FEE, which comes after a very strictly controlled selection process, has been awarded to 45 Sardinian beaches, located across fifteen municipalities. From north to south, it is a celebration of the entire Sardinian coastline.

Including the three splendid beaches at Trinità d’Agultu, Cala Sarraina, La Marinedda and Spiaggia Lunga, about half Sardinia’s beaches which fly the blue flag are in Gallura. On the extreme northern tip of the island there is a stretch of sea that is worthy of a magazine cover, the long coast of the seaside municipality of Santa Teresa Gallura boasting five beaches that have won the award year after year: Rena Bianca, a jewel of a town, the beautiful Zia Culumba and two beaches at Capo TestaRena Ponente, on the ‘neck’ of the promontory, La Taltana-Santa Reparata in the south-western part of the ‘head’ and Conca Verde. Heading north-east, we find the two Blue Flag beaches at another famous tourist destination, Palau. The flags wave in the Isolotto beach and in Palau Vecchio, close to the picturesque Trenino Verde stationOpposite the national park of the Maddalena archipelago stands out as a paradise of sustainable environment and biodiversity. In the two big islands of the archipelago, eight beaches have received the award from the FEE: Bassa TrinitaMonti da Rena, Nido d’Aquila, Spalmatore, Porto Lungo and Punta Tegge at La Maddalena, Due Mari and the Relitto beach at CapreraAglientu, with the Vignola Mare beach, and Budoni also hold high the flags they won last year.

There are two selection processes behind the award of the Blue Flag, one by an international jury, another from a national committee, made up of the Environment, Culture and Tourism Ministries, harbour authorities, ISPRA, ANCI and the relevant institutions. There are four years of analysis and comparisons before the choice is made. It isn’t a definitive one: winning the recognition is hard work, keeping it over time is even more difficult. They have managed to achieve that in the western part of the Gallura as well, along the Gulf of the Asinara. Clear sea stretches out here along the magnificent coast of Badesi: in 2023, the blue flag is also flying at Li MindiLi JunchiLu Poltu Biancu and the Baia delle Mimose (especially in the Pirotto Li Frati section). We are at the border with the Anglona, where one of the most beautiful villages in Italy stands out, Castelsardo: here the flag flies over the Stella Maris and Ampurias beaches. Heading to the north-west of the island, in the centre of the Gulf of Asinara, the symbol of environmental quality and protection is present in as many as two different locations at Marina di Sorso. Staying in the Sassarese, indeed even in the region of Sassari, but on the western side, there are a further two award-winning beaches: Porto Ferro and Porto Palmas, to the north of the Porto Conte Regional Park (Alghero).

The assessment of water quality by the FEE, constantly monitored by continuous sampling, is more stringent that the demands of national regulations. Once the healthiness of the sea has been assessed, the checks on purification come into play, as well as recycling, the presence of green spaces and ones for people on foot, cycle paths and street furniture, as well as accessibility services. The large and welcoming Torregrande di Oristano in the middle of the western coast has all these characteristics, as well as two of the deep southwest beaches of Sant’AntiocoMaladroxia and Coaquaddus. In the forefront of the deep south of Sardinia is Quartu sant’Elena, with the celebrated Mari Pintau, meaning ‘painted sea’, a name that is a prelude to the show that it offers. To the east, in Ogliastra, as well as Torre di Barì in Bari Sardo, there are as many as seven coastal districts in Tortolì that take centre stage with the blue flag: the huge and ‘comfortable’ Lido di Orrì, the charming Cea, the beautiful Porto Frailis and also San Gimiliano, Muxì, Cala Foxilloni and Ponente.

Sardegna Turismo
 
 
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Sardinia, a beautiful story!

YiS Team: Annalisa Bucci


Tuesday, July 18th, 2023


Sardinia, a beautiful story!

Sea-view nuraghi, ancient towns and coastal towers tell a tale just a stone’s throw from the most beautiful beaches of the ancient Mediterranean.

Sardinia is a cradle surrounded by the sea where, eight thousand years ago, a mysterious and original civilisation began, open to innovations and cultural influences, brought by sea from one side of the ancient Mediterranean to the other. The Sardinians built nuraghi with boat moorings on the coast, joined together to monitor the sea and connected to those built inland. The island’s location is strategic: it is a lively crossroads on the trade routes frequented by seafaring peoples, including the advanced and peaceful Phoenicians who made their base in Sardinia. They founded what were to be the most beautiful, cultured and rich cities of their time, Sulci, Bithia, Nora, Tharros and Karaly. Goods, ideas and knowledge moved freely between the Phoenician cities and the Nuragic villages until the imperialist peoples thirsting for new domains landed.

First came the Carthaginians, then the Romans, and the Phoenician cities fell. The Sardinians fought back heroically, like in the ‘lost city’ of Cornus, which was defended against the Romans to the last breath. For this it was punished, destroyed and rebuilt. The most poignant of sunsets over the sea originates from its ruins, which overlook the Gulf of Cuglieri and the cliffs of Santa Caterina di Pittinurri. The Romans expanded and built their city overlooking AsinaraTurris Libisonis emerged beautiful and imperious, now the centre of Porto Torres. This is an area of Sardinia where the early Sardinian and Nuragic civilisation was best preserved. Here, a short distance from the sea, stands one of the oldest and most unusual monuments of European culture, the ziggurat of Monte d’Accoddi. The Romans laid paved roads to better rule the territory and to connect the conquered cities. One joined Nora to Bithia on the coastline, and today it is a scenic hike through untouched landscapes, similar to when it was travelled in ancient times.

What remains of Sulci is the poignant hill of the tophet on the sea of Sant’Antioco. In the heart of Cagliari is Tuvixeddu, the largest Punic necropolis in the Mediterranean facing the Golfo degli Angeli (‘Gulf of Angels’). The cities of Tharros and Nora emerge from the sea at Cabras and Pula, and it is no small thrill to behold them as you swim or paddle off their beaches. In Bithia, under the spell of Chia, the sea has first carried away and recently returned the remains of a tophet and a Punic temple on the islet of su Cardulinu, a Nuragic settlement and a Phoenician necropolis under the tower of Chia, and the Roman temple of the god Bes in the wetlands surrounding the coast.
And the nuraghi on the sea? In some cases, Spanish coastal towers have taken their place, but you can still find many of them suspended between the green of the bush and the blue of the sea and sky. From the beaches you can visit the Mannu in Dorgali, the Diana in Quartu Sant’Elena, s’Ortali ‘su monti in Tortolì, Aleri in Tertenia, Sellersu in Barisardo, and the Antigori in Sarroch. From these coastal lookouts you will seem to hear the voice of the mare nostrum of ancient history.

Sardegna Turismo

 
 
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