Discover Sardinia with us
The Sardinia is, from the 1984, a special statute region and it is the second widest island of the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to its strategic position and its richness of raw materials has a millenary history and it is a privileged destination inside the thick maritime commerce net. For this reason, the cultural and historic heritage attests not only the presence of different cultures, but also the influence that the most important colonial powers have exerted on it.
Three are the periods that have mostly marked the history of the Island: the Nuragic period, which beginning from the II millennium b.C. makes the village the center of the social life, it is characterized by a refined construction technique (evident in the sites of burial called “grave of the giants” or in its sites of worship, “the holy wells”), but also by the artistic technique, of which remain bronze statuette; the Giudicale period, characterized by the renaissance of the activity like agriculture and sheep farming, by a new impulse of the commerce and of the arts, particularly of the pisan romanesque architecture, and by the development of a local legal system; the period of the Sardinian Reign, instituted in 1297 to try to face the ongoing political and diplomatic crisis, from which result the construction of an efficient defensive system through coastal towers and fortresses and the foundation of the Universities of Sassari and Cagliari.
From a territorial point of view it is important to underline that the most part of the region it is mountainous or hilly. The island actually can be considered a kind of micro-continent, inside which there is an alternation of woods, valleys, almost uninhabited area, ponds, lagoons, long sandy beaches and jagged cliffs. The low and sandy seaboards are concentrated mostly in the southern and western zone and are surrounded by numerous island, among which the biggest is the island of Sant’Antioco, follow the Asinara, the island of San Pietro, the Maddalena and the Caprera.
The rocks of the Sardinia are considered the oldest of Italy and thanks to the erosion of the atmospheric agents create singular sculpture spread all over the territory, like “The bear” of Palau or “The Elephant” of Castelsardo. Also important are the grottos, more than 1500 in all, and are mainly concentrated in the area of Supramonte, in the zone of Sulcis-Iglesiente and in the promontory of Cape Caccia. The coastal grottos more famous are the ones of Nettuno and Alghero and the grotto of the Bue Marino at Cala Gonone.
Finally, the mild climate is typically mediterranean, and makes Sardinia a handy exotic oasis, which thanks to its natural, historic and cultural heritage, boasts the presence of 2 national parks, 2 regional parks, several natural reserves and 5 WWF oases. The island so offers a wide range of sport activities, like trekking, snorkeling and climbing, in addition to country festivals that mean to reaffirm their own cultural uniqueness and where it is possible to taste the variety of the sardinian cookery, based on original and simple ingredients, derived from the pastoral and marine tradition.
Olbia is the administrative centre of the province of Olbia Tempio and it is one of the most important cities of the territory thanks to the commercial and manufacturing growth of the last recent years, in addition to its natural access to the sea.
Thanks to its different discovery of artistic nature it is possible to trace back the first human settlement in the territory around 4000-3500 b.C. but it is only in the following centuries that is registered a demographic growth, attested by the several nuraghi and holy wells left and still vistable in the territory.
Since the roman occupation to nowadays, the harbor has become the most important centre of the eastern Sardinian coast and it is possible to visit numerous monuments dating from the medieval period, like the Basilica of San Simplicio, built out of the city walls and completely realized in blocks of granite, and the church of San Paolo Apostolo, located on the upper part of the historic centre of Olbia.
Olbia and Costa Smeralda
Unfortunately in the following centuries, because of a change in the maritime route towards the Spain, the presence of the malaria and of the constant ottoman incursion, the city crossed a period of decadence from which recovered only in the second half of the eighteenth century.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century date back the works for the enlargement of the harbor, the construction of the Villa Tamponi in neoclassic style, the city hall with liberty and neo-gothic forms.
Today Olbia has taken advantage of the tourist boom following the discovery of the Costa Smeralda, offering to his visitors not only a wide choice from the cultural and natural point of view, but also several proposal of entertainments: shopping in Corso Umberto and in Viale Aldo Moro, multiplex cinema, theatre, discotheques and night bars.
The Costa Smeralda is extended in the northern-eastern zone of the Sardinia, it is characterized by a crystalline sea, by the presence of splendid unblemished landscapes, by the closeness of numerous islands, among which the archipelago of Maddalena, and it covers in all 55 km of coast managed by the municipality of Arzachena and Olbia.
The territory, previously uninhabited, underwent a project of requalification in 1962, thanks to the idea of the ishmaelite prince Karim Aga Khan who founded the Consortium Costa Smeralda and it marks the beginning of the economic and tourist development of the area.
Porto Cervo can be considered the heart of the Costa Smerlada, elite tourist destination that offers a lot of docked yacht, one of the most quipped harbors of the Mediterranean.
Surroundings it develops the town, characterized by narrow streets rich of prestigious shops and houses that surround the old gallurian residences; historic symbols of Porto Cervo are the church of Stella Maris, realized by the architect Michele Busiri Vici, and the famous little square of the Chiacchiere. Finally, unmissable are the beaches of Pevero and of Liscia Ruja, the extra luxury’s hotels, the restaurants and the fashion bars.
As much renowned is Porto Rotondo situated in a natural inlet 15 km far from Olbia. The centre of the town is characterized by the little square of San Marco, built with local stones and meeting point for VIPs and wealthy tourists, the amphitheatre realized in granite, the church of San Lorenzo. Near the town are some of the most beautiful beaches of the all Costa Smeralda, like Punta Volpe, Ira and the beach Sassi, in addition to the little island of Soffi and Mortorio.
Finally, not to forget that under the control of the province of Olbia there is also the Preserved Marine Natural Area of Tavolara.
Cagliari, old administrative centre of the province of Corsica and Sardinia already during the roman period, is situated on the southern coast and overlooks the Gulf of the Angeli. Like Roma, the city has been built on seven hills, to which today correspond the relative districts: Castello, Tuvumannu, Monte Claro, Monte Urpinu, Colle di Bonaria, Colle di San Michele, Sella del Diavolo. The territory so alternates the hilly zone of the historic districts, and those plane districts, the more recently built starting from the nineteenth century.
The archaeological relics in the nuraghe Antigori, attest on one side how the city has been populated since the Neolithic, on the other side how the population that inhabited the surrounding territory were at the centre of thick cultural and commercial relations, that were made possible thanks to the presence of the harbour, already notably frequented.
The necropolis of Tuvixeddu is considered one of the biggest phoenician necropolis of the Mediterranean, and together with the one of Bonaria, shows the fast development that Cagliari underwent in the following century. There are also signs of the long roman domination not only in the amphitheatre, aimed to host the fights between gladiators and theatrical performances, but also the in the mansions built in the suburbs of the city, like, for example, the Villa of Tigellio.
Because of long foreign occupations, and therefore the relative influence that they have exerted here, Cagliari has an important architectural and cultural heritage: Castel Castro, emblem of the medieval city, up to the end of the nineteenth century the exclusive residence of the nobility; the district of Stampace populated by bourgeoisies and merchants, the one of Marina populated by fishermen and seamen, the one of Villanova populated by shepherds and peasantries.
At the end of the eighteenth century, several businessmen moved to Cagliari stimulating the passage from an ancient regime society to a capitalist type one, thanks to the starting of the industrialization process. Thus, through the involvement of the sardinian architects the urban centre was redesigned following the neoclassic and gothic taste with the construction of art nouveau buildings, like the Palazzata of Via Roma or the Palazzo Valdés.
Unmissable, a visit to the most famous church of Cagliari, among which the Basilica of San Saturnino, considered the oldest church of all Sardinia, and the Cathedral of Santa Maria, in addition to the monumental Cemetery of Bonaria, one of the most important of Europe for its illustrious “guests” and its sculptures.
However, Cagliari is first of all a seaside city and boasts splendid beaches like the one of Poetto, which extends from Sella del Diavolo to the zone of Quartu Sant’Elena, and the beach of Calamosca.
Sassari ed Alghero
Sassari is the widest municipality of the region and one of the biggest of Italy. The city is situated on upland of calcareous origin, characterized by valleys and gorges, which descends towards the gulf of the Asinara on the north-west and border with the valley of Nurra on the south-west.
The city so doesn’t overlook directly the sea, but it has developed towards the inside because of the recurring saraceninc incursions.
Sassari boasts an outstanding cultural heritage symbol of the colonization of different populations, among which genoeses, pisans, Catalans and even Austrians and piedmonteses.
Also this city, like the others of the island, is populated since the ancient times, as is testified by the famous altar of the Monte Accodi, a kind of pyramid dating from the pre-nuragic period, and the complex of Santu Antine, a nuragic mansion also called “the house of the King”, situated in the municipality of Torralba.
The historic centre of Sassari has a clear medieval mark with its tortuous streets and the baroque churches, fruit of the labour of local craftsmen, full of architectonic and artistic details. Among the most renowned the Cathedral of San Nicola, date from the beginning of the nineteenth century, it is the emblem of the fusion of different architectonic styles: the façade merge with the pisan romanesque structure, meanwhile the inside of gothic mold hosts several holy artworks.
Unmissable during the visit of the city are Piazza Italia that, surrounded by buildings dating from the nineteenth century, presents itself as the public and commercial heart of Sassari and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which divides the city in the northern part dedicated to the commerce and in the southern one where is concentrated the majority of the church.
Of remarkable naturalistic interest should remember the park of Monserrato, a green area at the south of the city, famous for the variety of its flora.
Therefore, Sassari is an ideal tourist destination not only for its cultural heritage, but also for its nearness to the famous seaside localities like Stintino and Alghero.
Alghero, called the little Barceloneta, it is the administrative centre of the Riviera of the Coral, so-called for the high quantity of excellent red coral presents in its waters. The intense fishing activity of the scuba coral picker from century has been considered really important for the city, not only from an economic point of view but also from a cultural point of view, as is testified by the presence of a coral’s branch in the crest of the city.
Alghero is one of the favourite destinations in Sardinia just for the variety of its territory: at north extends the valley of the Nurra which, proceeding towards west, gives way to the carsic system of Capo Caccia, Punta Giglio and Mount Boglia; at south, instead, extend the uplands of Villanova Monteleone and of Bosa, from which origin numerous streams. It is just thanks to the plentiful presence of water that the city manages to expand and reinforce its strategic position, remaining for century at the centre of the routes of the maritime republics.
In the surrounding territory it is possible to visit several archaeological sites: in addition to the nuragic complex of Palmavera and of Santa Imbenia, of considerable importance are the necropolis of Anghelu and the hill of Santu Pedru.
To start the walking in the historic centre of Alghero you can use the old entrance to the city constituted by the Tower of Porta Terra and follow the walls alongside which you meet the 7 towers and 3fortresses built in the fifteenth century. Going on you meet the cathedral of Santa Maria, the palaces of the algherian nobility ant the old Jewish District.
Form a natural point of view, Alghero offer a really assorted panorama, that alternates thin sand beaches to jagged coasts enveloped in thick vegetation. Because of its carsic origin the zone is full of grottos, the most renowned are: the Grottos of Nettuno, reachable from the sea and from the land through the Escala of Cabirol, which counts more than 600 steps, and their inside offer pools, stalactites and stalagmites of very different shapes; the Grotto of Ricami; the Grotto Verde, inside which are still visible some graffitos dating from the Palaeolithic.
Just for the beauty of its landscapes, finally, the territory of Alghero reveals to be the ideal site to do trekking in the preserved area of the Arca of Noè.
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