Contact Us !

( * )
( * )
( * )
( * )

Cagliari and Sardinia

Sardinia is way off most tourist itineraries of Italy: D.H. Lawrence found it exotically different when he passed through here in 1921: "lost", as he put it, "between Europe and Africa and belonging to nowhere".

 

Relatively free of large cities or heavy industry, Sardinian beaches are indeed some of the cleanest in Italy and are on the whole uncrowded, except perhaps for peak season, when ferries bring in a steady stream of sun-worshippers from what the islanders call "il continente", or mainland Italy. But Sardinia offers plenty besides sun and sea, the more so if you are prepared to penetrate into its lesser-known interior.

Although not known for its cultural riches, the island holds some surprises, not least the remains of the various civilisations that passed through here. Its central Mediterranean position ensured that it was never left alone for long and from the Carthaginians onwards the island was ravaged by a succession of invaders, each of them leaving some imprint behind: Roman and Carthaginian ruins, Genoan fortresses, a string of lovely Pisan churches and some examples of impressive Gothic and baroque architecture. Perhaps most striking of all, however, are the remnants of Sardinia's only significant native culture, known as the nuraghic civilisation after 7000-odd nuraghi which litter the landscape. These mysterious, stone-built constructions, unique to Sardinia are fairly difficult to reach but make the effort to visit during the stay in this island; or, failing that, drop in on the museums of Cagliari or Sassari to see the lovely statuettes and domestic objects left by this culture.

Cagliari

On the whole, Sardinia's smaller centres are the most attractive, but the capital Cagliari (where as in Olbia there is a international airport) shouldn't be written off. Rising up from its port and crowned by an old centre squeezed within a protective ring of Pisan fortifications, Cagliari is less frenetic than any town of equivalent size on the mainland. It's not a urban sprawl: its centre is small and compact enough to be easily manageable on foot, offering both sophistication and charm in the raggle - taggle of narrow lanes crammed into its citadel. Its setting is enhanced by the calm lagoons (stagni) behind the city and along the airport road, the habitat for cranes, flamingos and cormorants.

 

Olbia

The largest town in Sardinia's north-eastern wedge, owes its recent phenomenal growth to the huge influx of tourists to one of the Mediterranean's loveliest stretches of coast, the Costa Smeralda, whose five-star development has transformed the economy of the entire island. There are miles of shoreline still undeveloped and a profusion of minor islands; over sixty in all, which it's possible to explore on various boat tours to the biggest islands of Maddalena and Caprera, while further west Santa Teresa di Gallura boasts some wonderful coves and beaches.