Sardinia is one of Italy’s two largest islands and it’s nothing other than magical. Its history dates back not centuries but millennia and its rich culture extends to its art, music, language, natural beauty and culinary heritage.
In this episode James Martin and I chatted about the best of Sardinia, where James has spent lots of time exploring the island for six straight summers in a row. In a recent episode we chatted about Alghero on the northwestern coast of Sardinia and some of the top sites in that part of the island.
The first thing we talked about in this episode is the best way to reach the island. If you want to get the most out of your Sardinian experience then take a ferry and bring your car along with you. You can get a ferry from almost anywhere in Italy and there are a few ferry companies that offer this service. James suggests that you get an overnight ferry so when you get on board you have your dinner right on the ferry and then first thing the following morning you drive off the ferry and begin your Sardinian experience. It doesn’t much matter where you take the ferry to as almost every port of entry is a good place to start exploring.
If you’d like to experience the best of Sardinia with a guide James highly recommends Paola Loi.
If you’re looking for a beach experience then you’ll love some of the stunning pink and green sandy beaches, some of which also happen to be good spots if you’re interested in surfing. If you’re wondering why beaches have pink and pale green sand it’s all due to the local coral.
If you’re interested in architecture and archaeology the island of Sardinia is an absolute gold mine. Don’t miss a visit to Pula, and the archaeological Park in Nora.
Barumini is a perfect place to see nuraghe, the ancient megalithic structures that date back to 1900 to 730 BC. There are about 7000 still existing in Sardinia.
Oristano is located in the central western part of the island and it’s full of many cultural jewels. Just outside of the town in Cabras are the Giants of Mont’e Parma, ancient stone sculptures that date back to the Nuragic civilization in Sardinia.
In nearby Flussio and Tinnùra you’ll find women all along the street weaving hand made baskets, known as corbule.
Many spaghetti westerns were filmed in Sardegna, especially in San Salvatore. If you’re in the area check out this charming little town.
Sardinia is famous for its strong culture of music and dance that dates back three millennia. There are a number of well-known Sardinian dances but the best known is the ballu Sardo.
When you listen to this podcast episode you’ll have a chance to hear Sardinian folk music, the cantu a tenore.
Sardinia s also famous for its fascinating handmade mask culture. You’ll find these masks throughout the island and right near the must-see city of Nuoro there’s an annual mask carnival. The island has a number of mask carnivals throughout the year that you might want to check out.
The food of Sardegna is amazing but probably the best known of all is the pecorino cheese. It’s notable that many of the best pecorino cheese producers throughout Italy are originally of Sardinian heritage.
Sardinia also has wonderful homemade pasta, many of it unique and unusual. Right near Nuoro you’ll find the rarest pasta in Italy: filindeu.
If you haven’t tried Sardinian flatbread, Pane Carasau, you should definitely give it a try!
Are you intrigued by Sardinian food? If so you should add this recently published cookbook to your collection: Bitter Honey by Letitia Clark. And in Italy find the book here. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss the upcoming interview with Letitia!
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