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Episode #083: Sardinia: Sun, Sand and Sea (and much, much more)

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In this episode, we are headed to a jewel of the Mediterranean and Italy’s second-largest island –  beautiful Sardinia (or Sardegna as it’s called in Italian). Not as well known outside Europe as her southern sister Sicily, Sardinia is however a very popular resort island beloved by Europeans with stunning beaches and rich in history, culture, tradition, and natural beauty.

Show notes

We talk to travel blogger Claudia Tavani who grew up in Sardinia and returned to live there after traveling all over the world. She tells us how the beaches beat even those of the Caribbean and Indian Ocean, the hiking offers up incredible views, and that some of the island’s surprise treats are masked carnivals, pink beaches, and of course, wonderful food! 

What you’ll learn in this episode

  1. The beaches in Sardinia are amazing. Some might say they rival the Caribbean – Claudia would say they beat them all.
  2. The island is also full of wonderful natural landscapes and hiking  with incredible views
  3. Sardinia loves to celebrate with carnivals – the most popular being in Mamoiada in the Barbagia region where they wear the rather un-nerving Mamuthones masks
  4. Sartiglia, which takes place in Oristano, is a horse race through the streets where masked horsemen grab stars with their spears
  5. Nuraghe are stone structures from the Nuragic Age which are unique to Sardinia and the large site of Su Nuraxi which is a UNESCO heritage site is definitely worth a visit
  6. Sardinia is the second biggest island in the Med, next to Sicily but whilst Sicily has around 6 million, there is only 1.5 million in Sardinia for a similar size and is a great place for a road trip
  7. All beaches in Sardinia are free to access
  8. Sardinia has pink beaches, the most famous of which is on the island of Budelli, on the Maddalena Archipelago
  9. Being an island there is a lot of seafood in Sardinia but traditionally pork and lamb make up a lot of the traditional dishes
  10. They speak a variety of languages in Sardinia including of course, Italian, Sardinian and then Catalan – spoken in particular in the city of Alghero
  11. You can catch the most amazing sunsets at Cape Caccia
  12. On 1st May in Cagliari they celebrate its patron saint – Sant Ephisius, who rid Sardinia of the plague. There was hope in 2020 of course that the same miracle could be performed again!!!
  13. The coastal area of Costa Rei with South Eastern Sardinia, with it’s long sandy beaches, is a popular summer destination but also wonderful and laid back to visit at any time of year

About our guest – Claudia Tavani

Claudia Tavani is a former human rights lawyer who abandoned her career in academia to travel around the world and write about it. Through her blogs she strives to inspire her readers to visit unique destinations and to do so in a more efficient and responsible way. She opened Strictly Sardinia little over a year ago with a view to promoting her beloved homeland. Claudia loves hiking, is a passionate swimmer and animal lover.

You can find Claudio on these channels:

Places mentioned in the show

  • Cagliari – capital city of Sardinia
  • Poetto – Cagliari’s main beach – a very long sandy beach with lots of small restaurants and even a nature reserve at the back with flamingos. There’s a mountain at one end for easy hikes. There are biking and running lanes.  It’s really kid-friendly
  • Punta Molentis – a busy beach which outside of summer you can see is actually pink
  • Framento Pizzeria – in Cagliari – one of the best pizzerias in Italy with wonderful sour dough pizza with all locally sourced ingredients
  • La Paillote – high-end Cagliari restaurant with amazing views and delicious food
  • Seui – a village with one thousand 300 inhabitants famous for it’s variation Culurgionis
  • Atzara – a village in the Ogliastra region
  • Mercato Di Sanbenedetto – huge fish market in Cagliari
  • Chia and Teulada – beaches near Cagliari
  • Campidano – a plain located in South-Western Sardinia
  • Su Nuraxi – a Nuraghe and a UNESCO heritage site
  • Gola di Gorropu – national park consisting of a dramatic canyon with hiking & guided tours via Jeep
  • Alghero – town in North West Sardinia where they speak Catalan and you can visit the Neptune Caves
  • Bosa – a beautiful town in the province of Oristano
  • Pula – a village outside of Cagliari where the parade for Saint Ephisius is taken on a bull-driven carriage, before returning to Cagliari 4 days later
  • Costa Rei – coastal summer destination in Sardinia
  • Trentino – the area of South Tyrol/The Dolomites in Northern Italy near the border – wonderful for hiking
  • Matera – gorgeous city in the very southern region of Basilicata

Food and Drink

  • Malloreddus – also known as gnocchettii sardi (sardinian gnocchi – not gnocchi but look similar), is a typical pasta shape from the island
  • Culurgionis – a filled pasta filled with potatoes, pecorino, mint or basil, garlic or onion, originating from  Ogliastra
  • Casu Martzu – a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese that contains live insect larvae (maggots)

Resources

  • Punic – the Punic people or Western Phoenicians, were a group of Semitic peoples in the Western Mediterranean who traced their origins to the Phoenicians of the coasts of Western Asia
  • Nuraghe are stone structures from the Nuragic Age which are unique to Sardinia

Resources from Untold Italy

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Transcript

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