Life On The Italian Island Of Sardinia
To read a Sardinian legend, click HERE
Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian) is the second largest island of Italy. Sicily is the largest.
Sardegna lies in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, just south of the French island Corsica. You can see the Corsican coastline from some parts of Northern Sardinia. Below is a satellite picture of Sardinia. The southern part of Corsica can also be seen in the picture.
The sea that separates Sardinia and Corsica is called Lo Stretto di Bonifacio and it is famous for being extremely rough with very rocky and dangerous parts. Many boats have sunk making the short journey between the two islands. The French writer Maupassant wrote a story in the 19th Century called Une Vendetta and it opens with a vivid description of the rough waters and coastlines of Bonifacio.
The capital of Sardinia is Cagliari, in the south. The official language of Sardinia is Italian but most of the island also speaks the Sardinian language called sardo.
To hear the Sardinian rock band Tazenda singing the famous and beautiful song No potho reposare (sung in the Sardinian language) click HERE and go to track 45. The lead singer is the great Andrea Parodi from Sardinia who sadly died in 2006.
In the seaside town of Alghero in the North-West of Sardinia, the people speak a dialect that belongs just to that town. It is called algherese and it is very similar to the Catalan language of Spain, having originated with a Catalan colony that settled in the area of Alghero hundreds of years ago. That is why the colours of the Alghero flag are the same as the Spanish flag - red and yellow. Below is the coat of arms for Alghero where you can see the red and yellow stripes.
The town of Alghero takes its name from the large quantity of seaweed (or algae) that is washed up continually on the coastline. The people of Alghero are very proud of their town. It is a walled, historical town with a port. Originally, it was a small fishermen's harbour but now it is one of the largest leisure ports in Italy! (Picture below.)
In the old walled town of Alghero, the streets are all cobbled. There is a large cathedral called Santa Maria and a very beautiful old church called San Francesco. There is a cloister attached to the church of San Francesco and, in the summer, it is used for chamber music. Below is a photo of a typical, cobbled street in Alghero.
Outside Alghero, in the countryside, there is an area called Valverde. This is a sacred place for the people of Sardinia. In Valverde, there is a little chapel and it is visited by thousands of Sardinians and thousands of visitors from abroad every year.
Sardegna produces lots of cork. This is called il sughero in Italian. Cork trees can be easily recognised because the bark of the trunk is stripped off, making the trunk look as if it has been 'skinned.'
The sea around the island of Sardegna is very clean and attracts thousands of holiday-makers every summer. It is well-known that boat-owners sail from all over Europe in order to spend the summer on the Sardinian coast.
If you want to look seriously stylish and important in the summer, then keep your boat moored at the Sardinian port of Porto Cervo on La Costa Smeralda. It will cost you thousands of euros every day. The exact price will depend on the length of your boat.
Sardinia produces very beautiful jewellery and statuettes made from red coral taken from the local waters.
The flowering plant known as myrtle grows abundantly throughout Sardinia. It is used to make a liqueur called mirto. There are two types of the drink called mirto - red (mirto rosso) and white (mirto bianco.) It is drunk on special occasions or at the end of a large meal. Below is a picture of myrtle growing in Sardinia.
In the Sardinian mountains, there is a village called Fonni. It is the highest town in Sardinia and it is famous for its amazing three-dimensional paintings on the outside of the buildings. These paintings have been created by the local people and they look very real. It seems that real people are standing in doorways, looking out of windows or going about their daily chores.
(This style of painting can be seen in other villages in the area of Fonni, too.)
Sardinia produces very good bread. One of the most famous types is called il pane carasau. It is really only found in Sardinia! It is wafer-thin and crunchy. It can be sprinkled with salt and olive oil and it keeps very well. It is also very healthy because it is so light. Usually, you buy it in a round pack and, because there are so many wafer-thin layers, it seems to last for ages!
More information will be added shortly!