The island of Sardinia

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About Sardinia: The island of Sardinia is the second-largest in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily). It is an autonomous region of Italy with a total area of 24,090 square kilometres and a population of 1.6 million. Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia, ruled by a special statute. The provinces are: Cagliari, Carbonia-Iglesias, Medio Campidano, Nuoro, Ogliastra, Olbia-Tempio, Oristano and Sassari.

The coasts are jagged and rocky and Sardinia’s turquoise sea and white sandy beaches rival the best that the tropics can offer. The seaside landscapes, especially on the Costa Smeralda, are among the most beautiful in the world. Numerous small, enchanting islets are scattered in front of the coasts including the islands of Sant’Antioco & San Pietro, off the coast of Southwestern Sardinia, which offer all the charm and hospitality of Sardinia so far unspoiled by too much tourist development.

The island of Sardinia is an ancient land with a fascinating history. There are many historic sites of great interest on the Island. There are about 7,000 “nuraghi” dotted around the Island. These are truncated cone towers made of huge stone blocks which were fortified dwellings of the earliest inhabitants of Sardinia. There are Roman ruins at Tharros on the western side of the Island and other Roman relics at Porto Torres and Cagliari. The National Archaeologic Museum of Cagliari is the most important museum in the island.

Away from the coast, the scenery is equally beautiful with forested mountain peaks, valleys of citrus groves and pastures of happily grazing cattle and sheep. Alghero, in Northwestern Sardinia, has a fascinating Catalan history and a delightful historic centre. Calgliari is historic and cosmopolitan at the same time, combining ancient traditions with the vibrant city life of a major 21st century capital city. Among the most important events hosted by the city is the festival of Saint Efisio. This procession takes place every year to commemorate the Saint, regarded as the protector of the city.

Languages spokenItalian and other local dialects
Currency usedEuro
Area (km2)24,090
Population1.663 million

Culture and history of The island of Sardinia

Inhabited since very early pre-historic times (at least since 150,000 years ago), in the 9th century BC the island was occupied by the Phoenicians, later on by Carthage and, after this city was defeated and destroyed in the Third Punic War, by Rome, and under the Roman Empire enjoyed a remarkable prosperity. Raided by the Vandals in 456 AD, it was later included by the Eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empire. For many centuries Sardinia suffered raids by the Saracens from Spain, Africa and Sicily.

In the 12th century, under the influence of the republic of Pisa, the island was divided into four local districts – Gallura, Logudoro, Arborea, and Caralis – called “Iudicati”, each ruled by a iudex, whose power little by little became hereditary. In 1241 the King of Sicily Frederick II appointed his son Enzo king of Sardinia.

In 1323 the Kingdom of Aragon began its conquest Sardinia; Arborea resisted and for a time was able to control almost the whole island, but its last ruler Eleanor of Arborea was defeated in the Battle of Sanluri on June 30, 1409, the population of Alghero was expelled and the city repopulated with Catalans.

After the merge of the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon in Spain, Sardinia was incorporated into Spain and Sardinian mariners were in the royal Spanish fleet when on October 7, 1571, at the Battle of Lepanto, the Turkish fleet was defeated. On 2 September 1720 Sardinia passed to Vittorio Amedeo II Savoy, later to become King of Sardinia, the entity that in the following century was to become the Kingdom of Italy.