The Italian Island of Sardinia


Non Potho Reposare - una canzone popolare sarda cantata da una delle più belle voci della musica italiana - Andrea Parodi di Tazenda

Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian) is the second largest island of Italy.  Sicily is the largest.  

Sardinia has a very interesting flag.  It consists of the Cross of Saint George - la Croce di San Giorgio - on a white background and the heads of four Moors. 
The flag is named - I Quattro Mori (The Four Moors). 


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 narrow channel of sea that separates Sardinia and Corsica is called le Bocche 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 city 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.  Il sardo varies according to the area of Sardinia. 


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 just a small fishermen's harbour but now it is one of the largest leisure ports in Italy!   (Below)

porto alghero.jpg

In the old walled town of Alghero, the streets are all cobbled.   In Italian, the old historic town centre is known as il centro storico.  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.

alghero centro storico.jpg

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. 

Inside the chapel, there is a little, terracotta statuette of the Virgin Mary.  She stands just 30.5 cm. high. This statuette is called la Madonna di Valverde.  Sardinians believe that she performs miracles.  Inside the chapel, the walls are decorated with paintings produced by the local people.  Each painting depicts the story of a personal miracle. 

Below is a photo of the statuette wearing a crown and draped with real jewellery and cloth robes, as she is traditionally seen.


Il Sughero
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.' 

It takes about ten years for the bark of the tree to become ready.   It starts to detach itself naturally from the trunk.  Workers strip it off and it is collected in tons! 

All kinds of items are made from Sardinian cork - picture frames, book covers, goblets, trays, ornaments and bottle tops. The bark regrows and in another ten years or so the trunk can be 'skinned' again! 


Il Mare
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. 

The north-east coast known as la Costa Smeralda (the Emerald Coast) is the most famous for attracting boats during the summer.  It is very expensive to stay there (either in a hotel or afloat on your boat) and many film stars, royal families and other famous people spend their summer holidays in this area.  During the months of July and August, you will always see enormous and beautiful private yachts afloat in the waters of la Costa Smeralda.


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. 

Il Corallo
Sardinia produces very beautiful jewellery and statuettes made from red coral - il corallo rosso - taken from the local waters. The Sardinian people believe that red coral brings good luck, so it is a popular choice for gifts at christenings and weddings, etc.  There is a paler colour of Sardinian coral too, but this costs less and is considered inferior.  It is always the red variety that is the first choice for i sardi - the Sardinians. 

The north-west coast is the biggest producer of coral in Sardinia and it is for this reason that the area is called la Riviera del Corallo - the Coral Coast.  The north-west coastal town of Alghero sells very beautiful coral jewellery in shops throughout its historic town centre - il centro storico.   
In December 2018, the town's Christmas tree was even designed to look like red coral!

corallo albero alghero.jpg

Il Mirto
The flowering plant known as myrtle grows abundantly throughout Sardinia.  Its leaves and berries are used to make a liqueur called mirto.  There are two types of the liqueur: - red (mirto rosso) and white (mirto bianco.