“non assomiglia ad alcun altro luogo […] è un’altra cosa: più ampia, molto più consueta, nient’affatto irregolare, ma che svanisce in lontananza […] La Sardinia è fuori dal tempo e dalla storia.”D. H. Lawrence, “Mare e Sardinia” (1921)
To say something on Sardinia which hasn’t been said or wrote before is a hard job, especially in such a short presentation, so what we are left to do is try to summarize some impressions after a journey. Braudel said that the Mediterranean Sea is first of all a sea closed between mountains. If we invert the elements, we might as well use this definition for Sardinia: at first sight, in fact, the island looks like an enormous mountain massif emerging from the sea. And it actually is.
But this statement goes beyond the geographical aspect: the particular morphology, the central position in the “liquid continent” and the distance from the dry land are all primary aspects which contributed to its complex history and to the preservation of the peculiar elements which made the second biggest island of the Mediterranean a world of its own. This special bond between territory, history and culture is something you can really perceive when you find yourself on the place, even if just for a short period. A good way to discover Sardinia is taking advice from the local people: in this way you will learn about feasts and places which are now appreciated destinations for picnics or daily excursions, but that are still ignored by the official tourist guides. And after all, it’s not that bad if you make your own discoveries.
As for nature, Sardinia is sometimes a wild and harsh land, sometimes a soft and sweet one, but always beautiful. Archaeological finds of different ages are spread almost everywhere, sometimes intertwining and fusing with the natural elements, generating unique patterns. From the folkloristic point of view, almost every county is a state of its own, a great benefit in terms of variety of cakes, breads, cheese exc. Some of the main cities like Cagliari, a beautiful and lively port city, or Alghero, a Catalan outpost on the Sardinian territory and possibly the most beautiful city on the island, have lately become beloved destinations for weekend breaks, thanks to a network of comfortable and cheap flight connections. But they are also good for a longer stay, leaving time to visit the surroundings. And then, of course, the sea.
The coasts of Sardinia are considered among the most beautiful of the Mediterranean Sea, with the cleanest waters, and this is certainly the first reason why every year millions of tourists choose them for their holidays. However, the best dimension to enjoy a region as Sardinia is not the classic steady vacation in a cheerful seaside location (and who knows why these locations are all “cheerful” then?). The real way to enjoy the island, in fact, is the itinerant journey, to be divided into small legs, maybe taking the “cheerful location” as the starting point for the discovery of the inland and the numerous hidden corners of uncontaminated coast.
Sardinia is full of wonderful roads, often desert even in summer, which offer breathtaking panoramas behind every curve. This all sounds like a typical American road movie, but rest assured that these sceneries are really worth it, since in a space of few kilometres are concentrated the most variable landscapes. To quote an Italian film by Gabriele Salvatores, “in the Mediterranean there is always a village hiding behind the sheets, which deserves to be discovered.”