The edible fig is one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans and is known for its edible fruit throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. August and September are prime picking months for the fig in Sardinia and we’ve come home with bucketfuls.
Fig leaves have for centuries been used to cover the genitals of nude figures in paintings and sculptures as a protector of modesty.
Figs can be eaten dried or fresh, but keep in mind that once picked the fig will not last long. It’s better to eat them straight from the tree, like we do in Sardinia. High in fiber and calcium figs are known for having a laxative effect on the body, so don’t indulge yourself too much in the juicy redness of this fruit.
Figs were a huge food source for the Romans and were once used to fatten geese for the production of foie gras. Ever wonder why your foie gras had a slight pink-ish colour to it? Well now you know.
So what are you waiting for? Tis the season for figs. Go on and eat them up, if your lucky enough to have them in your area. If you’re one of the unlucky ones to not have a fig tree near by then I suggest buying dried figs. Dried figs from Turkey are the best, in my humble opinion.
Happy Figging my friends.
Hyknusa is the Latinized name given to Sardinia billions of light years ago. Now fast forward a few centuries and allow me to introduce you to Ichnusa.
Brewed in Assemini, Italy, located 12 km northwest of Cagliari, in southern Sardinia. Birra Ichnusa was founded in 1912 and their brewing standards remain true to tradition, even after beer giant Heineken bought-out Sardinia’s little brewery.
Ichnusa is a delightful, light golden lager, with soft aromas and a persistent froth. Alcohol level is 4.7%. It’s a perfect beer to enjoy while catching some shade in a local Sardinian bar, or sipping while sitting on your balcony overlooking the Med, and it goes great with everything. Pasta, pizza, fish, you name it. Ichnusa has remained a favorite for decades on the island of Sardinia as well as abroad. Put Ichnusa on your list while you visit the wonderful island of Hyknusa – Sardinia. Ajo!
I'd also contact VTers living in Sardinia. I usually follow this way because I think people living in a land can give the best and reliable information; anyway that's only my humble opinion.
I have worked in Sardinia Region some years ago. I'd say Sardinia has two faces. The first is on the coasts (for tourists); the second is into the internal lands (not so simple for tourists; in some villages people do not speak Italian language too...).
Will you hire a car? That's a good choice, but I remember it is generally not so fast to move around Sardinia by car so I'd suggest only two places as "base" where to sleep.
I'd spend two days (one night stay) in the South East (Villasimius is a good choice) and there you can visit "Costa Rei" (Rei Coast).
I took accommodation in a good and not so expensive hotel not so far from there; take a look on:
I'd spend the remaining days in the Northern lands.
Beginning from North East, you could choose some of the places listed here (in capital letters my favourites):
- San Teodoro
- Costa Dorata (TAVOLARA Island, MOLARA Island)
- GOLFO ARANCI
- Porto Rotondo
- Porto Cervo
- Le Saline
- Capo d'Orso
- LA MADDALENA Islands
- SANTA TERESA GALLURA (I'd take accommodation here...)
- Cala Sarraina
- Costa Paradiso
- Le Vele
- Rocca Ruja
- Torre Pelosa
- ASINARA Island
Remember, that's only my list...
...I should recommend to plan your "wish list" taking a look and studying all the information you'll find on:
I think Virtual Tourist becomes very useful when you'll have your "wish list" in your hands; in this way you could post on VT forum all your questions and doubts related only to the places you prefer to visit.
Feel you welcome in my Country!
The few foreign assaults on Sardinia left their mark though it's not as pronounced in northern Sardinia as most other places I've travelled.
The influence of Christianity was marked after 1,000 A.D. as can be seen by the plethora of churches from around the 12th and 13th centuries.
Fondest memory: In the space of two days I stumbled across three Romanesque churches and what amazed me was not so much the churches but where they were.
The first was San Pieter at Silki, a 12th century affair (pic 3) that is still in use and, just to the side about 50 metres away was a modern toilet block indicating how well patronized it still is.
Saccargia was the only one that you had to pay to get into but, of course, you couldn't get into the other two! It dates from 1116 though the frescoes (pic 5) are 13th century and is a fine example of Pisan architecture.
The church of San Nicola di Trullas (or Truddas) belonged to a local influential family and in the 1113 was committed to the Monastery of Camaldoli. Though the church is very small nevertheless, the monument is well proportioned, shapes show coherence of lines and style, a very original elaboration, originated by the fusion of elements derived from architectonic schools of Pisa and Lombardy Romanesque. It's also a little weather worn, as you might note from pic 2.
This small village appears at the end of a long, winding road through granite scenery, wild bush and holm-oak forests that, from the central-northern coast heads towards the interior of the island. It was founded on a mountain slope 650 meters high. The village is called Tempio; immersed in the green forest of cork trees and St. Lawrence pine bush set on a hilly landscape.
Its territory's morphology seems to contrast a bit with the city's harsh, austere, ground-level dwellings or the small stone buildings that appear on the paved streets.
The network of roads penetrates between buildings and main roads, widening only in the centre, allowing for a deep breath of fresh air, then continuing on slowly to be better observed.
This protective environment, with its hills and promontories, has always favoured human settlement in the area. A flourishing community of the XVI Century B.C. left testimonies of its existence here with the Nuraghe of Majori and Izzana.
Later, in the Byzantine period, the village of Villa Templi was founded and became the principal town of the Gemini Administration. Other proof of Tempio's prosperity is the granite Cathedral constructed in 1400 and restored between the XVIII and XIX Centuries.
Between the XVI and XVII Centuries, Tempio became the cultural and religious centre of the territory; the convent of St. Francis, the Scolopi college and convent and the church were founded then. In 1837 Tempio became the headquarters of King Charles Albert of Savoy who conferred Tempio with the status of town.
History has left its mark in Tempio, but its natural assets have allowed for the construction of the thermal complex called Rinaggiu, among the most important in Sardinia. It's situated on the north side of the city, immersed in hundred-year old trees and slopes that surround it. Its climate conditions are always temperate - neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. Equipped with best therapeutic characteristics, medical studios, gyms and sports equipment as well as an amphitheatre, Rinaggiù could be a nice option for your summer holiday.
Tempio's landscape invites you to undertake natural and archaeological excursions. Through majestic granite rocks, streams, waterfalls and oak bushes; on foot or by bike and even by car down narrow roads that bring you to fabulous places where you can feel the remote air and infinite solitude, where the melodic sounds of nature soothe the human ear and you can admire a never-ending and obstacle-free view.
The visit of the Nuraghe Majori is highly recommended. It can be reached by taking main road n. 133 in direction of Palau. At km. 1,5 there is a country road on which you should continue for 500 m until you reach the Nuraghe. The route contains numerous road signs. You will find yourself in front of a huge, granite construction of irregular shapes, with only one tower, a central corridor and two rooms. There are stairs in the corridor that lead to the bastion.
Fondest memory: An excursion in the Limbara mountains is also very interesting (see other tips). If you reach the Valliciola summit, you will get a panoramic view that engulfs the entire Gallura region, Anglona, the sea and even the mountains in Corsica. Of course, it pays not to go up there when the dreaded European haze might obscure your view.
The hilly landscape, the agricultural ground plus the climactic conditions have always favoured grape growing that produces the precious and famous wines like Muscat or Vermentino as well as excellent red and rosé wines.
Handicrafts is another flourishing activity in Tempio - many tourists cannot leave the area without a cork souvenir (though I did). Cork forests are really spectacular in this area. Cork production on an industrial scale began in the 19th Century. There is a experimental cork station that is involved in the scientific research on this type of tree and the application of its products in various sectors from the building to the clothing industry.
Let's be totally honest here - a car will increase your enjoyment of Sardinia immensely. It's not favoured by a comprehensive public transport network and most of the stuff is only visible if you have transport.
Fondest memory: Here I've selected some scenes that I took. The first was on the way to Orgosolo, the second (which you need to click on and blow up because it's a panorama) was taken east of Sassari somewhere, the third is the road to Monte Nieddhu, the fourth was taken at Orgosolo looking east and the last shows just how verdant some of the countryside was, taken probably 40 kims south of Sassari.
Somehow I found it hard to get tired of the scenic changes that unfolded before me constantly; I recommend you give it a go.
This great lump of rock, sitting in the middle of northern Sardinia, is festooned with communications antenna on Punta Balestreri.
Monte Limbara is a granite mountainous range situated in the heart of the Gallura. To the north it looks over the plains of Tempio, to the south-west it is bordered by the river Coghinas and to the south-east by the depression of Monti, Oschiri, Padrogiano and Olbia. Although not reaching an elevated height (at just over 1300m), the Limbara appears imposing and evocative, characterised by rocky summits modelled by the elements that over the millennia have given them strange and eccentric forms. The highest is the Punta Balistreri, that reaches 1359m.
On the mountain two forest areas are found: one on the northern slope, the other on the southern. The first one, belonging to the municipality of Tempio Pausania, is included within the SIC (Sites of Community Importance). The area is rich in luxuriant Mediterranean brush, which near the summits is replaced by stepped moors and visible rock formations.
The southern part of Monte Limbara belongs to the municipality of Berchidda. The scenery is dominated by huge rocks that seem almost suspended in precarious equilibrium, modelled by phenomena of erosion and so taking on eccentric forms, punctuated by caves and hollows. The area is home to the golden eagle and Bonelli’s eagle, that flies over dense, luxuriant woods inhabited by wild cats and martens. At Littu Siccu, in the heart of the forest, traces of ancient human settlements are found at Pedru Fadda and Fighizzola. The vegetation is made up of heather and strawberry trees; in the cooler valleys the holm oaks are joined by manna ash and holly.
The northern and southern slopes are rich in springs from which high quality, low mineral content water gushes out, .
The Limbara is the theatre for the musical event "Time in jazz", that finds the scenery ideal for rhythmic artistic expression among rocks and woods. Moreover, the area has an eco-museum of art and nature - "Semida" - which in Sardinian means path. Here, spectacular installations of artists like Giovanni Campus, Clara Bonfiglio, Erik Chevalier, Paola Dessy, Bruno Petretto, Pinuccio Sciola, Giovanna Secchi, and Monica Solinas accompany the visitor in the discovery of the natural world where real works of art are insinuated, that through Land Art, artistic research founded in the seventies, creates a spectacular and amazing aesthetical game.
To get to Monte Limbara north, go out of the town of Tempio Pausania, along the SS 392 towards Oschiri. At the 7 km marker, in the locality of Coradoreddu, are the forest area offices. The southern slope is reached from the town of Berchidda along the SS 597 Sassari-Olbia or the SP 62. Coming from Tempio you reach the heliport of Valliciola and go as far as the small pond Su Sciucchi that is found inside the forest. There's religious statue up there, as you'd expect, and many minor offerings have been laid at its base.
Fondest memory: The domes on Monte Limbara don't reach the size of, say, the Californian domes. Most of them reach about 1100 - 1200m in elevation and show faces of some 200 - 300m. There are climbing possibilities but the region is far less popular than the limestone cliffs near the coast and less profound than the (again limestone) north faces of Supramonte and Monte Albo.
For the average hiker like me Monte Limbara offers quite a number of good trails and roads which wind their way between the domes and offer fantastic views from all sides. There is a drawback however: the highest summit on Monte Limbara, Punta Balestreri is covered by radar, TV and radio towers. It's not a sight you want to remember but you can't forget it.
The processes which formed these domes are similar to the ones in Yosemite: moisture can penetrate the hard granite rock only just underneath the surface. Any erosion - heat or cold - thus will only make the rock come off in layers - forming these very smooth surfaces.
Limbara is crossed by a number of roads that, originating from Calangianus, Berchidda and from the Tempio - Oschiris road, reach Valliciola, a locality at 1053 meters above sea level. From the barracks of the Forest Authority runs a trail that leads to the valley carved by the Rio Pisciaroni. After having gone over the plain of the Valliciola, rich in holm oaks, cork oaks and hollies, you reach Punta Balestrieri (1359 metres), the highest point of this massif.
The Supramonte Mountain Range is Sardegna's second highest. It is formed by limestone rock, which is is quite similar to the formations you can find in the Dolomites. The range, however, is older so that it is in a state of advanced erosion. You won't find the large scree piles beneath the summits, that you get used to in the Dolomites - most of them have been grown over and are pretty easy to ascend.
The resemblance though is most striking from afar - look at the north or west faces and you can feel relocated to the Pale di San Martino Group. There is a large high plateau which is bounded by huge drops towards the Oliena plain some 1000m below. The north faces are famous for long and difficult climbing routes. Punta Cusidore and Bruncu Nieddu attract serious climbers for nearly vertical climbs for between 350 and 500m. The west faces are too eroded to be climbed but below them - on Monte Maccione - there is one of the most famous climbing locations, with more than 70 routes with difficulties between difficulties from UIAA VI through X.
Fondest memory: Climbing aside, I was looking for Posada, a coastal town supposedly with nice views and a castle. I came upon an inland village and a sign said "Monte Nieddhu" and it was pointing towards this massive outcrop.
When Rosemarie asked what I would like to do it was a fait accompli. The irresistible urge to scale new horizons led me to drive up the mountain with that name; and what a pretty drive it was. However, the road stops some way from the actual top and the peak still towers above you. Still, I have no complaints because with our time restraints on the penultimate day I was pleased just to have gotten that far.
Towering almost 1000m over the beaches of San Teodoro and Budoni on the east coast of Sardinia (Sardegna) Punta Maggiore is the highest summit of the Monte Nieddu mountain range. It is probably the best known mountain in Sardinia, due to its silhouette appearing prominently in many of the sundown pictures taken from the beaches.
NOTE: You will have to click on the picture because it is a panorama.
Isola Tavolara da San Teodoro - We weren't on our way there; in fact, I never knew it existed, having arrived at Olbia very early it the morning and then moving to Arzachena.
Yet, on a day when we were supposed to be checking out Posada, and what a disappointment that turned out to be (see elsewhere), we couldn't help but notice this magnificent clump of rock rising majestically from the sea.
It was Isola Tavolara, a 5km long and 1km wide island of the east coast of Sardinia just south of Olbia.
The rock rises at an extreme angle from the water, culminating in a 564m highpoint. Geologically it is closely related to the nearby Supramonte and Monte Albo. which were, in fact, part of the same large area in former ages. The regions drifted apart and today more than 50km separate them.
Fondest memory: Isola Tavolara is (or was) Europe's smallest kingdom - granted sovereignity in 1838 by the then Sardinian King Charles Albert. The monarchy was revoked for a short period by the end of the 19th century but since then it has been the official form of government of the island. King Carlo II "rules" a handful of permanent residents, but generally the island is represented by the Italian republic.
The Costa Esmeralda is famous these days but I found some of the beaches on the other side of the island (north west) just as attractive.
Fondest memory: We pulled up here to check out the coastline to see what it had to offer and I was impressed. Not many beaches in Europe do a lot for me, bearing in mind I come from Australia, but this one had much to recommend it. The sand was nice, the backdrop was scenic and there was a lone fisherman and one walker to be seen.
Having said that, I can imagine it would be more crowded during "the season" but, since access is limited, I can't imagine it would ever be overcrowded.
If there's one thing you never forget about Sardinia, it's rocks. The north eastern coast has some of the world's most amazing granite shapes, period.
Fondest memory: I had a few sojourns into this world. Once I climbed around the Capo d'Orso, arguably the most famous of them all.
Another time I went cold and solo into the rocks between Cannigione and Arzachena but, although I saw much, I didn't reach my goal.
Yet another time I scrambled about San Pantaleo, a fantasy land of shapes and finally, on the penultimate day, I stopped to explore another spot south of Olbia.
Somehow I never got tired of them during my week on the island and every day seemed to throw up something new.
Some were very small, some were huge, all were different.
There aren't that many castles in Sardinia so Castelsardo is favoured in that regard.
Castelsardo was founded in the XII century by the Genovese family of Doria. It is situated on the summit of a rocky promontory in a strategic position dominating the harbour. The castle and fortifications were built in this time period. Beginning in the second half of the XV century, Castelsardo belonged to the Aragonians. Today, it's considered an important commercial centre for characteristic craftsmanship and is most famous for its baskets made of woven vegetable fibres.
These types of weaving can be seen in the interesting museum now housed in the castle. I have to say that I was surprised at some of the items on display, none less than the small rafts suitable for poling around inland waters.
Fondest memory: Castelsardo's economy is traditionally based on agricultural and fishing, especially lobsters that are later prepared according to the local fishermen's antique recipes.
Its production of woven baskets is one of the Sardinian handicrafts most appreciated all over the world. The techniques of weaving have also been implemented in the fishing industry and are used to make the lobster traps made of various types of reeds and olive branches.
The small town of Castelsardo is set on an imposing rock overlooking the sea. Built in such a strategically high position for defensive purposes from possible attacks from the sea. Castelsardo is an extraordinary example of Medieval town which developed around its castle. Its old town walls are still intact which makes it a magnet for tourists. The historical town centre is no doubt the most interesting part of the town. In the surrounding area the Elephant Rock, a prehistoric tomb that was shaped like an elephant by the atmospheric agents, is worth a visit; other sites are the old monastery and a few nuraghes.
Fondest memory: The town’s position is geographically optimal for exploring the Northern coastline of Sardinia, with Sassari only 30 kilometres away and 35 kilometres from Porto Torres, from where one can go on a boat excursion to the island of Asinara, an ex prison island where you can see the Sardinian white donkeys. Stintino and the famous beach of La Pelosa, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Med, is 60 km away, while Santa Teresa di Gallura and Alghero are 70 kilometres away in opposite directions.
In Castelsardo itself you’ll find a good selection of hotels, bars and restaurants, shops and many forms of entertainment. Like most holiday towns it is very lively in Summer and sleepy in winter.
Sardinia is great all round. Just one thing almost spoiled my holiday, that was finding a little abandoned dog on 2 consecutive nights. The second night was my last night but, thanks to the hotel staff I went home with the contact name of a rescue organization in the Olbia area.
I emailed them the day after I got home and had a message back that after-noon to say that they had found him and were looking after him. Thanks to them. If you have the time take a look at the site. (Google 'LIDA Olbia' to get translated pages)
When preparing a trip to Sardegna, the following links might be helpful:
- ADAC Reiseführer (in German)
- http://www.sardinien.com/ (in German)
It was some years ago when we stayed here but it was divine. We paid extra for a room with a sea...more
Viale Diaz, 231, Cagliari, Sardinia, 9100, Italy
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
This hotel is 10km south of the airport at SS125 in Murta Maria (a place belonging to Olbia). It is...more