If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider the island of Sardinia, a region of southern Italy. This beautiful area can be an ideal vacation spot. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. Some parts of Sardinia remain undiscovered by tourists, while others are favorites of Italian and international jet setters and are priced accordingly. This article presents southern Sardinia. Companion articles present northern Sardinia and central Sardinia.
Sardinia’s capital Cagliari has a population of about one hundred sixty thousand. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The city fought alongside the Savoyards against the French Revolution. When the promised reward for their loyalty was not forthcoming, all Cagliari rose up and expelled the Savoyards and their Piedmont allies. Cagliari celebrates this insurgency in the Die de sa Sardigna (Sardinian Day) on the last weekend in April.
The old city, named Castello (the Castle), lies on a hilltop. It offers an excellent view of the Gulf of Cagliari also known as Angels Gulf. The old white limestone city walls are mostly intact. You’ll love two white limestone towers, the Torre di San Pancrazio (St. Pancras Tower) and the Torre dell’Elefante (Elephant Tower), both dating back to the Thirteenth Century. D.H. Lawrence, who wrote Sea and Sardinia, as well as Lady Chatterly’s Lover, compared Cagliari to a "white Jerusalem".
A major attraction of this ancient city is the Second Century Anfiteatro Romano (Roman Amphitheatre), that hosts open-air concerts and operas in the summertime. Be sure to visit the Museo Archeologico (Archeological Museum) located in a Fourteenth Century castle, which contains many artifacts coming from unique Sardinian stone structures called Nuraghe which are discussed in the companion article I Love Touring Italy – Central Sardinia. Cagliari boasts one of the longest beaches in Italy, the Poetto beach an amazing 8 miles (13 kilometers) long.
From May first to fourth Nora and Cagliari are home to arguably the greatest and most colorful religious procession in the world, the Festa di Sant’Efisio. This celebration honors a martyr beheaded by a Roman soldier in 303 in Nora. In 1652 a plague raged in Sardinia and half of Cagliari lay dead. According to popular belief this saint’s intervention stopped the plague. In gratitude thousands of traditionally costumed marchers transport his statue from a church in old Cagliari to one in Nora and back.
What about food? Despite of its magnificent coastline, native Sardinians don’t tend to be big fans of fish and seafood. But specialties are available, especially in costal areas. Look for burrida, a Sardinian fish soup sometimes based on shark. Other bounty from the sea includes swordfish, tuna, sardines, cuttlefish, clams, and mussels. An expensive specialty is mosciame di tonno, salted, air-dried tuna. A more familiar and often expensive specialty is lobster, some of the best in Italy.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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