SARDINIA ~ Italy's Hidden Gem

Marisa Ippolito on 24 September 2010

Sardinia is truly a glistening Jewel in the Mediterranean and has a coastline of over 1000 kms with over 300 beaches. The north east of the Island boasts Costa Smeralda or the Emerald coast and you can understand why when you first come upon mile after mile of breathtaking talcum white beaches and seas in every imaginable shade of jade green & azure blue.

The island has a typical Mediterranean climate with 300 days of sunshine per year. The Mistral is a dominant wind that blows on and off throughout the year coming from the northwest though it is most prevalent in winter and spring. It can cool down a hot upper 80 degrees sun and is favored by sailors and windsurfers alike. The island is popular with divers who enjoy extensive visibility and clarity of warm turquoise seas and there are many dive clubs dotted around the island offering trips & courses.

The island also has a hidden interior with beautiful mountains and agritourism playing a big part in attracting the crowds away from the beaches. You can stay in stunning Boutique/Spa hotels that seem to blend in with the nature surrounding it or with local Sardinian people in their homes or farms to enjoy the unique opportunity of tasting local produce prepared as it has been for centuries. Driving is easy & by far the best way to get around, cars are best rented in advance.

I have stayed on 2 different parts of the island, firstly in the south and the town of Cagliari. I loved living here for a few days and enjoyed walks up to the Bastione de St. Remy, Cagliari's most popular terrace, where you can view the City and enjoy people watching before settling on a cool glass of Italian Chianti, lounging on giant bed seating set outside in the sun. The city has a labyrinth of winding cobbled streets leading up to the Castle interspersed with many little speciality shops. Here you can find genuine art or crafts that are locally made. An absolute must is to look out the ice cream salons and drool over the coloured & textured mountains of delight laid out in front of you. See my photos to whet your appetite!! Good beaches are within easy reach of the town and local transport is easy in this part of the island.

A second trip saw me fly into Olbia and head an hour and a half north to Cannigione on the Emerald Coast. This was for me more of a beach based holiday to relax and it definitely ticks all the boxes. Around every bend in this coastal necklace lie emerald and turquoise gems that seem blissfully happy to adorn the alabaster white coloured throat of this beautiful Italian lady, this Island of Sardinia. I could swear I heard opera emanating from every pink shell on the beaches as I walked! Every day I found a different small little cove and bay all to myself in which to sunbathe and snorkel from in complete privacy. Wonderful.

The nearby millionaires playgrounds of Porto Rotondo & Porto Cervo play host to many stunning private yachts that swoon into the ports. Dazzling Porto Cervo, founded by the Aga Khan in the 1960s as a village retreat for the very rich and famous, attracts only the richest yacht owners & an annual berth for a 40ft boat here costs over $115000! The area also attracts a large number of 'A' list celebrities every year, although I unfortunately didn’t spot any whilst I was there!

Food on the Island is a dream and you can shop for gold medal winning Buffalo Mozzarella and home cured, sweet hams for lunch, and enjoy fresh fish and octopus as well as local lamb, beef and roast suckling pig cooked using traditional methods over open wood fires for dinner. The wines are extensive and not so expensive. There are a number of excellent pizzerias as well for that easier well loved family favourite.

There is so much to Sardinia, it is impossible to list it all here, however please feel free to call me to discuss more about how to get there, where to stay, what to expect, it is sometimes better to talk and I am happy to help!

The best way though is to experience it for yourself…. to do that you need to go!! You only need to ask and I will send you there!