Tuesday 25 February 2014

Fun Facts About Sardinia

We think Sardinia is one of the most fascinating places on Earth with a rich culture and history.

Just for fun, here are a few interesting facts about the island of Sardinia that we just love. We hope you like them too... they'll come in handy for impressing fellow holidaymakers over dinner!

Sardinia's coastline (1,850km) makes up over a quarter of the entire Italian coast

Sardinia enjoys an average of 135 days of sunshine every year

Geologically speaking, Sardinia is one of the most ancient bodies of land in Europe being 500 million years old

A growing number of scholars believe that Sardinia is actually the site of the Lost City of Atlantis.

Sardinia may be small, but it has it's own language which varies drastically from one area to the next. The Sard language is based on Latin but still bears the influence of the ancient languages of the Nuraghic period (such as the word Nuraghe itself) as well as smatterings of Catalan, Corsican, Arabic, Phonecian and Genoese... legacies left by the island's many invaders.

When Ringo Starr visited Sardinia in 1968 on Peter Sellers' boat, he was served octopus for lunch by the captain. The resulting conversation between the two men was the inspiration behind The Beatles song "Octopus's Garden"

The English phrase "Sardonic grin" comes from the effect of a toxic local herb which causes convulsive laughter in its victims.

Sardinia's inhabitants have the highest percentage of people over the age of 100 in the world (22 centenarians per 100,000 inhabitants)... maybe down to the fantastic diet and unpolluted air? It's no coincidence that the traditional Sardinian greeting is "A kent'annos" (may you live to 100).

The tiny island of Asinara off the coast of Sardinia is home to a colony of 250 miniature albino donkeys and, according to the 2001 census, just one man. The island of Tavolara is also worth a mention as being officially a kingdom... The current monarch actually owns a restaurant on the island but proudly bears the regal title given to his ancestors in 1848

Sardinia is the Mediterranean's second largest island after Sicily. It's also the third biggest region in Italy (after Sicily and Piedmont) but due to the fact that the interior of the island is mainly uninhabited, it ranks only 11th according to population size.

About 10 million tourists visit the island every year.

25% of Sardinia (600,000 hectares) has been designated as national parkland or wildlife reserves.

Sardinia's original name (dating from 1500BC) was Ichnusa. This comes from combining the word "island" ("nusa") with "Hyskos" after the tribe who rose to power in the 17th century BC and ruled areas of Egypt before invading Sardinia.

Sardinia has over 7,000 prehistoric archaeological sites dating from before 1,000BC.

A culinary speciality unique to Sardinia is "casu marzu" cheese which contains live maggots... and yes, you guessed it, it's considered a potent aphrodisiac by the locals.

Sardinia is the only region of Italy which doesn't have a motorway; an indication as to the pace of life here perhaps?

The world-famous internet company, Tiscali was founded in Sardinia and is still based in Cagliari. The company is named after a 2,000 year old nuraghic village on the island.

Yes, the word "sardines" does come from Sardinia, although sadly stocks of the fish have been depleted by overfishing.

If you have any other fascinating facts about Sardinia, we'd love to hear them! If this has inspired you to find out more about the island, just contact us for luxury Sardinian holiday villas.

February Sunshine in Sardinia

When people think of Sardinia, they tend to think of the summer holidays, but it really is an all year round destination.

Cala Giunco beach in Villasimius
Right now, the temperature is steady at around 25 degrees centigrade and has been for weeks. The sky is bright, bright blue, the spring flowers and blossom are out and we think the island is at it's very best between now and May.

We spent the weekend out in the Villasimius and Costa Rei area, wandering along miles of sandy white beaches without a single footprint on them, photographing flamingos and searching for the wild asparagus which is in season right now. The best way to get to know the island is just to hop in the car and drive... turn down any interesting track that you like the look of and you'll always be pleasantly surprised. We found a friendly shepherd who allowed us to wander over his land (it's always polite to ask permission) and who told us where to find a nuraghe (prehistoric stone monument) and the remains of a prehistoric settlement hidden in the bushes. He'd built a wall and a beautiful wooden entrance gate around them, and we loved seeing the gate to nowhere right in the middle of the countryside.

The gateway in the middle of the field, guarding the hidden remains of a prehistoric settlement
The friendly shepherd and his sheep

The wild asparagus we picked on our day out. Absolutely delicious!
If this has inspired you to get to know the area yourself check out two of our favourite villas in the area.

Villa Shardana in the Costa Rei, sleeps 4

Villa Arrubia in Villasimius, sleeps 14