Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian, Sardigna or Sardinna in the Sardinian language), is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily which is the largest, located between Italy, Spain and Tunisia, south of Corsica. Now an Italian region with a special autonomous statute, Sardinia's history is very ancient. In 1979 human remains were found that were dated to 150,000 BC.
At the beginning of the nuragic age, circa 1500 BC, the island was first called Hyknusa (latinized Ichnusa) by the Mycenaeans, probably meaning island (nusa) of the Hyksos, the people who had just been expelled by Ahmose I of Egypt, circa 1540 BC. Sandalyon was its second name, probably due to its shape, recalling a footprint. Last and present name has been Sardinia, for the Shardana (whose invasion on Egypt was defeated by Ramesses III circa 1180 BC).
In Prehistory Sardinia's inhabitants developed a trade in obsidian, a stone used for the production of the first rough tools, and this activity brought Sardinians into contact with most of the Mediterranean people. Desiccated grapes, recently found in several locations, were DNA tested and proved to be the oldest grapes in the world, dating back to 1200 BC, the Pyramids' and Mesopotamia’s era. The Cannonau wine is made with these grapes and may qualify as the mother of all the European wines.
In 1718, Sardinia became an 'independent' vassal kingdom under the House of Savoy, rulers of Piedmont and in 1792, Jean-Paul Marat, son of a Sardinian father from Cagliari and a Swiss mother, was one of the triumvirate leading the French Revolution. In 1793, Sardinians rebelled, demanding autonomy in exchange for helping to defeat French invasion forces.
Autonomy was granted in the combined kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, but after the French threat to the kingdom lessened, the king took back his authority. In 1860, Vittorio Emanuele II, King of Sardinia became also the first King of Italy after conquering the rest of the peninsula. Sardinia is one of two Italian regions whose inhabitants have been recognized as a "popolo" (i.e. a distinct people) by the Regional Statute (which is a Constitutional Law). The other region is Veneto.
Book a ferry from Italy or France to Sardinia, which contains numerous extraordinary tourist areas, including the Costa Smeralda and Gennargentu. The island is particularly famous for its beaches, but is also rich in other interesting places, such as some charming sea towns and archeological ruins.
Trains on Sardinia connect the whole island but are rather slow and some run on narrow gauge track. Many tourists catch the “trenino verde”, which runs through the wildest parts of the island. It is slow but it allows the traveller to have scenic views impossible to see from the main road. The train connects Cagliari to Arbatax in the south and Sassari to Palau in the north. It is highly recommended to make the trip from Macomer to Bosa Marina, where the train winds its way through the typical Sardinian landscape to reach the sea near the coastal town of Bosa situated in the west of the island.
One of the world's most interesting musical destinations, Sardinia is the home to one of the oldest forms of Vocal Polyphony, generally known as ‘Canto a Tenores’. Visit Sardinia with FerryTravels and discover another polyphonic style of singing, more similar to the Corsican Paghjella and lithurgic in nature, is also found in Sardinia and known as Cantu a Cuncordu.
A unique instrument is called ‘The launeddas’, three reed-canes (2 of them glued together with bees wax), which is producing distinctive harmonies, which have their roots many thousands of years ago, as demonstrated by the bronzette from Ittiri, of a man playing the 3 reed canes, dated back to 2000 BC.
Beyond this, the tradition of Cantos a Chiterra (guitar songs) has its origins in town squares, when artists would compete against one another. It lives on in new forms. Sardinian culture is alive and well, and young people are actively involved in their own music and dancing.
With its climate mainly Mediterranean, with a warm spring and fall, hot summer, and mild winter, Sardinia is welcoming lots of tourists each year. Book a ferry to Sardinia with Ferry Travels and enjoy a ‘dream’ vacation.