Sardinia is one of Europe’s most ancient lands, and, while there may not be many traces of this left, has been inhabited since the Paleolithic period. Sardinia gave birth to a number of unique cultures and traditions, and while these may have ended up merging over time, leading to the striking island that we know today, its ancient spirit stands strong, giving the island a special aura of individuality.
Sardinia used to be home to the ancient Nuragic civilization, and they left behind a number of different complexes that are scattered all over the island. These archaeological sites transport your mind back to the domestic life and ancient rituals of the past, and are monuments that are truly unique to the world. The Barumini complex, an ancient village situated in the province of Cagliari, is one of the most visited Nuragic sites in Sardinia, and has even been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Cagliari is also home to an ancient amphitheatre that dates all the way back to the 2nd Century AD. Carved out of rock, this ancient arena can accommodate around 10,000 people, and is used these days as a gloriously dramatic stage for summertime opera performances.
While Sardinia may not boast many high peaks, it is actually a mountainous land that has been eroded down over time. One of the best ways to truly experience the ancient soul of Sardinia is by visiting some of its untouched areas of natural beauty, as these little pockets of paradise are reminiscent of what the whole island would have been like in the past. Gennargentu is a mountainous range that is rich in many different varieties of flora and fauna, and is also home to Sardinian deer, golden eagles, and various other species that are being threatened with extinction all over the world. The Gennargentu National Park encompasses the best of the region, from its white sandy beaches to its gorgeous bays, and there are trails crisscrossing their way throughout, providing you with the ideal way to explore the ancient beauty of the island.
Local foods are always a great way to literally have a taste of another culture, and Sardinia’s local flavors have definitely been touched by its ancient past. Sardinia is still largely an agricultural island, meaning that fresh and local food is available just about wherever you go. The island’s shepherds provide it with fresh cheese and meat, while the population of fishermen always have a bounty of freshly caught fish. Fresh fruit and vegetables are available everywhere, as are the deliciously tangy local olives. The Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the healthiest in the world, and the exceptionally good health of the Sardinian population is a testament to this, so be sure to learn as much as possible about the Sardinian diet when on the island.
Sardinia’s ancient past makes the island all the more alluring today. From the thousands of historical monuments scattered throughout the country, to the delicious local cuisine that offers a tantalizing taste of the island’s heritage, the ancient spirit of Sardinia can be found all over the country, as long as you are looking for it.