Sardinia: Wikis


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Did you know ...

  • the entrance to Neptune's Grotto (pictured) in Sardinia lies only around a meter (3 ft) above the sea, so the cave can only be visited when the waters are calm?
  • the olive cultivar Bosana makes up more than half the olive production of Sardinia?
  • consumers of casu marzu, a Sardinian cheese, are advised to wear eye protection while enjoying it, since the live maggots inhabiting the cheese can jump 15 cm?

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

—  Autonomous region of Italy  —


Coat of arms
Country Italy
Capital Cagliari
 - President Ugo Cappellacci (PdL)
 - Total 24,090 km2 (9,301.2 sq mi)
Population (2008-10-31)
 - Total 1,670,219
 Density 69.3/km2 (179.6/sq mi)
 - Demonym Sardinian
Citizenship [1]
 - Italian 98%
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
GDP/ Nominal € 34 billion (2007)
GDP per capita € 20,627 PPP (2009)

Sardinia (pronounced /sɑrˈdɪniə/; Italian: Sardegna, [sarˈdeɲɲa]; Sardinian: Sardigna or Sardinnya [sar'dinja]) is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily). It is an constitutional autonomous 'Regione' of Italy,and the nearest land masses are (clockwise from north) the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Tunisia, and the Spanish Balearic Islands.

The name Sardinia is a Latin creation possibly based on that of the dominant indigenous ethnic group, called the Sardi/Sardini in Latin, and ultimately may be from the ethnic group of the Shardana (which see).



A beach near Olbia.

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 23,821 km². It is situated between 38° 51' and 41° 15' latitude north and 8° 8' and 9° 50' east longitude.

The coasts of Sardinia (1,849 km long) are generally high and rocky, with long, relatively straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, many inlets, and with various smaller islands of the coast.

The island has an ancient geoformation and, unlike the mainland of Italy and Sicily, not earthquake-prone, being nonseismic. Its rocks date from the Palaeozoic Era (up to 500 million years old). Due to long erosion processes the island's highlands, formed of granite, schist, tranchite, basalt (called "jars" or "gollei"), sandstone and dolomite limestone (called tonneri or "heels"), average at between 300 to 1,000 metres. The highest peak is Punta La Marmora (1,834 m), part of the Gennargentu ranges in the center of the island. Other mountain chains are Monte Limbara (1,362 m) in the north east, the Chain of Marghine and Goceano (1,259 m) running crosswise for 40 km (24.85 mi) towards the north, the Monte Albo (1057 meters), the Sette Fratelli Range in the south east, and the Sulcis Mountains and the Monte Linas (1236 meters) in the south west. The island's ranges and plateaus are separated by wide alluvial valleys and flatlands, the main ones being the Campidano in the southwest between Oristano and Cagliari, and the Nurra in the northwest.

Sardinia has few major rivers, the largest being the Tirso, 151 km (93.83 mi) long, which flows into the Sea of Sardinia, the Coghinas (115 km) and the Flumendosa (127 km). There are 54 artificial lakes and dams which supply water and electricity. The main ones are Lake Omodeo and Lake Coghinas. The only natural freshwater lake is Lago di Baratz. A number of large, shallow, salt-water lagoons and pools are located along the 1,850 km (1,149.54 mi) of the coastline.

The climate is typical of the Mediterranean. During the year there are approximately 300 days of sunshine, with a major concentration of rainfall in the winter and autumn, some heavy showers in the spring, and snowfalls in the highlands. The mistral from the northwest is the dominant wind on and off throughout the year, though it is most prelavent in winter and spring. It can blow quite strongly, but it is usually dry and cool, and makes for a sailor's paradise.


Su Nuraxi nuragic site.


Sardinia is one of the most geologically ancient bodies of land in Europe. Though evidence of human visits date from the Palaeolithic period, permanent settlemetns only appear much later in the Neolithic age, around 6,000 BC.

The first people to settle in northern Sardinia probably came from the Italian mainland via Corsica, particularly from Etruria (present-day Tuscany), while those who populated the central region of the island around the salt lakes of Cabras and St Giusta may have arrived from the Iberian Peninsula by way of the Balearic Islands. The settlements founded around the Gulf of Cagliari seem to be of various origins.[citation needed]

Evidence of trade with Aegean (Eastern Mediterranean) centres is present in the period 1600 BC onwards; for example fine ceramic products from Cydonia have been recovered in Sardinia.[citation needed] As time passed, the different Sardinian peoples appear to have became united in language and customs, yet remained divided politically as various small, tribal groupings, at times banding together, and at others waging war against each other. Habitations consisted of round thatched stone huts, similar to those of present-day shepherds.[citation needed]

From about 1500 BC onwards, villages were built around the round tower-fortresses called nuraghi (Northern Sardinian nuraghes, Southern Sardinian nuraxis, plurals of nuraghe and nuraxi respectively), which were often reinforced and enlarged with battlements. The boundaries of tribal territories were guarded by smaller lookout nuraghi erected on strategic hills commanding a view of other territories. Today some 7,000 nuraghi dot the Sardinian landscape.

Ancient history

The Phoenician town of Tharros.

Around 1000 BC the Phoenicians began visiting Sardinia with increasing frequency, presumably initially needing safe over-night and/or all-weather anchorages along their trade routes from the coast of modern-day Lebanon as far afield as the African and European Atlantic coasts and beyond, including Britain[citation needed]. The most common ports of call were Caralis, Nora, Bithia, Sulcis, Tharros, Bosa and Olbia. These soon became important colonies, inhabited by Phoenician traders and their families who traded overseas and with the Sardinians[citation needed].

In 509 BC, as Phoenician expansion became ever more dominating, the Sardinians attacked the coastal cities held by the enemy, who, in order to defend themselves, called upon their fellow Phoenecians in Carthage for help. The Carthaginians, after a number of military campaigns, overcame the Sardinians and conquered the mountainous interior. For 271 years, the Carthaginian or Punic civilization flourished alongside the local culture.

In 238 BC the Carthaginians, as a result of their defeat by the Romans in the first Punic War, surrendered Sardinia to Rome. Sardinia became a Roman province, and the existing coastal cities were enlarged and embellished, while Coloniae such as Turris Lybissonis and Feronia were founded. These were populated by Roman immigrants. The Roman military occupation brought the Nuragic civilization to an end. Despite campaigns into the central mountain ranges, called by the Romans Barbaria (Modern Sardinian Barbargia), Roman domination of the center of Sardinia was never more than nominal. Roman domination of Sardinia lasted 694 years, however it was often opposed by the Sardinians in the mountainous regions, even though even here the Latin language came to dominate, though not Latin civilisation.

Medieval history

Statue of Giudicessa Eleanor of Arborea in Oristano.

In 456 A.D., when the Roman Empire was in rapid decline, the Vandals, on their return from a raid in Latium on the mainland Italy, occupied Caralis along with the other coastal cities of Sardinia. In 534 the Vandals were defeated in the Battle of Tricamarum by the troops of Justinian, and Sardinia thus became Byzantine, returning to the Roman Empire as part of the Eastern Roman Empire.

The island was divided into districts called merèie, governed by a judge residing in Caralis (Cagliari) and garrisoned by an army stationed in Forum Traiani (nowadays Fordongianus) under the command of a dux. With the Byzantines came Christianity, which spread throughout the island, along with the monasticism of the followers of St. Basil), except in the Barbagia region. Here, towards the end of the 6th century, a short-lived independent kingdom established itself, with local heathen religious traditions. One of its kings was Ospitone.[citation needed]

Raids and attacks by the Moors and Berbers on the Sardinian shores began in 710 and grew ever more intense with time. The coastal inhabitants abandoned the seaside towns and cities. The provincial "judge", in order to provide a better defence of the island, established regional civil and military powers in the hands of four lieutenants, in the Cagliari, the Torres or Logudoro, the Arborea, and the Gallura. Around 900, the lieutenants gained their independence, becoming judices (Sardinian judike, giudixi, "king") of their own logo "state" (lit. place).

Each one of these four states was an independent kingdom where a King or Queen was the head of state, but where the kingdom was not the property of the monarch. They were at the same time democratic, since all the most important issues of national interest were decided by the representatives of the people gathered in an assembly called corona de logu. Each kingdom manned its own fortifications along its boundaries to protect its own political and trading affairs, parliament, laws (recorded in the cartas de logu "kingdom charters"), language, chancelleries, state emblems and symbols, etc.[citation needed]

The Kingdom of Cagliari was allied to the Republic of Genoa. It was brought to an end in 1258 when its capital, St Igia, was stormed and destroyed by an alliance of Sardinian and Pisan forces. The territory then briefly became a colony of the Pisa.

The kingdom of Torres was also allied to the Republic of Genoa and came to an end in 1259 on the death of the judikessa (queen) Adelasia. The territory was divided up between the Doria family of Genoa and the Basserra family of Arborea, while the city of Sassari became an autonomous city-republic.

The Kingdom of Gallura ended in the year 1288, when the last giudice, Nino Visconti (a friend of Dante Alighieri), was driven out by the Pisans, who occupied the territory.

The Kingdom of Arborea had a longer life compared to the other kingdoms. It lasted some 520 years and had Oristano (Aristanis in Sardinian) as its capital. The kingdom was called Arborea after its coat of arms, which featured a green uprooted tree on a white field. The history of Arborea is entwined with the history of the Sardinian struggle for independence against Aragonese invasion.

In 1297, Pope Boniface VIII established on his own initiative (motu proprio) a hypothetical regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae ("Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica") in order to settle the War of the Vespers diplomatically. This had broken out in 1282 between the Angevins and Aragonese over the possession of Sicily. The Pope offered this newly created crown to James II, the King of Aragon, promising him support should he wish to conquer Pisan Sardinia in exchange for Sicily.

In 1323 the king of Arborea formed an alliance with James II of Aragon against the Pisans, despite being aware of the Aragonese plans to take control of Sardinia, because they saw the Pisans as a bigger threat. It is also important to remember that the kings of Arborea descended in part from an Aragonese family. The Aragonese flag appeared on the Arborean coat of arms and flags along with the uprooted tree until the later conflict between Arborea and Aragon escalated. Following a military campaign which lasted a year or so, the Aragonese occupied the Pisan territories of Cagliari and Gallura along with the city of Sassari, naming them "The Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica". However, soon the king of Arborea started to wage war against the Aragonese, having his own plans to unite Sardinia as one independent kingdom.

The first king of Arborea to actively pursue the plan to unite Sardinia under the rule of Arborea was Barisone The First. He managed to be crowned King of Sardinia by the Holy Roman Empire emperor Fredrick "Barbarossa" The First in 1164. However, in order to obtain the title of King of Sardinia, Barisone the First had taken out a loan from the Republic of Genoa that he was unable to pay back. For this reason, he was imprisoned by the Republic of Genoa and was detained for 7 years. Barisone never succeeded in uniting Sardinia under his rule because of his financial problems.

When the other Giudicati had been taken over by foreign powers, the kings of Arborea started to see themselves as the legitimate defenders of Sardinian rule and Sardinian interests. They not only waged war against the Kings of Aragon, who were trying to conquer all of Sardinia, they also formalised the legal and political institutions that were the basis of their statehood and independence, such as by promulgating the legal code of the kingdom in the Carta de Logu (in Sardinian "The Charter if the Land"). The Carta de Logu was originally compiled by Mariano IV of Arborea, and was amended and updated by Mariano's daughter, Queen Eleanor of Arborea. The legal code was written in Sardinian and:

established a whole range of citizens' rights. Among the revolutionary concepts in this Carta de Logu was the right of women to refuse marriage and to own property. In terms of civil liberties, the code made provincial 14th century Sardinia one of the most developed societies in all of Europe [2].

In the Carta de Logu it is clear that the kings and queens of Arborea saw themselves as the legitimate rulers of Sardinia: they stated very clearly that the Carta de Logu applied to the whole of Sardinia, not just to their dominions, and that it had been established to guarantee the well-being and development of the Sardinian state and its people.

In 1353 Peter IV of Aragon, following Aragonese custom, granted a parliament to the kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica, which was followed in due course by some degree of self-government under a viceroy and judicial independence. This parliament, however, had some very limited powers. It consisted of the military (high-ranking military commanders), the clergy and the nobility. The kingdom of Aragon also introduced the feudal into the areas of Sardinia ruled by it.

The Sardinian kingdoms never adopted feudalism, and the Kingdom of Arborea maintained its parliament called the "Corona de Logu". In this parliament, apart from the nobles and military commanders, also sat the representatives of each township and village. The Corona de Logu exercised some control over the king: under the rule of the "bannus consensus" the king could be deposed or even killed if he did not follow the rules of kingdom.

From 1365 to 1409 the Arborean giudici Mariano IV, Ugone III, Mariano V (assisted by his mother Eleonora, the famous giudicessa regent), and Guglielmo III (the French grandson of Eleonora) succeeded in occupying all of Sardinia except the heavily fortified towns of the Castle of Cagliari (today simply Cagliari) and Alghero, which for years were the only Aragonese dominions in Sardinia. The Giudicato of Arborea and its monarchs received a great deal of support from many Sardinians of all classes, partly because many Sardinians were strongly against the feudal system that the Kingdom of Aragon introduced in its domains.

In 1409 Martin I of Sicily, king of Sicily and heir to the crown of Aragon, defeated the Sardinians at the Battle of Sanluri (Sa battalla de Seddori in Sardinian). The battle was fought by about 20,000 Sardinians, who had taken up arms voluntarily at a time when the population of Sardinia had been greatly depleted by the plague (and therefore 20,000 Sardinians represented a very considerable number). Despite the Sardinian army outnumbering the Aragonese army, they were defeated. It is estimated that about 5,000 Sardinians were killed in the battle. A field near Sanluri is still known to this day as S'Occidroxiu ("the massacre place").

The kingdom of Arborea finally surrendered only after some of its most notable men switched sides in exchange for privileges. For example, Leonardo Cubello, with some claim to the crown being from a family related to the Kings of Arborea, was granted the title of Marquis of Oristano and feudal rights on a territory that partly overlapped with the original extension of the Kingdom of Arborea in exchange for his subjection to the King of Aragon.

The successes of the Kingdom of Aragon were marred by the death of the heir to the Aragon crown, Martin I of Sicily, who died in Cagliari (where he is buried) of malaria contracted during the military campaign against the Kingdom of Arborea. Consequently the Crown of Aragon passed to a different dynasty, the Trastàmaras, to Ferdinand I of Aragon and his descendants thorugh the Compromise of Caspe in 1412.

The conquest of Sardinia by the Kingdom of Aragon and the consequent loss of independence also meant the introduction of the feudal system throughout Sardinia. Thus Sardinia is probably the only European country where feudalism was introduced in the transition period from the Medieval to the Modern Era, at a time when feudalism had already been abandoned by many other European countries.

Modern history

In 1479, as a result of the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabel of Castile, the "kingdom of Sardinia" (which was separated from Corsica) became Spanish, with the state symbol of the Four Moors. Following the failure of the military ventures against the Muslims of Tunis (1535) and Algiers (1541), Charles V of Spain, in order to defend his Mediterranean territories from pirate raids by the African Berbers, fortified the Sardinian shores with a system of coastal lookout towers.

Map of Sardinia-Piedmont, 1836.

The kingdom of Sardinia remained Spanish for approximately 400 years, from 1323 to 1720, assimilating a number of Spanish traditions, customs, and linguistic expressions, nowadays vividly portrayed in the folklore parades of Saint Efisio in Cagliari (May 1), the Cavalcade on Sassari (last but one Sunday in May), and the Redeemer in Nuoro (August 28).

During the terrible famine of 1680, some 80,000 persons, out of a total population of 250,000, are said to have died, and entire villages were devastated.[2]

In 1708, as a consequence of the Spanish War of Succession, the rule of the kingdom of Sardinia passed into the hands of the Austrians who landed on the island. In 1717 Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, minister of Felipe V of Spain, reoccupied Sardinia. In 1718, with the Treaty of London, Sardinia was handed over to the House of Savoy.

On 28 April 1794, during an uprising in Cagliari, two Piedmontese officials were killed. That was the start of a revolt (called the Moti rivoluzionari sardi) all over the island, which culminated in the expulsion of the tyrants. On 28 December 1795 in Sassari insurgents demonstrating against feudalism, mainly from the region of Logudoro, occupied the city. On 13 February 1796, in order to suppress a riot, the viceroy Filippo Vivalda gave to the Sardinian magistrate Giovanni Maria Angioy the role of Alternos, which meant a substitute of the viceroy himself. Angioy moved from Cagliari to Sassari, and during his journey almost all the villages joined the uprising, demanding an end to feudalism and for the independence of Sardinia's people.

In 1799, as a consequence of the Napoleonic wars in Italy, the Dukes of Savoy left Turin and took refuge in Cagliari for some fifteen years. In 1847 the Sardinians spontaneously renounced their state autonomy and formed a union with Piedmont in order to have a single parliament, a single magistracy, and a single government in Turin.

In 1848 the Italian Wars of Independence broke out for the Unification of Italy and were led by the kings of Sardinia for thirteen years. In 1861 Sardinia joined the newly founded Kingdom of Italy.

During the First World War the Sardinian soldiers of the Brigata Sassari distinguished themselves, several being decorated with gold medals and other honors. It was the first and only Italian military unit constituted exclusively from Sardinian soldiers.

The Sardinian writer Grazia Deledda won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926.

During the fascist period, and implementation of the policy of autarky, several swamps were reclaimed around the island and agrarian communities founded. The main communities were in the area of Oristano, where the village of Mussolinia (now called Arborea) was located, and in the area adjacent the city of Alghero, within the region of Nurra, Fertilia was founded. Also established during that time was the city of Carbonia, which became the main center of mining activity. Works to dry the numerous waste lands and the reprise of mining activities favored the arrival of settlers and immigrants, at first from Veneto, and after World War II Istrians and Dalmatians from territories lost to Yugoslavia.

The repression by the fascist regime of its opponents within the region was ruthless. Antonio Gramsci, one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party, was arrested and died in prison. Michele Schirru was executed after a failed assassination plot against Benito Mussolini.

Postwar period

In 1946 by popular referendum Italy became a republic, with Sardinia administered since 1948 by special statute of autonomy.

By 1951, malaria was successfully eliminated with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, which facilitated the commencement of the Sardinian tourist boom, mainly focused on beach holidays and elite tourism. Today about ten million people visit the island every year.

With the increase in tourism, coal decreased in importance. In the 1950s and 1960s the greatest Sardinian migration began. However, in the early 1960s an industrialization effort was commenced, the so-called Piani di Rinascita (rebirth plans), with the initiation of major infrastructure projects on the island. These included the construction of new dams and roads, reforestation, agricultural zones on reclaimed marshland, and large industrial complexes (primarily oil refineries and related petrochemical operations). With the creation of petrochemical industries, thousands of ex-farmers became industrial workers. Nevertheless, the 1973 oil crisis caused the termination of employment for thousands of workers employed in the petrochemical industries.

Santo Stefano's former NATO Naval Base

The economic crisis, unemployment, and the forced militarization of the island territory (70% of Italian military bases were located in Sardinia) aggravated the crime rate, with increasing kidnappings and political subversion. Communist groups flourished, the most famous being Barbagia Rossa, which perpetrated several terrorist actions between the 1970s and the early 1980s.

In 1983 a militant of an autonomist party, the Sardinian Action Party (Partito Sardo d'Azione), was elected president of the regional parliament, and in the 1980s several separatist movements were born; in the 1990s some of them became political parties, and in 2006 in the Province of Sassari the first separatist militant was elected. In 1999 Sardinian received official status together with Italian.

Today Sardinia is phasing in as an EU region, with a diversified economy focused on tourism and the tertiary sector. The economic efforts of the last twenty years have reduced the handicap of insularity, especially in the fields of low-cost air travel and advanced information technology. For example, the CRS4 (Center for Advanced Studies, Research and Development in Sardinia) developed the first Italian website in 1991 and webmail in 1995. CRS4 allowed several telecommunication companies and internet service providers based on the island to flourish, such as Videonline in 1994 and Tiscali in 1998.

A G8 summit was planned to be held in Sardinia, on the island of La Maddalena, in July 2009. However in April 2009, the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, decided, without convoking the Italian parliament or consulting the governor of Sardinia, to move the summit, even though the works were almost completed, to L'Aquila, provoking protests among Sardinians that the autonomous status of Sardinia had been violated.


Petrochemical industries in Porto Torres.

Taken as a whole, Sardinia's economic conditions are such that the island is in the best position of southern regions. The greatest economic development has taken place inland, in the provinces of Cagliari and Sassari, characterized by a certain amount of enterprise. According to Eurostat, the 2007 GDP was €33,823.2 million, resulting in a €20,627 GDP per capita, in 2009.

The Sardinian economy is penalised due to high costs of transportation of goods and electricity, which is double compared to the continental Italian regions. Sardinia is the only Italian region that produces surplus of electricity, which supply power to the region, and not imports power from abroad, whereas the problem the region had encountered was insufficient transmission links as it is an island situated over 100 km from the mainland [3]. In 2009 the new submarine power cable Sapei entered into operation, it links the Fiume Santo Power Station, in Sardinia, to the converter stations in Latina, in the Italian peninsula, the SACOI is another submarine power cable that links Sardinia to Italy, crossing Corsica, from 1965. The under construction submarine gas pipeline GALSI, will link Algeria to Sardinia and further Italy, in 2012.

The unemployment rate is higher than the national average, but lower than the South Italy regions.

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Gross domestic product nominal
(Million €)
25,958.1 27,547.6 28,151.6 29,487.3 30,595.5 31,421.3 32,579.0 33,823.2
GDP per capita PPP
15,861.0 16,871.4 17,226.5 17,975.7 18,581.0 19,009.8 19,654.3 20,444.1
A pie chart showing the economic sectors percentages in the Sardinian economy: 8.7% the primary sector (fishing, agriculture, farming), 23.5% the secondary sector (industry, machinery, manufacturing), and 67.8% the tertiary sector (tourism, services, finance).

The primary sector is still of outstanding importance, especially goat and sheep rearing (good production of cheese). Agriculture has been modernized on the Campidano plain (vegetables, citrus, rice), and Sardinian wines are famous. There is little fishing (and no real maritime tradition), but the once prosperous mining industry is still active though restricted to coal (Carbonia, Bacu Abis), antimony (Villasalto), gold (Furtei), bauxite (Olmedo) and lead and zinc (Iglesiente, Nurra). The granite extraction represents one of the most flourishing industry in the northern island. The Gallura granite district is composed of 260 companies that work in 60 quarries, where 75% of the Italian granite is extracted. The cork district, in the northern part of the Gallura region, around Calangianus and Tempio Pausania, is composed of 130 companies and has become the driver of Sardinian economic development. Every year in Sardinia 200,000 quintals of cork are carved, and 40% of the end products are exported. Fishing along the coasts is also an important activity on the island. Portoscuso tunas are exported worldwide, but primarily to Japan.

The principal industries are chemicals (Porto Torres, Cagliari, Villacidro, Ottana), petrochemicals (Porto Torres, Sarroch), metalworking (Porto Scuso, Porto Vesme, Villacidro), cement (Cagliari), pharmaceutical (Sassari), shipbuilding (Arbatax, Olbia, Porto Torres), oil rig construction (Arbatax), and food (sugar refineries at Villasor and Oristano, dairy at Arborea, Macomer and Thiesi, fish factory at Olbia). Craft industries include rugs, jewellery, textile, lacework , basket making, and coral.

The Sardinian economy is today focused on the overdeveloped tertiary sector (67.8% of employment), with commerce, services, information technology, public administration and especially on tourism, which represents the main industry of the island with 2,721 active companies and 189,239 rooms. In 2008 there were 2,363,496 arrivals (up 1.4% on 2007). In the same year, the airports of the island registered 11,896,674 passengers (up 1.24% on 2007)[4].



A319 of Sardinian airline Meridiana Fly .

Sardinia has three international airports (Alghero Airport, Olbia - Costa Smeralda Airport, and Cagliari-Elmas Airport) connected with the principal Italian cities and many European destinations, mainly in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Spain, and Germany, and two regional airports (Oristano-Fenosu Airport and Tortolì Airport). Internal air connections between Sardinian airports are limited to a single daily Cagliari-Olbia flight. Sardinian citizens benefit from special sales on plane tickets, and several low-cost air companies operate on the island. Meridiana Fly is an airline based in the airport of Olbia; it was founded as Alisarda in 1963 by the Aga Khan, Prince Karim al-Hussayni. The development of the Meridiana airlines followed the development of the resort village of Porto Cervo in the north east part of the island,a well known vacation spot among billionaires and movie stars worldwide.

Ship transport

Corsica-Sardinia Ferries.

The ferry companies operating on the island are Tirrenia di Navigazione, Moby Lines, Corsica Ferries, Grandi Navi Veloci, Snav, SNCM, and CMN; they link the Sardinian harbors of Porto Torres, Olbia, Golfo Aranci, Arbatax, Santa Teresa Gallura, Palau and Cagliari with Civitavecchia, Genoa, Livorno, Naples, Palermo, Trapani, Piombino in Italy, Marseille, Toulon, Bonifacio, Propriano and Ajaccio in France, and Barcelona in Spain. A regional ferry company, the Saremar, links the main island to the islands of La Maddalena and San Pietro.


public bus in 1907

Sardinia is the only Italian region without motorways, but the road network is well developed, with a system of "superstrade" (dual carriage freeways), that connect the principal towns and the transport infrastructures; the speed limit is 90 km/h. The principal road is the SS131 "Carlo Felice", linking the north with the south of the island, crossing the most populated regions of Sassari and Cagliari; it is part of European route E25. The SS 131 d.c.n links Oristano with Olbia, crossing the hinterland Nuoro region. Other roads designed for high-capacity traffic link Sassari with Alghero, Sassari with Tempio Pausania, Sassari - Olbia, Cagliari - Tortolì, Cagliari - Iglesias, Nuoro - Villagrande Strisaili. A work in progress is converting the main routes to highways standards, with the elimination of all intersections. The secondary inland and mountain roads are generally narrow with many hairpin turns, so the speed limits are very low. Public transport buses reach every town and village at least once a day; however, due to the low density of population, the smallest territories are reachable only by car. The Azienda Regionale Sarda Trasporti (Arst) is the public regional bus transport agency.


Alstom Minuetto in Cagliari railway station

The Sardinian railway system was developed in the 19th century, by the English engineer Lord Benjamin Piercy. Trains connect the whole island, and there are two different railway operators. Trenitalia is the largest, connecting the largest towns, the main ports, and also the Italian peninsula through the use of train ferries. This network is the most modern on the island, running primarily diesel locomotives such as the Alstom "Minuetto" and, from 2012, speed tilting trains such as the Spanish CAF Class 598. The second operator is ARST Gestione FdS, best known as Ferrovie della Sardegna (Sardinian Railways), running on narrow-gauge track, and they are generally very slow, except the electrified Tram-trains, operating in the metropolitan areas of Sassari and Cagliari. Many tourists catch the trenino verde, which runs through the wildest parts of the island. It is slow but allows the traveller to have scenic views impossible to see from the main road.


Sardinia has become Europe’s first region to fully adopt the new television broadcasting standard. From the 1st of November 2008 TV channels are broadcast only in digital [5].


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1861 609,000
1871 636,000 4.4%
1881 680,000 6.9%
1901 796,000 17.1%
1911 868,000 9.0%
1921 885,000 2.0%
1931 984,000 11.2%
1936 1,034,000 5.1%
1951 1,276,000 23.4%
1961 1,419,000 11.2%
1971 1,474,000 3.9%
1981 1,594,000 8.1%
1991 1,648,000 3.4%
2001 1,632,000 −1.0%
2008 (Est.) 1,670,000 2.3%
Source: ISTAT 2001

With a population density of 69 pop./km2, slightly more than a third of the national average, Sardinia is the fourth least populated region in Italy. The population distribution is anomalous compared to that of other Italian regions lying on the sea. In fact, contrary to the general trend, urban settlement has not taken place primarily along the coast but towards the centre of the island. Historical reasons for this include repeated Saracen raids during the Middle Ages (making the coast unsafe), widespread pastoral activities inland, and the swampy nature of the coastal plains (reclaimed only in the 20th century). The situation has reversed with the expansion of seaside tourism; today all Sardinia's major urban centres are located near the coasts, while the island's interior is very sparsely populated.

It is the Italian region with the lowest total fertility rate[6] (1.087 births per woman), and the region with the second lowest birth rate[7]; these factors, together with the high level of urbanization of population, allow the preservation of the greater part of the natural environment. However the population is increased, in the last years, due to immigration, mainly, from East Europe, Africa, China and Latin America.

Average life expectancy is 81.1 years (84.5 for women[8] and 77.7 for men[8]). Sardinia shares with the Japanese island of Okinawa the highest rate of centenarians in the world (22 centenarians/100,000 inhabitants).

Main Towns

Genetic peculiarities

Haplogroup I Distribution in Europe

Sardinians do not constitute a homogeneous population from a genetic point of view [9]. Compared to other European and Mediterranean populations, Sardinians are distinguished by genetic characteristics.[10] . About 42% of the Sardinians belong to Y-chromosome haplogroup I, which is otherwise frequently encountered only in Scandinavia, Northern Germany and the Dalmatia-Bosnia-Montenegro-Serbia area.
The Subclade I-M26 of the Haplogroup I is almost unique to the island, with small numbers of it being found among the population of Basque Country, Castile, the department of Béarn and Brittany in France, England, Sweden and Corsica.

Furthermore, the I haplogroup of the indigenous Sardinians is of the I1b1b subtype, which is almost unique to the island. The I1b1b haplogroup also has a low distribution in and around the Pyrenees indicating some migration of Sardinians to or from that area. The Sardinian subtype is more closely related to the Dalmatian-Bosnian-Serb subtype than to the Scandinavian subtype. The second most common Y-chromosome haplogroup among Sardinian male population is the haplogroup R1b (22% of the total population) mainly present in the northern part of the island , Gallura in particularly (37%) . Sardinia also has a relatively high distribution of Y-chromosome haplogroup G (15%), stemming from people that migrated to Sardinia from Anatolia[citation needed]. The Y-chromosome haplogroup G also has a relatively high concentration in and around the Pyrenees and the Alps , again indicating migration of Sardinians to or from that area.[citation needed]Other haplogroups show lower frequencies.

Government and politics

Sardinia is one of the five italian autonomous regions, along with Valle d'Aosta, Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Sicily; however, of the 5, Sardinia is the only region administered by special statute of autonomy. This statute, second only to the Italian Constitution, gives the region the right to create its own laws in a wide number of domains and to carry out regional administrative functions.

The regional administration is constituted by three authorities:

  • the Regional Council (legislative power)
  • the Regional Junta (executive power)
  • the President (chief of executive power)

Administrative divisions

Administrative bilingual map of Sardinia

Until 2005, Sardinia had been divided into four provinces: Cagliari, Nuoro, Oristano and Sassari. In 2005 the Regional Council decided to create four new provinces becoming operative with the provincial elections for the Presidents and the Councils held in 2006. The four additional provinces are as follows: Carbonia-Iglesias, Medio Campidano, Ogliastra, Olbia-Tempio.

Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Cagliari 4,570 559,416 122.4
Province of Carbonia-Iglesias 1,495 130,538 87.3
Province of Medio Campidano 1,516 103,107 68.0
Province of Nuoro 3,934 161,453 41.0
Province of Ogliastra 1,854 58,088 31.3
Province of Olbia-Tempio 3,399 153,886 45.2
Province of Oristano 3,040 167,357 55.0
Province of Sassari 4,282 336,374 78.5


A Issohadore and Mamuthones, traditional carnival costumes of Mamoiada.

Sardinia is one of two Italian regions whose inhabitants have been recognised as a popolo (a distinct people) by a local statute (which is adopted with a constitutional law). (The other region is Veneto, but this was not through a constitutional law).


Language Map of Sardinia.
A No Smoking sign in both Sardinian and Italian.

The most spoken languages in Sardinia are Sardinian and Italian. Sardinian is a Romance language of Latin origin, influenced by Catalan, Spanish and indigenous (Nuraghe) elements with some roots from Phoenician and Etruscan.[citation needed] While it has been significantly supplanted by Italian for official purposes, in 2006 the regional administration has approved the use of Limba Sarda Comuna[11] in official documents. As a literary language, it is gaining clout, despite heated debate about the lack of standard orthography and controversial proposed solutions to this problem.

The two most widely spoken forms of the Sardinian languages are Campidanese, from the flatlands (Campidano) that cover most of the south (from Cagliari to Oristano), and Logudorese (Logudoro), from the central region, extending almost to Sassari.


Sardinia is home to one of the oldest forms of vocal polyphony, generally known as cantu a tenore; several famous musicians have found it irresistible, including Frank Zappa, Ornette Coleman, and Peter Gabriel. The latter travelled to the town of Bitti in the central mountainous region and recorded the now world-famous Tenores di Bitti CD on his Real World label. The guttural sounds produced in this form make a remarkable sound, similar to Tuvan throat singing. Another polyphonic style of singing, more like the Corsican paghjella and liturgic in nature, is found in Sardinia and is known as cantu a cuncordu.

Another unique instrument is the launeddas. Three reed-canes (two of them glued together with beeswax) producing distinctive harmonies, which have their roots many thousands of years ago, as demonstrated by the bronzette from Ittiri, of a man playing the three reed canes, dated to 2000 BC.

Beyond this, the tradition of cantu a chiterra (guitar songs) has its origins in town squares, when artists would compete against one another. The most famous singer of this genre are Maria Carta and Elena Ledda.

Sardinian culture is alive and well, and young people are actively involved in their own music and dancing. In 2004, BBC presenter Andy Kershaw travelled to the island with Sardinian music specialist Pablo Farba and interviewed many artists. His programme can be heard on BBC Radio 3. Sardinia has produced a number of notable jazz musicians as Antonello Salis, Marcello Melis, and Paolo Fresu.

The main opera house of the island is the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari.


A picture showing a lavish Sardinian wedding cake.
A range of different cakes, pastries, meals, dishes and sweets which are common elements of Sardinian cuisine.

Rock lobster, scampi,botargo, squid, tuna, sardines and other seafood figure prominently in Sardinian cuisine. Suckling pig and wild boar are roasted on the spit or boiled in stews of beans and vegetables, thickened with bread. Herbs such as mint and myrtle are used. Much Sardinian bread is made dry, which keeps longer than high-moisture breads. Those are baked as well, including civraxiu, coccoi pinatus, a highly decorative bread and pistoccu made with flour and water only, originally meant for herders, but often served at home with tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic and a strong cheese.[12]


Cagliari is home to Cagliari Calcio, which was founded in 1920 and plays in the Serie A, the Italian top division. It won the Italian Championship after the 1969/70 season, becoming the first club in Southern Italy to achieve such a result. Home matches are played at the Stadio Sant' Elia, named after the area where it is located, with a capacity of 23,486. It was built in 1970 and refurbished before the Italia '90 football World Championships.

Rally d' Italia in Gallura (2008)

Sardinia also boasts a fine darts tradition, which many believe originated in the Sassari region of the country towards the end of the 15th century. In those days, the darts were carved from Beech (Fagus) wood and the flights were feathers drawn from the indigenous pollo sultano, a bird famed for its spectacular violet-blue plumage.

In the Province of Sassari is located the Mores Raceway, the only FIA Circuit homologated by CSAI (Cars) and the IMF (Motorcycles), in Sardinia.

Cagliari hosted a Formula 3000 race in 2002 and 2003 on a 2.414-km street circuit around Sant'Elia stadium. In 2003, Renault F1's Jarno Trulli and former Ferrari's Jean Alesi did a spectacular exhibition. At the Grand Prix BMW-F1 driver Robert Kubica took part in a F.3 car, as did BMW WTCC Augusto Farfus, GP2's Fairuz Fauzy and Vitaly Petrov. Since 2004 Olbia has hosted the Rally d'Italia Sardegna, a rally competition in the FIA World Rally Championship schedule. The rally is held on narrow, twisty, sandy and bumpy mountainous roads around the glamorous town of Porto Cervo. Cagliari hosts regular international regattas, such RC44 championship, Farr 40 World championship and Audi MedCup; all series in which are competing current America's Cup contenders like BMW Oracle Racing, Mascalzone Latino and Emirates Team New Zealand. The Louis Vuitton Cup 2010 will be held in Sardinia, in the Maddalena archipelago.

Sant' Elia Stadium in Cagliari

Porto Pollo, north of Palau, is a bay often used by windsurfers and kitesurfers. The bay is divided by a thin tongue of land that separates it in an area for advanced and beginning/intermediate windsurfers. There is also a restricted area for kitesurfers. Many Italian freestyle surfers come to Porto Pollo for training and 2007 saw the finale of the freestyle pro kids Europe 2007 contest. Because of a venturi-effect between Sardinia and Corsica, western wind accelerates between the islands and creates the wind that makes Porto Pollo popular amongst windsurfing enthusiasts. In 2005, Aglientu, hosted the Kitesurf World Cup in the Vignola's beach.
Sa Istrumpa, also known as Sardinian Wrestling, is a traditional Sardinian sport, officially recognized by the Italian National Olympic Committee (C.O.N.I.) and International Federation of Celtic Wrestling (I.F.C.W.) [13] .

World Heritage Sites

Megalithic building structures called nuraghe are scattered in great number throughout Sardinia. Su Nuraxi di Barumini is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[14]


A wind farm in Sedini (SS)
Paeonia of Gennargentu, flower symbol of Sardinia.

Sardinia is home to a wide variety of rare or uncommon animals and autochthonous plants and animals, such as many species of mammals: the Mediterranean Monk Seal, the Giara's Horse, the Albino Donkey, the Mouflon, the Sardinian Deer, the sardinian fox, and the boar. Found only in Sardinia, Sicily, and the Maghreb, the Sardinian skink (Chalcides ocellatus), known more commonly as the tiligugu, can reach 30 cm (12 in) in length, of which almost half consists of the tail. Conversely, Sardinia lacks many common species such as the viper and the marmot, which are found everywhere else on the European continent. The island has also long been used for grazing flocks of indigenous Sardinian sheep. Sardinia has four endemic subspecies of birds found nowhere else in the world: its Great Spotted Woodpecker (ssp harterti), Great Tit (ssp ecki), Chaffinch (ssp sarda), and Eurasian Jay (ssp ichnusae). It also shares a further 10 endemic subspecies of bird with Corsica. In some cases Sardinia is a delimited part of the species range. For example, the subspecies of Hooded Crow, Corvus cornix ssp cornix occurs in Sardinia and Corsica, but no further south.[15]

The island has some environmental laws, and after an enormous plan of reforestation has become the Italian region with the largest forest extension, with 1,213,250 hectares of woods [16] . The Regional Landscape Plan prohibits new building activities on the coast (except in urban centers), next to forests, lakes or other environmental or cultural sites and the Coastal conservation agency ensures the protection of natural areas on the Sardinian coast. Renewable energies have increased noticeably in recent years [17] , mainly wind power, favoured by the windy climate, but also solar power (Carlo Rubbia, Nobelist in physics, is creating an experimental solar thermal energy central) and biofuel, based on Jatropha oil and Colza oil.

Natural parks and reserves

National and Regional Parks of Sardinia.

Sardinia has three national parks [3]:

Ten regional parks:

  • 4. Parco del Limbara
  • 5. Parco del Marghine e Goceano
  • 6. Parco del Sinis - Montiferru
  • 7. Parco del Monte Arci
  • 8. Parco della Giara di Gesturi
  • 9. Parco del Monte Linas - Oridda - Marganai
  • 10. Parco dei Sette Fratelli - Monte Genas
  • 11. Parco del Sulcis
  • Parco naturale regionale di Porto Conte
  • Parco regionale Molentargius - Saline

There are 60 wildlife reserves, 5 W.W.F oases, and 25 natural monuments.

See also


  1. ^ Statistiche demografiche ISTAT
  2. ^ Dyson, Stephen L; Rowland, Robert J (2007). Archaeology and history in Sardinia from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages: shepherds, sailors, & conquerors. Philadelphia: UPenn Museum of Archaeology, 2007. p. 136. ISBN 1934536024. 
  3. ^ "". 
  4. ^ "Il turismo in Sardegna è cresciuto anche nel 2008 - Regione Autonoma della Sardegna". Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  5. ^ "Digitale Terrestre Parte in Sardegna lo switch-off" (in Italian). NonSoloCinema. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  6. ^ ISTAT Numero medio di figli per donna per regione 2002-2005
  7. ^ ISTAT Tassi generici di natalità, mortalità e nuzialità per regione 2002-2005
  8. ^ a b ISTAT Speranza di vita alla nascita per sesso e regione 2002-2005
  9. ^ Sardinian Population (Italy): a Genetic Review, International Journal of Modern Anthropology. 2008 (page 55)
  10. ^ Sardinian Population (Italy): a Genetic Review, International Journal of Modern Anthropology. 2008
  11. ^
  12. ^ Piras, 457, 460.
  13. ^ International Federation of Celtic wrestling,
  14. ^ UNESCO, 2008
  15. ^ Hooded Crow: Corvus cornix,, ed, N. Stromberg
  16. ^ Sardegna prima per superficie forestale e assorbimento di Co2. May 2007 . [1]
  17. ^ Sardinia: A natural lab for renewable energy, Sardegna Rocerche


  • UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription data for Su Nuraxi di Barumini (2008) [4]

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Italy : Sardinia

Sardinia (Sardegna) [1] is a large island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, between the Balearic islands and the Italian peninsula and south of Corsica. It is one of the regions of Italy.

The sea from Capo Sandalo, in a natural reserve on San Pietro Island, south of Sardinia
The sea from Capo Sandalo, in a natural reserve on San Pietro Island, south of Sardinia
  • Budoni - where you will find one of the most beautiful Mediterranean sea
  • San Teodoro - one of the most important seaside resorts of the island
  • The Punic and Roman archaeological sites of Nora and Tharros
  • Bosa - Small but beautiful medieval town
  • Stintino A small fishing village on the North-Western tip of Sardinia which boasts one of the finest beaches in the whole of Sardinia - La Pelosa
  • Iglesias and the Sulcis are undiscovered treasures of art and sea. While near Iglesias, visit the mines, and hear the history of Sardinian miners. Do not forget to go and see the lovely Santa Barbara cove
  • Cala Gonone and the beaches that can be reached from there only by boat


Along with standard Italian, Sardinians speak one of the dialects of Sardinian language (similar to Latin). In Alghero they also speak Catalan.

Get in

The following budget airlines can get you there cheaply: [2], Ryanair [3], Easyjet [4], [5], [6], Meridiana [7] and SkyEurope [8].

Sardatur Holidays [9] operates a weekly chartered flight between the UK and Cagliari.

By plane

There are airports near Cagliari, Alghero and Olbia.

By boat

There are ferry services to Cagliari (south coast), Porto Torres (north coast), and Olbia, Golfo Aranci and Arbatax (east coast).

Have a look at Ferriesonline [10] or the state owned ferry service Tirrenia [11] and the private companies Moby Lines [12], Sardinia Ferries [13], Grimaldi [14], Snav [15].

Daily ferries link Northern Sardinia with Corsica (it is possible to take a day trip to Bonifacio, Corsica) from Santa Teresa di Gallura.

Get around

By car

While it is possible to get around Sardinia by bus and train, doing so may well limit how fast you travel and where you go. If you can, hire a car. It is well worth the outlay, and it will allow you to visit some of the more remote and enchanting places and areas.

Beware the way locals drive: racing along the narrow and bendy roads in the hills. The speed limit signs are almost always ignored. A lot of the roads are narrow, winding and often deserted, and because of this oncoming drivers may not expect to encounter other vehicles.

By bus

Regular, cheap buses between the main centres: Cagliari, Sassari, Alghero, Nuoro etc. You may end up changing buses (or trains) in Macomer. Less frequent buses, but worth persevering for the smaller villages.

By sailboat

Sailing is one of the best way to see Sardinia. Most charters offers many solutions from bareboat to crewed and cabin charter, with all the type of the boats.

By train

Regular trains from the edge of Alghero to Sassari and from Sassari to Cagliari, although buses are usually quicker. Change at Macomer for trains or buses to Nuoro. Less frequent trains on this and other routes.

In the summer period, twice a week, there's a small train that travels from Sassari to Tempio and back. It runs especially for tourists and is highly recommended.


While you can find most major hotel chains in Sardinia, the better way to really enjoy a stay in the island is to find a local hotel. Most accommodations are located near the coast, but also internal regions offer great opportunities.

  • Chia Laguna Resort, Località Chia, 09010 Domus de Maria, Cagliari - Cerdeña, +39 070 92391 (, fax: +39 070 9230144), [17]. Chia Laguna Resort is a luxury resort, located along the south-west coast of Sardinia.  edit


The traditions and habits are very strong. You will not get any pizzas in restaurants before 7PM, furthermore be aware that you will get nothing to eat in restaurants between 4PM and 7PM, besides 'panini' that is usually a cold sandwich with ham and cheese. The exception may be some tourist-oriented restaurants in tourist-oriented places.

  • Porcheddu is a local specialty of inner Sardinia, it's a young pig roasted in a special manner over a wood fire with an aromatic local shrub called mirto. The pig is basted frequently.
  • Try the Culurgiones. They are similar to Ravioli (made with typical pasta of Ogliastra) with a filling of potatoes, 'Pecorino' cheese (sheep's milk cheese), egg, onion, mint and garlic - available in many Sardinian restaurants.
  • Malloreddus are a type of gnocchi that are served al dente with a tomato, meat or cheese sauce.
  • Stufato di capretto is a rich casserole made from kid goat, artichokes, wine and also egg.
  • Try the mediterranean fish (pesce azzurro). Look for a fish market in any small coast town and buy early in the morning, cook and eat: it's simply fantastic barbecued.
  • A Seada (pl. Seadas or Sebadas), typical of Barbagia, is a dessert similar to Ravioli. It comprises of a characteristic filling of fresh cheese and lemon rind, and melts when Seada is cooked. It must be fried and served with honey.
  • There are numerous types of Sardinian bread and pastries, with specialties such as Carasau (a type of thin crispy bread), sponge biscuits and almond pastries.
  • There are a number of Pizzerias serving fresh, stone oven baked authentic style pizzas as well as pasta dishes.
  • Cannonau is a very strong red wine. Beware!
  • Mirto is an alcoholic drink that's a local speciality. It is made of wine spirit flavoured with the berries of mirto, a local shrub.
  • Fil'e ferru is another alcoholic local speciality. Its name means "iron wire" because in the XIXth century it was clandestinely distilled and hidden in small holes covered with soil. Only a small iron wire came out from the soil, to remember where the bottles were hidden.
  • Limoncello is a sweet drink made with lemon rind, usually best served chilled. It is widely produced in locally.
  • Vernaccia di Oristano is a high alcoholic wine produced in Oristano zone. It's a special wine to drink with pastry.
  • Vermentino di Sardegna is light wine with a strong minerally taste.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SARDINIA (Gr. 'IXvovaa, from a fancied resemblance to a footprint in its shape, Ital. Sardegna), an island of the Mediterranean Sea, belonging to the kingdom of Italy. It lies 72 m. S. of Corsica, from which it is separated by the Strait of Bonifacio, which is some 50 fathoms deep. The harbour of Golfo degli Aranci, in the north-eastern portion of the island, is 138 m. S. W. of Civitavecchia, the nearest point on the mainland of Italy. Sardinia lies between 8° 7' and 9° 49' E., and extends from 38° 52' to 41° 15' N. The length from Cape Teulada in the S.W. to Punta del Falcone in the N. is about 160 m., the breadth from Cape Comino to Cape Caccia about 68 m. The area of the island is 9187 sq. m. - that of the department (compartimento), including the small islands adjacent, being 9294 sq. m. It ranks sixth in point of size (after Sicily) among the islands of Europe, but it is much more sparsely populated.

The island is mountainous in the main, almost continuously so, indeed, along the east coast, and very largely granitic, with a number of lofty upland plains in the east, and volcanic in the west. The highest point in the north-east group of the island (called Gallura) is Monte Limbara (4468 ft.), S.E. of Tempio. This mountain group is bounded on the S.E. and S.W. by valleys, which are followed by the railways from Golfo degli Aranci to Chilivani, and from Chilivani to Sassari. The north-western portion of the island, called the Nurra, lies to the west of Sassari and to the north of Alghero, and is entirely volcanic; so are the mountains to the south of it, near the west coast; the highest point is the Monte Ferru (3448 ft.). East of the railway from Chilivani to Oristano, on the other hand, the granitic mountains continue. The highest points are Monte Rasu (4127 ft.), S. of Ozieri, in the district called Logudoro, on the chain of the Marghine, which runs to Macomer, and, farther S., in the region called Barbargia, the Punta Bianca Spina, the highest summit of the chain of Gennargentu (6016 ft.). These two groups are divided by the deep valley of the Tirso, the only real river in Sardinia, which has a course of 94 m. and falls into the sea in the Gulf of Oristano. South of Gennargentu, in the district of the Sarcidano, is the Monte S. Vittoria (3980 ft.), to the west of which is the deep valley of the Flumendosa, a stream 76 m. long, which rises south of Gennargentu, and runs S.E., falling into the sea a little north of Muravera on the east coast. Still farther W. is the volcanic upland plain of the Giara (1998 ft.) and south of the Sarcidano are the districts known as the Trexenta, with lower, fertile hills, and the Sarrabus, which culminates in the Punta Serpeddi (3507 ft.), and the Monte dei Sette Fratelli (3333 ft.), from the latter of which a ridge descends to the Capo Carbonara, at the S.E. extremity of the island. South of Oristano and west of the districts last described, and traversed by the railway from Oristano to Cagliari, is the Campidano (often divided in ordinary nomenclature into the Campidano of Oristano and the Campidano of Cagliari), a low plain, the watershed of which, near S. Gavino, is only about loo ft. above sea-level. It is 60 m. long by 7-14 broad, and is the most fertile part of the island, but much exposed to malaria. South-west of it, and entirely separated by it from the rest of the island, are the mountain groups to the north and south of Iglesias, the former culminating in the Punta Perda de Sa Mesa or Monte Linas (4 0 55 ft.), and the latter, in the district known as the Sulcis, reaches 3661 ft. It is in this south-western portion of the island, and more particularly in the group of mountains to the north of Iglesias, that the mining industry of Sardinia is carried on.

The scenery is fine, but wild and desolate in most parts, and of a kind that appeals rather to the northern genius than to the Italian, to whom, as a rule, Sardinia is not attractive. The railway between Mandas and Tortoli traverses some of the boldest scenery in the island, passing close to the Monte S. Vittoria. The mountains near Iglesias are also very fine.

Table of contents


The coast of Sardinia contains few seaports, but a good proportion of these are excellent natural harbours. At the northeastern extremity is a group of islands, upon one of which is the naval station of La Maddalena: farther S.E. is the well-protected Gulf of Terranova, a part of which, Golfo degli Aranci, is the port of arrival for the mail steamers from Civitavecchia, and a port of call of the British Mediterranean squadron. To the south of Terranova there is no harbour of any importance on the east coast (the Gulf of Orosei being exposed to the E., and shut in by a precipitous coast) until Tortoli is reached, and beyond that to the Capo Carbonara at the south-east extremity, and again along the south coast, there is no harbour before Cagliari, the most important on the island. In the south-west portion of Sardinia the island of S. Antioco, joined by a narrow isthmus and a group of bridges to the mainland, forms a good natural harbour to the south of the isthmus, the Golfo di Palmas; while the north portion of the peninsula, with the island of S. Pietro, forms a more or less protected basin, upon the shores of which are several small harbours (the most important being Carloforte), which are centres of the export of minerals and of the tunny fishery. Not far from the middle of the west coast, a little farther S. than the Gulf of Orosei on the east coast, is the Gulf of Oristano, exposed to the west winds, into which, besides the Tirso, several streams fall, forming considerable lagoons. For some way beyond the only seaport is Bosa, which has only an open roadstead; and at the southern extremity of the Nurra come the Gulf of Alghero and the Porto Conte to the W., the latter a fine natural harbour but not easy of ingress or egress. The northern extremity of the Nurra, the Capo del Falcone, is continued to .the N.N.E. by the island of Asinara, about 11 m. in length, the highest point of which, the Punta della Scomunica, is 1339 ft. high. This small island serves as a quarantine station. On the mainland, on the south shore of the Golfo dell' Asinara, is the harbour of Porto Torres, the only one of any importance on the north-west coast of Sardinia.


Geologically Sardinia consists of two hilly regions of Pre-Tertiary rock, separated by a broad depression filled with Tertiary deposits. This depression runs nearly from north to south, from the Gulf of Asinara to the Gulf of Cagliari. Physically its continuity is broken by Monte Urticu and several smaller hills which rise within it, but these are all composed of volcanic rock and are the remains of Tertiary volcanoes. It is in the south that the depression remains most distinct and it is there known as the Campidano. In the north it forms the plain of Sassari. Both to the east and to the west of this depression the Archean and Palaeozoic rocks which form the greater part of the island are strongly folded, with the exception of the uppermost beds, which belong to the Permian system. In the eastern region this was the last folding which has affected the country, and the Mesozoic and Tertiary beds are almost undisturbed. In the western region, on the other hand, all the Mesozoic beds are involved in a later system of folds; but here also the Tertiary beds lie nearly horizontal. There were, therefore, two principal epochs of folding in the island, one at the close of the Palaeozoic era which affected the whole of the island, and one at the close of the Mesozoic which was felt only in the western region. Corresponding with this difference of structure there is also a difference in the geological succession. In the western region all the Mesozoic systems, including the Trias, are well developed. The Trias does not belong, as might have been expected, to the Alpine or Mediterranean type; but resembles that of Germany and northern Europe. In the eastern region the Trias is entirely absent and the Mesozoic series begins with the Upper Jurassic.

Granite and Archean schists form nearly the whole of the eastern hills from the Strait of Bonifacio southwards to the Flumendosa river, culminating in Monti del Gennargentu. The Palaeozoic rocks form two extensive masses, one in the south-east and the other in the south-west. They occur also on the extreme north-western coast, in the Nurra. Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian beds have been recognized, the Upper Cambrian consisting of a limestone which is very rich in metalliferous ores (especially galena and calamine). The Permian, which contains workable coal seams, lies unconformably upon the older beds and seems to have been deposited in isolated basins (e.g. at Fondu Corrongiu and San Sebastiano), like those of the Central Plateau of France. The Mesozoic beds are limited in extent, the most extensive areas lying around the Gulf of Orosei on the east and west of Sassari in the north. The Tertiary deposits cover the whole of the central depression, where they are associated with extensive flows of lava and beds of volcanic ash. The most widely spread of the sedimentary beds belong to the Miocene period.' Climate. - The climate of Sardinia is more extreme than that of Italy, but varies considerably in different districts. The mean winter temperature for Sassari for1871-1900was 48° F., the mean summer temperature 73° F., while the mean of the extremes reached in each direction were 99° F. and 31.5° F. The island is subject to strong winds, which are especially felt at Cagliari owing to its position at the south-east end of the Campidano, and the autumn rains are sometimes of almost tropical violence. The lower districts are hot and often unhealthy in the summer, while the climate of the mountainous portion of the island is less oppressive, and would be still cooler if it possessed more forest. There are comparatively few streams and no inland lakes. Snow hardly ever falls near the coast, but is abundant in the higher parts of the island, though none remains throughout the summer. The rainfall in the south-west portion of the island is considerably greater than in other districts. The mean annual rainfall for Sassari for1871-1900was 24.45 in., the average number of days on which rain fell being 109, of which 37 were in winter and only 8 in summer - the latter equal with Palermo, but lower than any other station in Italy.


The island has a bad reputation for malaria, due to the fact that it offers a considerable quantity of breeding places for the Anopheles claviger, the mosquito whose bite conveys the infection. Such are the various coast lagoons, formed at the mouths of streams ' See A. de la Marmora, Voyage en Sardaigne, vol. iii. (1857); T. C. Bornemann, " Die Versteinerungen des Cambrischen Schichtensystems der Insel Sardinien," Nova Acta k. L-C. Akad. Naturf. vol. li. (1886), pp. 1-148, pls. i.-xxxiii., and ib. vol. lvi. (1891), pp. 4 2 7-5 28, pls. xix.-xxviii.; A. Tornquist, " Ergebnisse einer Bereisung der Insel Sardinien," Sitz. k. preuss. Akad. Wiss. (1902), pp. 808-829, and " Der Gebirgsbau Sardiniens and seine Beziehungen zu den jungen, circum-mediterranen Faltenziigen," ib. (1903), pp. 685-699 A. Dannenberg, " Der Vulkanberg Mte Ferru in Sardinien," Neues Jahrb. f. Min. Beil. Bd. xxi. (1906), pp. 1-62, pl. i.

for lack of proper canalization, while much of the harm is also due to the disforestation of the mountains, owing to which the rains collect in the upland valleys, and are brought down by violent torrents, carrying the soil with them, and so impeding the proper drainage and irrigation of these valleys, and encouraging the formation of unhealthy swamps; moreover, the climate has become much more tropical in character. The mortality from malaria in 1902 was higher than for any other part of Italy-1037 persons, or 154 per 100,000 (Basilicata, 141; Apulia, 104; Calabria, 77; Sicily, 76; province of Rome, 27). 27).

Customs and Dress

The population of Sardinia appears (though further investigation is desirable) to have belonged in ancient times, and to belong at present, to the so-called Mediterranean race (see G. Sergi, La Sardegna, Turin, 1907). In the aeneolithic necropolis of Anghelu Ruju, near Alghero, of 63 skulls, 53 belong to the" Mediterranean " dolico-mesocephalic type and i o to a Eurasian brachycephalic type of Asiatic origin, which has been found in prehistoric tombs of other parts of Europe. The race has probably suffered less here than in most parts of the Mediterranean basin from foreign intermixture, except for a few Catalan and Genoese settlements on the coast (Alghero and Carloforte are respectively the most important of these); and the population in general seems to have deteriorated slightly since prehistoric times, the average cranial capacity of the prehistoric skulls from the Anghelu Ruju being 1490 c.c. for males and 1308 for females, while among the modern population 60% of males and females together fall below 1250 c.c.; and the stature is generally lower than in other parts of Italy, as is shown by the measurements of the recruits (R. Livi, Antropometria Militare, Rome 1896). Anthropologists, indeed, have recently observed a large proportion of individuals of exceptionally small stature, not found in Sardinia only, but elsewhere in south Italy also; though in Sardinia they are distributed over the whole island, and especially in the southern half. In the province of Cagliari 2 9.99% of the recruits born in 1862 were under 5 ft. 1 in., and in that of Sassari 21.99%, the percentage for ten provinces of south Italy being 24.35. These small individuals present apparently no other differences, and Sergi maintains that the difference is racial, these being the descendants of a race of pygmies who had emigrated from central Africa. But the lowness of stature extends to the lower animals - cattle, horses, donkeys, &c. - and this may indicate that climatic causes have some part in the matter also, though Sergi denies this.

The dialects differ very much in different parts of the island, so that those who speak one often cannot understand those who speak another, and use Italian as the medium of communication. They contain a considerable number of Latin words, which have remained unchanged. The two main dialects are that of the Logudoro in the north and that of Cagliari in the south of the island.

The native costumes also vary considerably. In the south-east they have largely gone out of use, but elsewhere, especially in the mountainous districts, they are still habitually worn. In the Barbargia the men have a white shirt, a black or red waistcoat and black or red coat, often with open sleeves; the cut and decorations of these vary considerably in the different districts. They have a kind of short kilt, stiff, made of black wool, with a band from back to front between the legs; under this they wear short linen trousers, which come a little below the knee, and black woollen leggings with boots. They wear a black cap, about 12 ft. long, the end of which falls down over one side of the head. In other districts the costume varies considerably, but the long cap is almost universal. Thus at Ozieri the men wear ordinary jackets and trousers with a velvet waistcoat; the shepherds of the Sulcis wear short black trousers without kilt and heavy black sheepskin coats, and the two rows of waistcoat buttons are generally silver or copper coins. The costume of the women is different (often entirely so) in each village or district. Bright colours (especially red) are frequent, and the white chemise is an integral part of the dress. The skirts are usually of the native wool (called orbacia). For widows or deep mourning the peculiar cut of the local costume is preserved, but carried out entirely in black. The native costume is passing out of use in many places (especially among the women, whose costume is mere elaborate than that of the men), partly owing to the spread of modern ideas, partly owing to its cost; and in the Campidano and in the mining districts it is now rarely seen. The curious customs, too, of which older writers tell us, are gradually dying out. But the festivals, especially those of mountain villages or of pilgrimage churches, attract in the summer a great concourse of people, all in their local costumes. There may be seen the native dances and break-neck horse-racesthe riders bareback - through the main street of the village. The people are generally courteous and kindly, the island being still comparatively rarely visited by foreigners, while Italians seem to regard it as almost a place of exile. They have the virtues and defects of a somewhat isolated mountain race - a strong sense of honour and respect for women, of hospitality towards the stranger, and a natural gravity and dignity, accompanied by a considerable distrust of change and lack of enterprise. Despite their poverty begging is practically unknown. The houses are often of one storey only. Chimneys are unknown in the older houses; the hearth is in the centre of the chief room, and the smoke escapes through the roof. In the mountain villages the parish priest takes the lead among his people, and is not infrequently the most important person.

Agriculture.- -The rest of the island is mainly devoted to agriculture; according to the statistics of 1901, 151,853 individuals out of a total rural population of 708,034 (i.e. deducting the population of Cagliari and Sassari) are occupied in it. Of these 41,661 cultivate their own land, 15,408 are fixed tenants, 24,031 are regular labourers, and no less than 72,753 day labourers; while there are 35,056 shepherds. Emigration is a comparatively new phenomenon in Sardinia, which began only in 1896, but is gaining ground. A considerable proportion of the emigrants are miners who proceed to Tunis, and remain only a few years, but emigration to America is increasing.

Much of the island is stony and unproductive; but cultivation has not been extended nearly as much as would be possible, and the implements are primitive. Where rational cultivation has been introduced, it has almost always been by non-Sardinian capitalists. Two-fifths of the land belongs to the state, and two-fifths more to the various communes; the remaining fifth is minutely subdivided among a large number of small proprietors, many of whom have been expropriated from inability to pay the taxes, which, considering the low value of the land, are too heavy; while the state is unable to let a large proportion of its lands. Comparatively little grain is now produced, whereas under the republic Sardinia was one of the chief granaries of Rome. The Campidano and other fertile spots, such as the so-called Ogliastra on the east side of the island, inland of Tortoli, the neighbourhood of Oliena, Bosa, &c., produce a considerable quantity of wine, the sweet, strong, white variety called Vernaccia, produced near Oristano, being especially noteworthy. Improved methods are being adopted for protecting vines against disease, and the importation of American vines has now ensured immunity against a repetition of former disasters. The cultivation of the vine prevails far more in the province of Cagliari than in that of Sassari, considerable progress having been made both in the extent of land under cultivation and in the ratio of produce to area. The entire island produced 28,613,000 gallons of wine in the year 1899 and 19,809,000 in 1900. In 1902 the production fell to 13,491,517 gallons; in 1903 it was 26,997,680; in 1904 it reached the phenomenal figure of 63,105,577 gallons, of which the province of Cagliari produced 53,995,362 gallons; in 1905 it fell to 36,700,000, of which the province of Cagliari produced 32,500,000 gallons. Though much land previously devoted to grain culture has been planted with vines, the area under wheat, barley, beans and maize is still considerable. Most of the soil, except the rugged mountain regions, is adapted to corn growing. In 1896 the grain area was 380,000 acres, a slight diminution having taken place since 1882. The yield of corn varies from six to ten times the amount sown. In 1902 the total production of wheat in the island was 2,946,070 bushels, but in 1903 it rose to 4,823,800 bushels, in 1904 it fell to 4,015,020, and in 1905 rose again to 4,351,987 bushels, 81 of the whole production of Italy. The cultivation of olives is widespread in the districts of Sassari, Bosa, Iglesias, Alghero and the Gallura. The government, to check the decrease of olive culture in Sassari, has offered prizes for the grafting of wild olive trees, of which vast numbers grow throughout the island. Tobacco, vegetables and other garden produce are much cultivated; cotton could probably be grown with profit.

The houses of the Campidano are mostly built of sun-dried unbaked bricks. The ox-wagons with their solid wheels, and the curious water-wheels of brushwood with earthenware pots tied on to them and turned by a blindfolded donkey, are picturesque. Both European and African fruit trees grow in the island; there are in places considerable orange groves, especially at Milis, to the north of Oristano. The olive oil produced is mainly mixed with that from Genoa or Provence, and placed on the market under the name of the latter. Among the natural flora may be noted the wild olive, the lentisk (from which oil is extracted), the prickly pear, the myrtle, broom, cytisus, the juniper. Large tracts of mountain are clothed with fragrant scrub composed of these and other plants.' The higher regions produce cork trees, oaks, pines, chestnuts, &c., but the forests have been largely destroyed by speculators, who burned the trees for charcoal and potash, purchasing them on a large scale from the state. This occurred especially in the last half of the 19th century, largely owing to the abolition of the so-called beni ademprivili. These were lands over which, in distinction front the other feudal lands, rights of pasture, cutting of wood, &c. &c., existed. When, in 1837, the baronial fiefs were suppressed by Charles Albert, and the land transferred to the state, the ademprivio was maintained on the lands subject to it, and it was thus to the interest of all that 'The herb y Sardoa, said to cause the risus Sardonicus (sardonic laugh), cannot be certainly identified (Pausanias x. 17, 13).

the woods should be maintained. In 1865, however, it was suppressed, and one half of the beni ademprivili was assigned to the state, the other half being given to the communes, with the obligation of compensating those who claimed rights over these lands. The state, which had already sold not only a considerable part of the domain land, but a large part of the beni ademprivili, continued the process, and the forests of Sardinia were sacrificed; and, as has been said, the necessity of reafforestation, of the regulation of streams, and of irrigation' is urgent. Laws to secure this object have been passed, but funds are lacking for their execution on a sufficiently large scale. Another difficulty is that Italian and foreign capitalists, have produced a great rise in prices which has not been compensated by a rise in wages. Native capital is lacking, and taxation on unremunerative lands is, as elsewhere in Italy, too heavy in proportion to what they may be expected to produce, and not sufficiently elastic in case of a bad harvest.


A considerable portion of Sardinia, especially in the higher regions, is devoted to pasture. The native Sardinian cattle are small, but make good draught oxen. A considerable amount of cheese is manufactured, but largely by Italian capitalists. Sheep's milk cheese (pecorino) is largely made, but sold as the Roman product. Horses are bred to some extent, while the native race of donkeys is remarkably small in size. Pigs, sheep and goats are also kept in considerable numbers. Whereas in 1881 Sardinia was estimated to possess only 157,000 head of cattle, 478,000 sheep and 165,000 goats, the numbers in 1896 had increased to 1,159,000 head of cattle, 4,960,000 sheep and 1,780,000 goats. The nomadic system prevails in the island. Breeding is unregulated and natural selection prevails. A more progressive form of pastoral industry is that of the tanche (enclosed holdings), in which the owner is both agriculturist and cattle raiser. On these farms the cultivation of the soil and the rearing of stock go hand in hand, to the great advantage of both. Nevertheless the idea of the value of improving breeds is gaining ground. Good cattle for breeding purposes are being imported from Switzerland and Sicily, and efforts are likewise being made to improve the breed of horses, which are bought mainly for the army. The opportunity of utilizing the wool for textile industries has not yet been taken, though Sardinian women are accustomed to weave strong and durable cloth. Everywhere capital and enterprise are lacking. Agricultural products require perfecting and fitting for export.

Of wild animals may be noted the moufflon (Ovis Ammon), the stag, and the wild boar, and among birds various species of the vulture and eagle in the mountains, and the pelican and flamingo (the latter coming in August in large flocks from Africa) in the lagoons.


The tunny fishery is considerable; it is centred principally in the south-west. The sardine fishery, which might also be important, at present serves mainly for local consumption. Lobsters are exported, especially to Paris. The coral fishery - mainly on the west coast - has lost its former importance. Neither the tunny nor the coral fishery is carried on by the Sardinians themselves, who are not sailors by nature; the former is in the hands of Genoese and the latter of Neapolitans. The unhealthy lagoons contain abundance of fish. The mountain streams often contain small but good trout.

In Roman times Sardinia, relatively somewhat more prosperous than at present, though not perhaps greatly different as regards its products, was especially noted as a grain-producing country. It is also spoken of as a pastoral country (Diod. v. 15), but we do not hear anything of its wine. Solinus (4, § 4) speaks of its mines of silver and iron, Suidas (s.v.) of its purple and tunny fisheries, Horace (Ars Poet. 375) of the bitterness of its honey. Pausanias (x. 17, § 12) mentions its immunity from wolves and poisonous snakes - which it still enjoys, - but Solinus (l.c.) mentions a poisonous spider, called solifuga, peculiar to the island.


The mining industry in Sardinia is confined in the main to the south-western portion of the island. The mines were known to the Carthaginians, as discoveries of lamps, coins, &c. (now in the museum at Cagliari), testify. The Roman workings too, to judge from similar finds, seem to have been considerable. The centre of the mining district (Metalla of the itineraries) was probably about 5 m. south of Fluminimaggiore, in a locality known as Antas, where are the remains of a Roman temple (Corpus Inscr. Lat. x. 7539), dedicated to an emperor, probably Commodus - but the inscription is only in part preserved. A pig of lead found near Fluminimaggiore bears the imprint Imp. Caes. Hadr. Aug. (C.I.L. x. 8073, 1, 2). After the fall of the Roman Empire the workings remained abandoned until the days of the Pisan supremacy, 3 and were again given up under the Spanish government, especially after the discovery of America. When the island passed to Savoy, in 1720, the mines passed to the state. The government let the mines to contractors for forty years and then took them over; but in the period from 1720 to 1840 only 14,620 tons of galena were extracted and 2772 of lead. In 1840 the freedom of mining was introduced, 2 By the law of 1906 the state has not assumed the responsibility of the construction of reservoirs for irrigation.

3 The Pisan workings are only distinguished from the Roman by the character of the small objects (lamps, coins, &c.) found in them.


Value £.




















Lignite .






Copper .



1 7 0, 2 3 6


the state giving perpetual concessions in return for 3% of the gross production. In 1904-1905, 14,188 workmen were employed in the mines of the province of Cagliari. The following table (from the consular report of 1905) shows the amount and value of the minerals extracted, the whole amount being exported: ,The chief mines are those of Gennamare and Ingurtosu and others of the group owned by the Pertusola Company, Monteponi and Montevecchio. The mining and washing plant is extremely good and largely constructed at Cagliari. The most important minerals are lead and zinc, obtained in lodes in the forms of galena and calamine respectively. In most cases, owing to the mountainous character of the country, horizontal galleries are possible. The Monteponi Company smelts its own zinc, but the lead is almost all smelted at the furnaces of Pertusola near Spezia. Silver has also been found in the district of Sarrabus, iron at S. Leone to the west of Cagliari, and antimony and other metals near Lanusei, but in smaller quantities than in the Iglesias district, so that comparatively little mining has as yet been done there. Lignite is also mined at Bacu Abis, near Gonnesa, and Anthracite in small quantities near Seui.

The salt-pans at Cagliari and of Carloforte are of considerable importance; they are let by the government to contractors, who have the sole right of manufacture, but are bound to sell the salt necessary for Sardinian consumption at 35 centesimi (3d.) per cwt.; the government does not exercise the salt monopoly in Sardinia any more than in Sicily, but in the latter island the right of manufacture is unrestricted. The total production in 1905 was 149,431 tons; the average price of salt for the island in 1905 was 22d. per cwt. (unground), and Is. per cwt. ground; whereas for Italy, where the government monopoly exists, the price is £1, 12s. the cwt.


The total exports of the province of Cagliari in 1905 attained a value of £1,388,735, of which £J50,023 was foreign trade, while the imports amounted to £1,085,514, of which £360,758 was foreign trade. Among the exports may be noticed minerals, wines and spirits, tobacco, hides, live animals; and among the imports, groceries, cotton and cereals. The tonnage of the shipping entering and clearing the ports of the province in 1905 was 1,756,866, of which 352,992 was foreign.


The railway system of Sardinia is in the hands of two companies - the Compagnia Reale delle Ferrovie Sarde, and the Compagnia delle Ferrovie Secondarie della Sardegna. The former company's lines (of the ordinary gauge) run from Cagliari, past Macomer, to Chilivani (with a branch at Decimomannu for Iglesias and Monteponi). From Chilivani the line to Sassari and Porto Torres diverges to the N.W., and that to Golfo degli Aranci to the N.E. The latter company owns narrow-gauge lines from Cagliari to Mandas (whence lines diverge N. to Sorgono and E. to Tortoli, the latter having a short branch from Gairo to Ierzu), from Macomer E. to Nuoro and W. to Bosa, from Sassari S.W. to Alghero, from Chilivani S. to Tirso (on the line between Macomer and Nuoro), and from Monti (on the line from Chilivani to Golfo degli Aranci) N.W. to Tempio. In the south-western portion of the island are several private railways belonging to various mining companies, of which the lines from Monteponi to Portoscuso, and from S. Gavino to Montevecchio, are sometimes available for ordinary passengers. There is also a steam tramway from Cagliari to Quartu S. Elena. The trains are few and the speed on all these lines is moderate, but the gradients are often very heavy.

Communication is thus most wanted with the northern and south-eastern extremities of the island, and between Tortoli and Nuoro, and Nuoro and Golfo degli Aranci. The main road system, which dates from 1828, previous to which there were only tracks, is good, and the roads well engineered; many of them are traversed daily by post vehicles. Some road motor services have been instituted. The total length of the railways is 602 m., and of the roads of all classes 3101 m., i.e. 596 yds. per sq. m.

There is daily steam communication (often interrupted in bad weather) with Civitavecchia from Golfo degli Aranci (the mail route), and weekly steamers run from Cagliari to Naples, Genoa (via the east coast of the island), Palermo and Tunis, and from Porto Torres to Genoa (calling at Bastia in Corsica and Leghorn) and Leghorn direct. A fortnightly line also runs along the west coast of the island from Cagliari to Porto Torres. All these lines (and also the minor lines from Golfo degli Aranci to La Maddalena and from Carloforte to Porto Vesme and Calasetta) are in the hands of the Navigazione Generale Italiana, there being no Sardinian steamship companies. There is also a weekly French service between Porto Torres and Ajaccio in Corsica.


Sardinia is divided into two provinces - Cagliari and Sassari; the chief towns of the former (with their communal population in 1901) are: Cagliari (53,057); Iglesias (20,874); Quartu S. Elena (8510), really a large village; Oristano (7107); Fluminimaggiore (9647); Lanusei (3250); and the total population of the province is 486,767: while the chief towns of the latter are Sassari (38,053); Alghero (10,741); Ozieri (9555); Nuoro (7051); Tempio Pausania (14,573); Terranova Pausania (4348); Porto Torres (4225); and the total population of the province 309,026. The density of population is 85.38 per sq. m. (294.55 for the whole of Italy), by far the lowest figure of any part of Italy.

The archiepiscopal sees of the island are: Cagliari (under which are the suffragan sees of Galtelli-Nuoro, Iglesias and Ogliastra), Oristano (with the suffragan see of Ales and Terralba) and Sassari (under which are the suffragan sees of Alghero, Ampurias and Tempio, Bisarchio and Bosa). The number of monastic institutions in the island is very small.


The number of scholars in the elementary schools for1901-1902was 59.09 per loon (Calabria 42.27, Tuscany 67 09, Piedmont 118.00); the teachers are 1.34 per woo, a total of 1084 of both sexes (among whom only one priest) (Calabria 1.18, Tuscany I 29, Piedmont 2. o), while the rural schools are not buildings adapted for their purpose. In some of the towns, however, and especially at Iglesias, they are good modern buildings. Still, the percentage of those unable to read and write is 72.8, while for the whole of Italy it is 56 o. The male scholars at the secondary schools amounted in 1900 to 2.74 per woo inhabitants. The university of Cagliari, which in1874-1875had only 60 students, had 260 in 1 9 02-1903. At Sassari in the same year there were 162. There are besides in the island 10 gymnasia, 3 lycees, 6 technical and nautical schools and institutes (including a school of mines at Iglesias), and 9 other institutes for various branches of special education. A tendency is growing up towards the extension of technical and commercial education in place of the exclusively classical instruction hitherto imparted. To the growth of this tendency the excellent results of the agricultural schools have especially contributed. , Crime. - For the - years1897-1901statistics show that Sardinia has more thefts and frauds than any other region of Italy (1068.15 for Sardinia and 210.56 per 100,000 inhabitants per annum for the rest of Italy). This is no doubt accounted for by the extreme poverty which prevails among the lower classes, though beggars, on the other hand, are very few, the convictions being 8.95 per 100,000 against 258.15 per 100,000 for the province of Rome. Sardinia has less convictions for serious crimes than any other compartimento of south Italy. Public security is considerably improved, and regular brigandage (as distinct from casual robbery) hardly exists. The vendetta, too, is now hardly ever heard of.


In 1887 a severe banking crisis occurred in Sardinia. Though harmful to the economic condition of the island, it left agriculture comparatively unaffected, because the insolvent institutions had never fulfilled the objects of their foundation. Agricultural credit operations in Sardinia are carried on by the Bank of Italy, which, however, displays such caution that its action is almost imperceptible. An agricultural loan and credit company has been formed on the ruins of the former institutions, but hitherto no charter has been granted it. Institutions possessing a special character are the monti frumentarii, public grain deposits, founded for the purpose of supplying peasant proprietors with seed corn, debts being paid in kind with interest after harvest. But they, too, lack funds sufficient to assure extensive and efficient working, even after the law of 1906. Meantime much evil arises from usury in the poorer districts. It is estimated that Sardinia pays, in local and general, direct and indirect taxation of all kinds, 23,000,000 lire (920,000), a sum corresponding to 35.44 lire per head.

History and Archaeology

The early history of Sardinia is entirely unknown.' The various accounts of Greek writers of the early colonizations of the island cannot be accepted, and it appears rather to have been the case that though there were various schemes formed by Greeks for occupying it or parts of it (e.g. that recorded by Herodotus i. i'70, when it was proposed, after the capture of Phocaea and Teos in 545 B.C., that the remainder of the Ionian Greeks should emigrate to Sardinia) none of them ever came to anything.

On the other hand, the island contains a very large number of important prehistoric monuments, belonging to the Bronze Age,. during which it must have been comparatively well populated. The most conspicuous and important of these are the nuraghi (the word is said to be a corruption of muraglie, i.e. large walls, but it is more probably a native word). Of Nuraghe Lugheras near Paulilatino, or the Nuraghe de S'Orcu near Domusnovas, the entrance may be protected by a regular system of courtyards and subsidiary nuraghi. Roughness of construction cannot be regarded as a proof of antiquity, inasmuch as in some cases we find the additions less well built than the original nuraghe; and it is often clear from the careful work at points where it was necessary that the lack of finer construction was often simply economy of labour. That the simpler forms, on the other hand, preceded those of more complicated plan is probable. The manner of their arrangement seems to indicate clearly that they were intended to be fortified habitations, not tombs or temples. The niche at the entrance, which is rarely wanting, served, no doubt, for the sentry on guard AA FIG. 2.

From Papers of the British School at Rome, v. 92, fig. r.

FIG. 1. - Nuraghe of Voes (Plans and Sections).

these there are, as has been estimated, as many as 6000 still traceable in the island. The nuraghe in its simplest form is a circular tower about 30 ft. in diameter at the base and decreasing in diameter as it ascends; it is built of rough blocks of stone, as a rule about 2 ft. high (though this varies with the material employed); they are not mortared together, but on the inside, at any rate, the gaps between them were often filled with clay. The entrance almost invariably faces south, and measures, as a rule, 5 or 6 ft. in height by 2 in width. The architrave is flat, and there is a space over it, serving both to admit light and to relieve the pressure on it from above, and the size decreases slightly from the bottom to the top. Within the doorway is, as a rule, a niche on the right, and a staircase ascending in the thickness of the wall to the left; in front is another similar doorway leading to the chamber in the interior, which is circular, and about 15 ft. in diameter; it has two or three niches, and a conical roof formed by the gradual inclination of the walls to the centre. It is lighted by the two doorways already mentioned. The staircase leads either to a platform on the top of the nuraghe or, more frequently, to a second chamber concentric with the first, lighted by a window which faces, as a rule, in the same direction as the main doorway. A third chamber above the second does not often occur. The majority perhaps of the nuraghi of Sardinia present this simple type; but a very large number, and, among them, those best preserved, have considerable additions. The construction varies with the site, obviously with a view to the best use of the ground from a strategic point of view. Thus, there may be a platform round the nuraghe, generally with two, three or four bastions, each often containing a chamber; or the main nuraghe may have additional chambers added to it. In a few cases, indeed, we find very complicated systems of fortification - a wall of circumvallation with towers at the corners, protecting a small settlement of nuraghe-like buildings, as in the case of the Nuraghe Losa near Abbasanta and the Nuraghe Saurecci near Guspini; 2 or, as in the It has been widely believed that the Shardana, who occur as foreign mercenaries in Egypt from the time of Rameses II. downwards, are to be identified with the Sardinians; but the question is uncertain. There were certainly no Egyptian colonies in Sardinia; the Egyptian objects and their imitations found in the island were brought there by the Phoenicians (W. H. Roscher, Lexikon der griechischen and romischen Mythologie, ii. 392).

In neither of these cases have the subsidiary buildings been fully traced out. The plan of the former is given by Pinza (op. cit.), and that of the latter by La Marmora (op. cit.). The latter seen from a distance resembles a medieval castle crowning a hill-top.

MfTRtS From Papers of the British School at Rome, v. 97, fig. 3.

FIG. 3. - Nuraghe Aiga (Plan and Section).

and would be on the unprotected side of any one coming in; the door, too, is narrow and low, and closed from within. The approach is, as we have seen, often guarded by additional constructions; the fact that the door and window face south is another argument in favour of this theory, and the access from one part of the interior to another is sometimes purposely rendered difficult by a sudden vertical rise of 5 or 6 ft. in the stairs; while the objects found in them - household pottery, &c. - and near them (in some cases silos containing carbonized grain and dolia) point to the same conclusion. Numerous fragments of obsidian arrow-heads and chips are also found in and near them all over the island. The only place where obsidian is known to be found in Sardinia in a natural state is the Punta Trebina, a mountain south-east of Oristano. The choice of site, too, is decisive. Sometimes they occupy the approaches to tablelands, the narrowest points of gorges, or the fords of rivers; sometimes almost inaccessible mountain tops or important points on ridges; and it may be noticed that, where two important nuraghi are not visible from one another, a small one is interpolated, showing that there was a system of signalling from one to another. Or again, a group of them may occupy a fertile plain, a river valley or a tableland,3 or they may stand close to the seashore. Generally there is, if possible, a water-supply in the vicinity; sometimes a nuraghe guards a spring, or there may be a well in the nuraghe itself.

A final argument is the existence in some cases of a village of circular stone buildings of similar construction to the nuraghi, but only 15 to 25 ft. in diameter, at the foot of a nuraghe, which, like the baronial castle of a medieval town, towered above the settlement.

Those of the Giara are fully described by A. Taramelli and F. Nissardi in Monumenti dei Lincei, vol. xviii.; Nissardi's map of the Nurra, published by G. Pinza, ibid. vol. xi. sqq., may also be consulted.

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FIG. r.-Nuraghe Melas, Near Guspini.




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Photos by Dr T. Ashby. FIG. 3.-Nuraghe Madrone, Near Silanus. Xxiv. 214.

FIG. 4.-Nuraghe Orolo, Near Bordighali.

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They are distributed over the whole island, but are perhaps most frequent towards the centre and in the Nurra. They seem to be almost entirely lacking in the north-east extremity, near Terranova, and in the mountains immediately to the north of Iglesias, though they are found to the north of the Perda de sa Mesa. In the district of Gennargentu they occur, rarely, as much as 3600 ft. above sea-level. The tombs of their inhabitants are of two classes - the so-called tombe dei giganti, or giants' tombs, and the domus de gianas, or houses of the spirits. The former are generally found close to, or at least in sight of, the nuraghe to which they belong. They consist of a chamber about 3-1 ft. or less in height and width, with the sides slightly inclined towards one another, and from 30 to 40 ft., or even more, in length; the sides are composed sometimes of slabs, sometimes of rough walling, while the roof is composed of flat slabs; and the bodies were probably disposed in a sitting position. At the front is a large slab, sometimes carved, with a small aperture in it, through which offerings might be inserted. On each side of this is a curve formed of two rows of -HH a From Papers of the British School at Rome, v. p. up, fig. ix.

FIG. 4. - Giant's Tomb of Srigidanu.

slabs or two small walls; the semicircular space thus formed has a diameter of about 45 ft., and was probably intended for sacrifices. The tomb proper was no doubt covered with a mound of earth, which has in most cases disappeared. Close to these tombs smaller round enclosures, about 4 ft. in diameter, covered with a heap of stones, like a small cairn, may sometimes be seen; these were possibly intended for the burial of slaves or less important members of the tribe. Dolmens (probably to be regarded as a simpler form of the tomba dei giganti, inasmuch as specimens with chambers elongated after their first construction have been found) and menhirs are also present in Sardinia, though the former are very rare - that known as Sa Perda e S'altare, near the railway to the south of Macomer is illustrated by A. Taramelli in Bullettino di Paleoetnologia, xxxii. (1906), 268, but there are others. The latter, however, are widely distributed over the island, being especially frequent in the central and most inaccessible part. The domus de gianas, on the other hand, resemble closely the rock tombs of the prehistoric cemeteries of Sicily. They are small grottos cut in the rock. We thus have two classes of tombs in connexion with the nuraghi, and if these were to be held to be tombs also, habitations would be entirely wanting.' ' The whole question is well dealt with by F. Nissardi in Atti del Congresso delle Scienze Storiche (Rome, 1903), vol. v. (Archeologia), 651 sqq.; cf. Builder, May 18, 1907 (xcii. 589).

Among the most curious relics of the art of the period is a group of bronze statuettes, some found at Uta near Cagliari and others near Teti, west of Fonni, in the centre of the island, of which many specimens are now preserved in the museum at Cagliari.

It is thus clear that in the Bronze Age Sardinia was fairly thickly populated over by far the greater part of its extent; this may explain the lack of Greek colonies, except for Olbia, the modern Terranova, and Neapolis on the cians. - p west coast, which must from their names have been Greek, though we do not know when or by whom they were founded. Pausanias (x. 17. 5) attributes the foundation of Olbia to the Thespians and Athenians under Iolaus, while Solinus (i. 61) states that he founded other cities also. In any case the Phoenician settlements are the earliest of which we have any accurate knowledge. The date of the conquest by Carthage may perhaps be fixed at about 500-480 B.e., following the chronology of Justin Martyr (xviii. 7), inasmuch as up till that period colonization by the Greeks seems to have been regarded as a possible enterprise. The cities which they founded - Cornus, Tharros, Sulci, Nora, Caralesare all on the coast of the island, and it is doubtful to what extent they penetrated into the interior. Even in the ist century ,. B.C. there were still traces of Phoenician influence (Cicero, Pro Scauro, 1 5, 4 2, 45). There are signs of trade with Etruria as early as the 7th century B.C. The Carthaginians made it into an important grainproducing centre; and the Romans set foot in the island more than once during the First Punic War.

In 238 B.C. the Carthaginian mercenaries revolted, and the Romans took advantage of the fact to demand that the island should be given period. up to them, which was done.

The native tribes opposed the Romans, but were conquered after several campaigns; 8 the island became a province under the government of a praetor or propraetor, to whose jurisdiction Corsica was added soon afterwards. A rebellion in 215 B.C., fostered by the Carthaginians, was quelled n. by T. Manlius Torquatus (Livy xxiii. 40).

After this the island began to furnish con siderable supplies of corn; it was treated as a conquered country, not containing a single free city, and the inhabitants were obliged to pay a tithe in corn and a further money contribution. It was classed with Sicily and Africa as one of the main sources of the corn-supply of Rome. There were salt-works in Sardinia too as early as about 150 B.C., as is attested by an inscription assigned to this date in Latin, Greek and Punic, being a dedication by one Cleon salari(us) soc(iorum) s(ervus) (Corp. Inscr. Lat. x. 7856). We only hear of two insurrections of the mountain tribes, in 181, when no less than 80,000 Sardinian slaves 2 were brought to Rome by T. Sempronius Gracchus, and in 114 B.C., when M. Caecilius Metellus was proconsul and earned a triumph after two years' fighting: but even in the time of Strabo there was considerable brigandage. Inscriptions record the boundaries of the territories of various tribes with outlandish names otherwise unknown to us (Corp. Inscr. Lat. x. 7 88 9.7930).

Some light is thrown on the condition and administration of the island in the 1st century B.C. by Cicero's speech (of which a part only is preserved) in defence of M. Aemilius Scaurus, praetor in 53 B.C. Cicero, speaking no doubt to his brief, gives them a very bad character, adding " ignoscent alii viri boni ex Sardinia; credo enim esse quosdam ". (§ 43). In the division of provinces made by The large number of slaves is said to have given rise to the phrase Sardi venales for anything cheap or worthless.

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1 Augustus, Sardinia and Corsica fell to the share of the senate, but in A.D. 6, Augustus, owing to the frequent disturbances, took them over and placed them under a praefectus. Tiberius sent 4000 Jewish and Egyptian freedmen to the island to bring the brigands to submission (Tac. Ann. ii. 85). Later on two cohorts were quartered there and also detachments of the Classis Misenas, as the discharge certificates (tabulae honestae missionis) of the former and tombstones of the latter found in the island' show (C.I.L. x. 777). In A.D. 67 Nero restored Sardinia to the senate (but not Corsica) in exchange for Achaea, and the former was then governed by a legatus pro praetore; but Vespasian took it over again before A.D. 78, and placed it under an imperial procurator as praefectus. It returned to the senate, not before A.D. 83 but certainly before the reign of M. Aurelius, when we find it governed by a proconsul, as it was under Commodus; the latter, or perhaps Septimius Severus, took it over again and placed it under a procurator as praefectus once more (D. Vaglieri in Notizie degli scavi, 1897, 280).

A bronze tablet discovered in 1866 near the village of Esterzili is inscribed with a decree of the time of Otho with regard to the boundaries of three tribes, the Gallienses, Patulienses and Campani, who inhabited the eastern portion of the island. The former tribe had crossed the boundaries of the other two, and was ordered to withdraw immediately under pain of punishment (Corp. inscr. Lat. x. 7852). Carales was the only city with Roman civic rights in Sardinia in Pliny's time (when it received the privilege is unknown) and by far the most important place in the island; a Roman colony had been founded at Turris Libisonis (Porto Torres) and others, later on, at Usellis and Cornus.

We hear little of the island under the Empire, except as a granary and as remarkable for its unhealthiness and the audacity of its brigands. It was not infrequently used as a place of exile.

A number of Roman towns are known to us. Besides those already mentioned, including the Phoenician cities (all of which continued to exist in Roman days) the most important were Bosa (q.v.), Towns Forum Traiani (mod. Fordungianus) (q.v.), Neapolis and and . Othoca (mod. Oristano, q.v.). An interesting group of Roman houses was found in 1878 at Bacu Abis, 5 m. W.

of Iglesias, but has been covered up again (F. Vivanet in Notizie degli scavi, 1878, 271). The name Barbaria for the mountainous district in the east centre of Sardinia, in the district of Nuoro, which still exists in the form Barbargia, goes back to the Roman period, the civitates Barbariae being mentioned in an inscription of the time of Tiberius (Corp. inscr. Lat. xiv. 2954). The Barbaricini are mentioned in the 6th century A.D. by Procopius, who wrongly derives the name from several thousand Moors and Numidians who were banished to the island by the Vandal kings, while Gregory the Great speaks of them in a letter (iv. 23) to Hospito, their chief, as a still pagan race, worshipping stocks and stones. The towns were connected by a considerable network of roads, with a total length of 958 Roman miles according to the Itineraries, the most important of R which ran from Carales to Turris Libisonis (Porto Torres) through the centre of the island, passing Othoca (Oristano) and Forum Traiani. Its line is followed closely by the modern highroad and railway. A portion of its course, however, between Forum Traiani and the modern Abbasanta, is not so followed, and is still well preserved. Its width is as a rule about 24 ft.; at present its surface is formed of rough cobbling, upon which there was probably a gravel layer, now washed away. Several milestones belonging to it have been discovered, including one of the time of Augustus and one of Claudius near Forum Traiani, and one of Nero near Turris Libisonis, though it was probably not completed right through until a later period (T. Mommsen in Corp. inscr. Lat. x. 833; cf. Eph. epigr. viii. 181-183). A branch from this road ran to Olbia (followed closely by the modern highroad and railway also), and was perhaps the main line of communication, though the itineraries state that the road from Carales to Olbia ran through the centre of the island by Biora, Valentia, Sorabile (near Fonni) and Caput Thyrsi.

Many milestones belonging to the road from Carales to Olbia have been found, but all but one of them (which was seen at Valentia) belong to the portion of the road within 12 m. of the latter place, so that they might belong to either line (see Olbia). The distance seems to be identical by either route. The itineraries give it as 176 m. - the exact distance in English miles by the modern railway! The difference between English and Roman miles would be compensated for by the more devious course taken by the railway. Turris Libisonis was also connected with Othoca by a road along the west coast, passing through Tharros, Cornus and Bosa; this road went on to Tibula 2 (Capo della Testa) at the north extremity of the island and so by the coast to Olbia. From Tibula another road ran inland to join the road from Carales to Olbia some 16 m. west of the latter.

' The discharge certificates of sailors from the Classis Misenas and Classis Ravennatis belonged to Sardinians who had returned home after service in those fleets.

2 Excavations made in 1880 at Tibula and Sorabile resulted in the discovery at the former of a necropolis of the late Empire, in which the dead were buried in long amphorae, while at the latter Roman baths were explored (F. Vivanet in Notizie degli scavi, 18 79, 350 1881, 29 sqq.).

judge, in whom the dignity became hereditary. Judices Pisan period. are already mentioned as existing in the account of the mission sent by Nicholas I. in 864 (Duchesne, Liber pontificalis, ii. 162), as though the single authority of the Byzantine iipxuni was already weakened. The three Cipxovms who appear in the loth-century inscriptions just mentioned bear alternately the names Torcotorius and Salusius; and, inasmuch as this is the case with the judices of Cagliari from the 11th to the 13th century, there seems no doubt that they were the successors of these Byzantine ripXovrfs, who were perhaps the actual founders of the dynasty. These names, indeed, continue even after the Pisan family of Lacon-Massa had by marriage succeeded to the judicature. The Greek language occurs in their official seals down to the 13th century. Intermarriage (sometimes illicit) was apparently freely used by the dominant families for the concentration of their power. Thus we find that after the failure of Musat members of the family of Lacon-Unali filled all the four judicatures of the island (Taramelli, Arch. stor. Sard., cit. 105). In the continual struggles between Pisa and Genoa some of these princes took the side of the latter. In 1164 Barisone, giudice of Arborea, was given the title of king of the whole island by Frederick Barbarossa, but his supremacy was never effective. In 1241 Adelasia, heiress of Gallura and Logudoro, was married as her third husband to Enzio, the natural son of Frederick II., who received the title of king of Sardinia from his father, but fell into the hands of the Bolognese in 1249, and 3 Three inscriptions of the middle of this century, set up by the iipXcov Zap8'vias with the title protospatarius, are illustrated by A. Taramelli in Notizie degli scavi (1906), 123 sqq.; cf. Archivio storico Sardo (1907), 92; and there are a few churches of the Byzantine period and style, a considerable number of Byzantine inscriptions, dedications to Greek saints, and other traces of the influence of the Eastern Empire in the island.

4 Some authorities attribute to 774, others to 817, a donation of Sardinia to the papacy; we hear of Pope Nicholas I. sending legates in 865 to quell disturbances and check evil practices in the island.

s There is no authentic history for the intervening period; the famous " pergamene d'Arborea," published by P. Martini in 1863 at Cagliari, have been shown to be modern forgeries.

Carales was also connected with Olbia by a road along the east coast. The south-west corner of the island was served by a direct road from Carales westward through Decimomannu (note the name Decimo, a survival, no doubt, of a Roman post-station ad decimum lapidem), where there is a fine Roman bridge over 100 yds. long of fourteen arches, still well preserved. The width of the roadway is only 1 i ft. There is also a road through Nora and along the coast past Sulci to Metalla and Neapolis, and thence to Othoca.

After the time of Constantine, the administration of Sardinia was separated from that of Corsica, each island being governed by a praeses dependent on the vicarius urbis Romae. In 456 it was seized by Genseric. It was retaken Byzantine period.

for a short time by Marcellianus, but was not finally recovered until the fall of the Vandal kingdom in Africa in 534, by Cyril. In 551 it was taken by Totila, but reconquered after his death by Narses for the Byzantine Empire. Under Byzantium it remained nominally until the 10th century, when we find the chief magistrate still bearing the title of apXow.3 In the 8th century 4 (720) the period of Saracen invasion began; but the Saracens never secured a firm footing in the island. In 725 Luidprand purchased and removed to Pavia the body of St Augustine of Hippo from Cagliari, whither it had been brought in the 6th century by the exiled bishop of Hippo. In 815 Sardinia submitted to Louis the Pious, begging for his protection; 5 but the Saracens were not entirely driven out, and about A.D. moo the Saracen chief Musat established himself in Cagliari. Pope John XVIII. preached a crusade in 1004, promising to bestow the island (when or whether it had ever definitely passed into the power of the papacy is not absolutely clear) upon whoever should drive out the Saracens. The Pisans took up the challenge, and Musat was driven out of Cagliari with the help of the Genoese in 1022 for the third time. The Pisans and Genoese now disputed about the ownership of Sardinia, but the pope and the emperor decided in favour of Pisa. Musat returned to the island once more and made himself master of it, but was defeated and taken prisoner under the walls of Cagliari in 1050, when the dominion of Pisa was established.

The island had (probably since the end of the 9th century) been divided into four districts - Cagliari, Arborea, Torres (or Logudoro) and Gallura - each under a giudice or remained a prisoner at Bologna until his death. After this the Pisan supremacy of the island seems to have become more of a reality, but Arborea remained independent, and after the defeat of the Pisans by the Genoese at the naval battle of Meloria in 1284 they were obliged to surrender Sassari and Logudoro to Genoa. In 1297 Boniface VIII. invested James II., the king of Aragon, with Sardinia; but it was not until 1323 that he attempted its conquest, nor until 1326 that the Pisans were finally driven out of Cagliari, which they had fortified in 1305-1307 by the construction of the Torre di S. Pancrazio and the Torre dell' Elefante, and which became the seat of the Aragonese government. To the Pisan period belong a number of fine Romanesque churches, among which may be specially mentioned those of Ardara, S. Giusta near Oristano, La Trinita di Saccargia and Tratalias (see D. Scano, op. cit. infra). The Aragonese enjoyed at first the assistance of the giudici of Arborea, who had remained in power; but in 1352 war broke out between Mariano IV. and the Aragonese, and was carried on by his daughter Eleonora, wife of Brancaleone Doria of Genoa, until her death in 1403. Peter IV. had meanwhile in 1355 called together the Cortes (parliament) of the three estates (the nobles, the clergy and the representatives of the towns) for the first time after the model of Aragon. After 1403 the Aragonese became masters of Arborea also. The title of giudice was abolished and a feudal marquisate substituted. The carta de logo (del luogo) or code of laws issued by her was in 1421 extended to the whole island by the cortes under the presidency of Alphonso V., who visited Sardinia in that year. In 1478 the marquisate of Oristano was suppressed, and henceforth the island was governed by Spanish viceroys with the feudal regime of the great nobles under them, the Cortes being convoked once every ten years. Many of the churches show characteristic Spanish Late Gothic architecture which survived until a comparatively recent period. The Renaissance had little or no influence on Sardinian architecture and culture.

The island remained a Spanish province until the War of the Spanish Succession, when in 1708 Cagliari capitulated to an English fleet, and the island became Austrian; the status quo was confirmed by the peace of Utrecht in 1713. In 1717, however, Cardinal Alberoni retook Cagliari for Spain; but this state of things was short-lived, for in 1720, by the treaty of London, Sardinia passed in exchange for Sicily to the dukes of Savoy, to whom it brought the royal title. The population was at that time a little over 300,000; public security and education were alike lacking, and there were considerable animosities between different parts of the island. Matters improved considerably under Charles Emmanuel III., in whose reign of forty-three years (1730-1773) the prosperity of the island was much increased. The French attacks of 2792-1793 were repelled by the inhabitants, Cagliari being unsuccessfully bombarded by the French fleet, and the refusal by Victor Amadeus III. to grant them certain privileges promised in consideration of their bravery led to the revolution of 1794-1796. In 1799 Charles Emmanuel IV. of Savoy took refuge in Cagliari after his expulsion by the French, but soon returned to Italy. In 1802 he abdicated in favour of his brother Victor Emmanuel I., who in 1806 returned to Cagliari and remained there until 1814, when he retired, leaving his brother, Carlo Felice, as viceroy. Carlo was successful in repressing brigands, but had to deal with much distress from famine. In 1821 he became king of Savoy by the abdication of his brother, and the construction of the highroad from Cagliari to Porto Torres was begun (not without opposition on the part of the inhabitants) in 1822. Feudalism was abolished in 1836, and in 1848 complete political union with Piedmont was granted, the viceregal government being suppressed, and the island being divided into three divisions of which Cagliari, Sassari and Nuoro were the capitals. General A. La Marmora was appointed royal commissioner to supervise the transformation to the new regime.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. - G. Mann °, Storia della Sardegna (1825); A. de La Marmora, Voyage en Sardaigne (Paris and Turin, 1826-1857) Valery, Viaggi alle isole di Corsica e di Sardegna (Milan, 1842); Tyndal, The Island of Sardinia (London, 1849); G. Spano, Bullettino archeologico Sardo (1855-1864) and other works; A. Bresciani, Dei costumi dell' isola di Sardegna (Naples, 1861); H. von Maltzan, Reise auf der Inset Sardinien (Leipzig, 1869); E. Pais, " La Sardegna avanti al dominio dei Romani " in Memorie dei Lincei (1881); R. Tennant, Sardinia and its Resources (London, 1885); G. Strafforello, Sardegna (Turin, 1895); F. Pais-Serra, Relazione dell' inchiesta sulle condizioni economiche della Sardegna (Rome, 1896); G. Pinza, " I Monumenti primitivi della Sardegna " in Monumenti dei Lincei, xi. (1901); F. Nissardi, " Contributo alla storia dei Nuraghi " in Atti del Congresso delle Scienze Storiche (Rome, 1903), vol. v. (Archeologia) (1904), 651 sqq.; G. Sergi, La Sardegna (Turin, 1907); Archivco storico Sardo from 1905; D. Scano, Storia dell' arte in Sardegna dal XI. al XIV. secolo (Cagliari and Sassari, 1907); D. Mackenzie, Ausonia, iii. (Rome, 1908), 18, and Memnon, ii. (Leipzig, 1909); and " Dolmens, Tombs of the Giants and Nuraghi of Sardinia," in Papers of the British School at Rome, v. 89 (1910). (T. As.)

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  1. An island and region of Italy.

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Proper noun

Sardinia (genitive Sardiniae); f, first declension

  1. Sardinia


nominative Sardinia
genitive Sardiniae
dative Sardiniae
accusative Sardiniam
ablative Sardiniā
vocative Sardinia
locative Sardiniae

Related terms

  • Sardī
  • Sardus
  • Sardōus
  • Sardonius
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  • Sardiniensis


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Flag Coat of arms
File:Flag of [[Image:|75px|Coat of arms of Sardinia]]
File:Italy Regions Sardinia
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Country Italy
Capital Cagliari
President (vacant)
Basic statistics
Area  24,090 km² (9,301 sq mi)
(Ranked 3rd, 8.0 %)
Population 1,670,219 (10/2008)
 - Density 69 /km² (180 /sq mi)
Other information
GDP/ Nominal € 32.5 billion (2006)

Sardinia is a region in Italy. It is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. The capital is Cagliari. The population was about 1,655,677 in 2005.



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