Every summer, Italians flock to Sardinia to sunbathe on white sand beaches, swim in turquoise waters, and ride horses through the woods. This island in the Mediterranean Sea is a popular vacation destination to Italians-- but not as well known to those outside Italy.
Costa Smeralda (“The Emerald Coast”), named for its blue-green waters, is the most well-known destination on the island, where the mountain cliffs dramatically drop to exquisite beaches. It’s also home to some of the world’s most expensive real estate-- beginning in the sixties, Aga Khan developed the area into a tourist attraction for the Italian elite. The beaches to the south and west of the island are popular too, and hiking trails weave through the mountains that lead to breathtaking views.
Sardinia is also home to the remnants of a mysterious ancient civilization: the Nuragic civilization that inhabited the island beginning from the 18th century BCE to the Roman colonization of the island in 238 BCE. They built large stone fortresses and tombs, known as nuraghes, of which about seven thousand still stand today. Su Nuraxi, in the town of Barumini, is one of the most well known sites, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997.
As with all regions of Italy, Sardinia has many local specialties in food and drink. On the coasts, fishermen catch tuna, sardines, and lobsters, which combined with the locally-produced organic fruit and vegetables make up the typical Sardinian diet. This diet is a huge factor in Sardinia’s designation as a blue zone, a place where the people are healthiest and live the longest.
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