Loving the Mediterranean

amare il mediterraneo

The climate on the island is very much influenced by the sea: as you get closer to the coast, it becomes milder and the further you venture inland, the harsher it becomes.

When the air becomes oppressive with the high summer temperatures and humidity, the mistral, so dear to all Sardinians, starts blowing from the northwest, bringing much-needed relief. The climate in Cagliari is typically Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers. The temperature rarely drops to zero in the winter, while in the summer it often tops 40°C. The annual average is 17.7°C, the perfect temperature for enjoying an aperitif on the beach or going for a stroll through the centre of Cagliari.


Pulsating with life

Not many people know that Cagliari stands on seven hills, just like Rome. With its towers, ramparts, necropolis and roads winding in and out of the ancient heart of the city and reappearing again with a breathtaking view over the port and the whole Gulf of the Angels, Cagliari is a vibrant city with its fair share of events and artists, a venue for new and exciting ventures, always with something to say for itself. Over the centuries Cagliari has been ruled by a number of different populations. Its name has changed over the years too, from Krly, Càralis, Kastrum Karalis and Castel de Càller to its present-day name, Casteddu, in the Sardinian language. Each of these peoples has left a fortified building, a necropolis, a lookout tower or monument, a collection of fascinating places, each with its own importance, guaranteed to enchant lovers of history and architecture.


Celebrating local colour and character

Traditions and legends are what make the Sardinian people who they are. They convey their strength, their spirituality and enthusiasm. There is a whole host of Christian celebrations, the most important of all being the Feast of Saint Ephysius, celebrating the saint who freed the city of the plague in 1656. There are just as many pagan festivals which are more reminiscent of medieval traditions, with tournaments, age-old carnivals and rituals that have been reenacted for centuries. One such celebration is the Sartiglia race that has been held since 1358 and takes place during the Oristano Carnival. One of the highlights of the event involves the locals’ idea of good luck, the luck of the person who manages to pierce a star during the horse race around the town. The Festival of the Redeemer, held in Nuoro on 28 August, is also very atmospheric, with a holy procession that sets out as the sun comes up at dawn and goes through the woods.


Looking to the past for inspiration


Today craftsmen and local artists recreate the key features of Sardinian culture, producing timeless works of art, a combination of innovation and love for their land. Of the many events held here, the Time in Jazz festival, founded in 1988 and run by Paolo Fresu in his home town of Berchidda, is one of the most popular live music events in Italy. Places well worth visiting include the Museum of Byssus (Museo del bisso) in Sant’Antioco which, thanks to Chiara Vigo, the very last byssus expert, celebrates the workmanship of this precious natural silk which comes from the sea. Other museums include the MAN, the Museum of Art in Nuoro, the MAC, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Calasetta and the Stazione dell’Arte in Ulassai, with more than 150 works by Maria Lai, one of the greatest contemporary artists.


Simple, genuine flavours


Sardinian cuisine, with its delicious, aromatic flavours, continues to win over admirers around the world, thanks to its first-rate ingredients and the recipes which are handed down from generation to generation. Typical first courses include “malloreddus” (small ridged shell-shaped pasta), “culurgiones” (typical ravioli) and “fregola” (small pasta balls), then there are main courses with game and roasted meat, cheese, desserts made with almonds and wine, exported and enjoyed the world over. The origins of Sardinian cuisine go back to the long days spent by shepherds out grazing their flocks. They needed simple, nutritious food that was easy to carry and withstood the temperatures. This is why we have such a wide selection of cured meats and cheeses, accompanied by the famous Carasau bread with its light, paper-thin slices. Sardinian is also famous for its red saffron, its salted cured fish roe and its sweet strawberry tree honey.