The region is typical for its rugged territory, comprising the mountains called Limbara, Supramonte, Ogliastra, Gennargentu, Iglesiente and Sulcis, and characterized by a very different geological aspect from the rest of Italy.
Here also there are unique archeological remains dating back to thousands of years ago, called "nuraghi". The coastline is mostly high and rocky, and surrounded by many smaller islands, such as Asinara, the Maddalena group, Tavolara, San Pietro and Sant'Antioco.
Four of the eight Sardinian provinces were established in 2005: Carbonia-Iglesias, Medio Campidano, Ogliastra and Olbia-Tempio while Oristano was established in 1974. The population is mostly concentrated in the provinces of Cagliari and Sassari. Until very recent times the population inhabited the inner areas away from the sea, and the economy was based on sheep-raising and connected activities.
Then a wonderful tourist development took place in the coastal areas, so that today Sardinia, with its clear waters, unspoiled landscape and ideal climate in the summer, is a favorite holiday destinations for Italians and foreigners, who reach by ferry or plane the celebrated localities along the Costa Smeralda, the Maddalena island, Alghero and Costa Rei. Still today, however, the region is the first in Italy for sheep and goat raising, and the production of cheeses. Another important resource is the extraction of lead and zinc.
See also: Longevity of Sardinians |
From "Bizarre Foods" Sardegna, la cucina dei pastori
Inhabited since very early pre-historic times (at least since 150,000 years ago), in the 9th century BC the island was occupied by the Phoenicians, later on by Carthage and, after this city was defeated and destroyed in the Third Punic War, by Rome, and under the Roman Empire enjoyed a remarkable prosperity. Raided by the Vandals in 456 AD, it was later included by the Eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empire. For many centuries Sardinia suffered raids by the Saracens from Spain, Africa and Sicily.
In the 12th century, under the influence of the republic of Pisa, the island was divided into four local districts - Gallura, Logudoro, Arborea, and Caralis - called "Iudicati", each ruled by a iudex, whose power little by little became hereditary. In 1241 the King of Sicily Frederick II appointed his son Enzo king of Sardinia.
In 1323 the Kingdom of Aragon began its conquest Sardinia; Arborea resisted and for a time was able to control almost the whole island, but its last ruler Eleanor of Arborea was defeated in the Battle of Sanluri on June 30, 1409, the population of Alghero was expelled and the city repopulated with Catalans.
After the merge of the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon in Spain, Sardinia was incorporated into Spain and Sardinian mariners were in the royal Spanish fleet when on October 7, 1571, at the Battle of Lepanto, the Turkish fleet was defeated. On 2 September 1720 Sardinia passed to Vittorio Amedeo II Savoy, later to become King of Sardinia, the entity that in the following century was to become the Kingdom of Italy.