Sardinia: Italy’s Other Island Region

The second-largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily), Sardinia and its many off-shore islands form the region of Sardegna, one of Italy’s most exotic.

Sardinia has all the requisites of paradise: ancient mysteries, a spectacular coastline, rugged mountains, sparkling beaches with pristine water, birds and animals, fragrant herbs, full-bodied red wines and refreshing light whites, suckling pig, superb seafood, bitter honey, a crisp bread known as “music paper,” a grappa known as “iron wire,” tuna, bottarga, and, in general, a cuisine unto itself. It also has courteous, hospitable inhabitants and plenty of folklore. A true crossroads, Sardinia lies in the geographic center of the Mediterranean, less than an hour’s flight from Rome.

We visit the Roman colonial cities, but also see remains left by the Phoenicians, who set up trading centers on the coast. Meanwhile, in the interior, the ancient indigenous people continued to build the curious conical stone towers, and clusters of multiple towers, known as nuraghi, which survive in the thousands. (Those at Su Nuraxi, on our itinerary, have the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site.)

October in Sardinia may just be the best time to go. The summer crowds have left, but the weather is still pleasantly warm. Our tour begins in Cagliari, the capital, on the south coast, and ends in Olbia, in the northeast on the fabled Costa Smeralda, with a couple of days in the interior to explore the more recent history of Sardinia and its traditional culture. We taste the delicious products of land and sea of Sardinia both in their most traditional forms and as interpreted by cutting-edge Sardinian chefs.

October 8–15, 2018