Why does Sardinia boasts some of the longest-living people in the world? In modern times, how is it possible to keep ancient traditions alive? How can the island cultures of the mountains and the sea be so different within just a few miles? Do you think it’s possible to enjoy a swim in Europe in waters as clear as the Caribbean? What does Hawaii have in common with Sardinia besides the beautiful sea?
On our tour you can answer these questions for yourself, discovering the second largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily and before Cyprus. Sardinia (Sardegna in Italian) is a paradise offering over a thousand miles of coastline, rugged mountains up to 6,000 feet, a unique indigenous vegetation called macchia mediterranea (maquis in English, a type of ground cover), a very mild climate, and villages with millenary traditions kept alive by the locals.
On this journey you’ll learn about the unique indigenous grapes and the distinctive recipes of the Sardinian cuisine, and meet local shepherds, fishermen, cheese makers and other Sardi who have been living here in balance with nature, animals (there are approximately 2 million people and 3 millions sheep on the island!) following the practices of their ancestors for centuries.
Agriturismi (usually a family-run “farm stay” combining agriculture and tourism), local cheese, wine makers, and the culture of Slow Food will be highlighted on these unique journeys through quaint towns and tranquil countryside.
According to some scholars, the progenitors of Sardinians (Sardi in Italian) are the Nuragic peoples, whose name derives from once common megalithic building found in Sardinia and developed during the Nuragic Age between 1900-730 BC. The Nuragic civilization is likely descended from the Shardana or Sherden, a tribe of sea peoples who settled in this part of the Mediterranean Sea a few millennia ago and who originally came from Anatolia (currently it is an area which makes up the majority of the Republic of Turkey).
After the Nuragic peoples came the Phoenicians, Etruscans, Romans, Barbarians, Saracens, Pisans, Genoese, Aragonese, Savoy Dynasty and finally the annexation to Italy in 1861. Understandably, Sardegna has absorbed an incredible variety of cultural aspects and traditions, visible, in the cuisine, different dialects, and features of the local population and in Sardegna’s dramatic distinctions from coastlines to island interior.
The great hospitality and conviviality at the table are sure to be some of the most precious memories you bring home. Immersed in a unique paradise far from your daily life, at least for a week, experiencing a world where time seems not to pass!
What are you waiting for? Ti aspettiamo! (We are waiting for you!) A presto! (See you soon!)
SARDINIA, BEAUTIFUL ISLAND
TOUR DATES AND PRICES
Minimum of 6 participants, maximum of 16, with a maximum guide-to-guest ratio of 1 to 8
DATES (7 days)
For more info, dates, and availability please contact us.
Per person in double occupancy: from $3,290
(tour price will vary and contingent upon availability of cozy agriturismi and 3-star hotels or more elegant 4-star hotels)
Single Supplement: $490
In addition, we pledge to donate more than 1% of your trip price to food literacy and environmental non profit organizations
- Learn more about local Slow Food Presidia and other artisanals method of production
- Exposure to local culture and history with bilingual, experienced Tour Leaders
- Tastes of regional grapes and foods with visits to meet local Sardinians
- Up close and personal looks at agriturismi and the methods behind Sardinian cuisine and agriculture
- Explore the north and west coast of Sardinia: Alghero, Bosa, Castelsardo, Cabras and Tharros.
- Discover Sardinia inland, visiting the Barbagia through Mamoiada, Orgosolo, Oliena and the Supramonte mountain range
- Traditional, local recipes to bring home with you!
- Daily walking opportunities for a healthy lifestyle
- Learn about Sardinian polyphonic music with a local folk group performing live
- Meet local shepherds and learn stories behind farming over a zero-mile picnic
One of Italy’s best kept secrets, Sardinia defies easy explanation. You will simply have to discover her for yourself. “Sardinia, Beautiful Island” introduces travelers to both the natural and cultural, seaside and mountain elements of the island’s identity and hypnotic environs not to mention the captivating Sardi (Sardinian people) whom you will not soon forget.
Signature tastes include: local pruceddu (suckling pig) and pane carasau (traditional flatbread); and regional grapes such as Cannonau and Vermentino.
For our first two nights, we’ll reside in the lovely seaside town of Alghero. The ancestors of modern-day Sardinians (Sardi in Italian) were the Nuragic peoples whose name derives from once common cone-shaped megalithic buildings dating back to 1400 BC. Among our history lessons, we’ll have a chance to visit some of these. More recently, starting in the middle of the fourteenth century, for four hundred years the Aragonese dominated the island. The local Catalan dialect is still spoken here.
Alghero is also famous for its ancient tradition of coral fishing, nowadays regulated and entrusted to a few local experts. Nearby, we’ll discover the Cave of Neptune is one of the most fascinating natural jewels in the entire Mediterranean basin that we’ll partly explore during a boat ride with dramatic views of Cape Caccia promontory.
Another highlight will be a visit to Castelsardo, uno dei Borghi piú Belli d’Italia (one of the Most Beautiful Villages of Italy in English). This is a project that promotes the great heritage of history, art, culture, environment and traditions found in small Italian towns off the beaten paths. In town don’t miss a visit to the weaving museum housed in the remnants of Doria castle offering spectacular views of the northern coast of Sardinia.
Also in Alghero, we’ll have a wonderful opportunity to visit a local agriturismo. The Italian word “agriturismo” connotes a family-run “farm stay” that combines agriculture and tourism, with an emphasis on accommodation and meals in a partially or totally renovated farmhouse. Here we’ll enjoy a dinner featuring locally-grown and seasonal products.
From Alghero, we’ll continue south, breathing in the beautiful western coastal views, and stopping by Bosa, uno dei Borghi piú Belli d’Italia (one of the Most Beautiful Villages of Italy in English) for a nice walk in town and visit to the old tanneries in the historic center. En route to Oliena we’ll also explore the local village of Mamoiada, known throughout the world for its traditional masks, and famous for its Carnival. Stories from Carnival are prominently displayed here at the Museum of Mediterranean Masks.
Our last two nights will be spent inland near the town of Oliena, also famous for wine-making, featuring local indigenous grapes such as Vermentino and Cannonau that we’ll savor while we learn from the local oenologist during an aperitif. After check in at the local agriturismo or hotel we’ll have a chance to relax and get ready for a yummy dinner featuring 0-mile ingredients!
Oliena lies in the area called Barbagia. This is one of the least populated areas of Europe, and as such has allowed the heart of Sardinia to preserve its cultural and natural treasures. A spectacular backdrop to Oliena is the Supramonte, a mountain range with striking highlands into which the rivers have dug deep ravines and canyons. Its highest peak is Mount Corrasi that we’ll explore on a hike with local shepherds who will share their stories with us over a scrumptious lunch featuring pane carasau (a traditional flat bread initially conceived for shepherds, who used to stay far from home for months), sheep’s milk Pecorino cheese and vegetables, cured meats, wines and the famous local pruceddu, a suckling pig slowly roasted on the spit (Vegetarian options will of course also be available.)
Today we will learn about shepherding, native plants, typical lifestyle of Barbagia, local traditions and craftsmanship. Typical products here include shawls, table runners, and clothing, either woven or embroidered by hand. Tonight feel free to join us for a a cooking demo featuring a local recipe, and followed by dinner on your own (ask us for suggestions!)
En route to Cabras today there is a not-to-be-missed stop in the village of Orgosolo, renowned for its Murales, over forty-year-old paintings that depict various aspects of Sardinian culture, tradition, and both local and international political concerns. Then we continue to Santu Lussurgiu to discover the art behind cow’s milk Casizolu cheese, one of the regional Slow Food Presidia. Slow Food is a non-profit organization founded in Piedmont in 1986 that promotes “good, clean and fair food” (the motto of Slow Food International) and the Presidia are one of Slow Food’s projects protecting and promoting products at risk of extinction.
Lunch will be in a restaurant that features traditional recipes and local and seasonal ingredients. If time allows we’ll visit an artisanal knives maker that with his family since the end of 1800 has been manufacturing this useful tool that it is customary to carry in Sardinia.
Our final destination is the small fishing village of Cabras, and our accommodations will feature an Albergo Diffuso, which is best translated as “dispersed hotel” as services and accommodation are spread across different, existent structures all within the same area. The beauty of the albergo diffuso is that it allows travelers to imbed themselves in village life while enjoying all the services of a standard hotel.
Another unforgettable moment tonight will be during dinner with a performance by a traditional folk group of the “canto a tenore,” a polyphonic vocal technique unique to Sardinia and dating back to 3000 BC.
Cabras dates back to the eleventh century, when the nearby town of Tharros was abandoned after repeated raids by North African pirates. While here, we’ll explore the fascinating history of Tharros, first a Nuraghic village, then a Phoenician settlement, and later expanded during the Punic and Roman periods. Make sure to enjoy a nice walk as well on the Sinis Peninsula, a protected marine area with distinctive natural flora and fauna, including several rare species of flamingo, cormorant, turtle and fox, among others.
Cabras is famous also for its local production of bottarga, the dried, pressed roe of the grey mullet, which is shaved over Italian dishes or sprinkled on pasta. Tonight we’ll have a chance to sample some at dinner after a visit to a local fishery, celebrating our food journey with fresh fish and an array of regional wines. Here we can share our great memories of an unforgettable tour and dreams about the next destination to explore!
Catch our group transfer to Cagliari airport. Buon viaggio (safe travel in Italian) and augurios a chent’annos in salude! (Many wishes of one hundred years of life in health in Sardinian dialect).
- 6 nights of accommodation in 3- or 4-star hotels and agriturismi
- 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 5 dinners
- Walks in Alghero and in Orgosolo to discover the murales
- 1 entry fee at the museum of Mediterranean Masks of Mamoiada and Weaving museum in Castelsardo
- 1 visit to a fishery and 1 visit to the old tanneries in Bosa
- 1 visit to a knife makers and 1 cooking demo featuring a local recipe
- 1 boat ride and visit to Cave of Neptune’s grottos near Alghero
- 1 visit to a Nuraghe and 1 visit to the Phoenician settlement of Tharros
- 1 wine tasting and 1 visit and tasting to a cheese maker
- Local folk group music live
- 1 guided 2-hour hike followed by a picnic lunch with local shepherds
- Comfortable transportation by 9-seat van for all travel as cited in the itinerary
- Bilingual, professional Tour Leaders
- Last day group transfer to Cagliari airport for departure
- Local taxes and gratuities for luggage porters and restaurant servers during tour
- 3 lunches and 1 dinner on your own
- Alcoholic beverages at group dinners (including wine and spirits)
- Round-trip airfare and expenses to/from the tour
- Trip cancellation, baggage loss or travel delay insurance (this optional coverage is highly recommended and is not provided by Food.Stories.Travel.)
- Gratuities for your Tour Leader
- Personal expenses, such as, but not limited to, phone calls, laundry, emails, snacks, gifts
Cristiano Bonino has led tours for North Americans all over Italy for more than thirteen years, and in particular in Sardinia since 2004. Currently, he resides in the Boston area with his American wife. Cristiano likes to say that he has been “hybridizing” over the past three years in the U.S. He mixes the best of the both American and Italian cultures, which he loves, but never forgets his native roots in Turin.
Your itinerary has been meticulously hand-designed by Food.Stories.Travel. and Cristiano Bonino. This journey is based on their favorite flavors and unforgettable past experiences. Every establishment you will visit has been personally vetted, tested and enjoyed by Cristiano himself and his team of experienced Tour Leaders.
In some cases we’ll take you to places you could not find by yourself or in a guidebook.