Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and an autonomous region of Italy. The Greeks called it Hyknusa or Ichnussa (Ιχνουσσα), from the greek Ichnos (footprint of human foot) because of its similarity to a large footprint; however, Sardinia takes its name from the Latin Sardinia, as the Romans called it and its capital city is Cagliari!
Ancient History about Sardinia
The statements of ancient writers concerning the origin of the population of Sardinia are extremely various and conflicting, and agree only in representing it as of a very mixed kind, and proceeding from many different sources. According to Pausanias, who has given these traditions in the greatest detail, its first inhabitants were Libyans, who crossed over under the command of Sardus, the son of a native hero or divinity, who was identified by the Greeks with Hercules. This Sardus was supposed to have given name to the island, which was previously called, or at least known to the Greeks, by that of Ichnusa, from the resemblance of its general form to the print of a man’s foot. Timaeus, according to Pliny, called it Sandaliotis from the same circumstance; but it is clear that neither of these names was ever in general use. The fact that the earliest population came from Africa is intrinsically probable enough, though little value can be attached to such traditions. . The next settlers, according to Pausanias, were a Greek colony under Aristaeus, to whom some writers ascribe the foundation of Caralis; and these were followed by a body of Iberians under a leader named Norax, who founded the city called Nora in the SW. part of the island. Next to these came a body of Greeks from Thespiae and Attica, under the command of Iolaus, who founded a colony at Olbia in the NE. corner of the island.
The Carthaginian conquest is indeed the first fact in the history of Sardinia that can be considered as resting on any sure historical foundation; and even of this the date cannot be fixed with certainty. It is probable indeed that at a much earlier period the Phoenicians had not only visited the coasts of Sardinia for commercial purposes, but had established trading stations or factories there. Diodorus indeed expressly tells us that they planted colonies in Sardinia, as well as in Sicily, Spain, and Africa; and there seems some reason to ascribe to them the first foundation of the important cities of Caralis, Nora, and Sulci.
The languages of Sardinia are more than just Italian.
The first language of Sardinia is Italian, although the Sardinian language, Sardo, is still widely spoken. A remarkably rich language, Sardo varies greatly from area to area, even from village to village, with Latin, Arabic, Spanish and Catalan influences reflecting the turbulence of the island’s past. In the island there are four dialects of Sardinian:
- Logudorese (Logudorian)
- Campidanese (Campidanian)
- Gallurese (Gallurian)
- Sassarese (Sassarian).
Food in Sardinia – Family and Tradition
Eating, in Sardinia, means family, tradition and plates of typical Sardinian cuisine, much like in the rest of central and southern Italy, a reason to pass time with your dear ones, to laugh and tell the last news, sometimes even an occasion to discuss and argue in pure Italian style.
Families play an important part in society and it is not uncommon to see groups of family and friends gathering for an enormous feast on Sunday, around noon. Usually they start with a lasting at least four hours, with mixed appetizers, first and second courses, side dishes vegetables, cheese, cakes and coffee. During lunch, you can’t go without a local Sardinian wine and to finish a good myrtle, limoncello or fil’e ferru.
Sardinians are friendly and polite with a strong sense of tradition and a passion for their island. This is reflected in their many festivals and events that take place throughout the year. Sardinians love to indulge in good food which is not surprising when you sample their delicious produce.
Typical traditional Sardinian cuisine boasts from ancient roots.
- The worldwide famous “maialetto” or roasted piglet
- The “Pani Frattau”, in which five or six wafers of carasau are sandwiched with tomato sauce, to be sautéed on the pan with a nice poached egg above
- The zuppa gallurese, is a soup, only by the name actually, typical from Gallura, Sassari and Olbia’s area
- The fregola, small balls of handmade pasta is dressed with seafood in the Campidano
- The particular Lorighittas come from Oristano, a special pasta made out of two thin pasta wires wound together and served with sausage and tomato sauce
- The panadas, oven baked pies of meat, fish or vegetables, can be found all over Sardinia with different fillings.
Sardinia is a warm and welcoming island, rich in tradition that will dazzle you with its beauty and leave you wanting more.