Sardinia is one of the most visited locations in the Mediterranean, and with its combination of endless blue skies, pristine beaches and transparent water, it is easy to understand why. But is there more to this idyllic location that just perfection?
Fascinating landscapes: the variety of views do not cease to amaze.
The sea is what makes Sardinia great. Along the beaches, you will find peace and tranquillity in places where there are but a handful of settlements, surrounded by the sand dunes and the Mediterranean scrub. But the island boasts much more than this. Its typical Mediterranean nature hides a richness and variety which make it the perfect destination for image hunters. The Sardinian landscape is typically mountainous even at relatively low heights, due to the millenary erosion which has shaped its profile, and this makes it perfect for unique pictures.
The Nuragic civilisation, one of the oldest in the old continent, left so many remains that visiting them all is an almost impossible task. With more than 7000 nuraghes (their typical buildings), the mysterious Domus de Janas, tombs of giants and many cult areas and temples, no matter where you go, you are always shadowed by the ancient civilization that came before you.
The food and wine
There is a variety in Sardinia that will surprise even the most well-travelled mainland Italian. Due to very long periods of isolation between villages, even the most seasoned food connoisseur will find some unknown traditional dish they have never heard about before. The richness in taste is directly linked to the natural ingredients and the skilled hands of the old ladies of the villages. As for the wine… no word can describe the fresh and fruity Vermentino sipped while looking at the overwhelming beauty of the sea, or a strong bodied Cannonau accompanied with delicious cut “salsiccia e formaggio”.
All of the different landscapes and habitats means there is lots of wildlife to be seen throughout the seasons. Without a doubt, the podium goes to the super cute Asinara Island white donkey. That said, the list of unique species goes on and on: the small Giara wild horses, the pink flamingos, the griffon vultures, the Sardinian red deers, the mouflons… No shortage of wild animals keeps your finger off the shutter for long.
Why NOT to go:
Portions are too big, and meals are soo long. Too much time enjoying good food and chatting with friends could make you hate being back home.
Locals are quite invasive… you may find that just asking for directions could lead you to be accompanied to the place you're looking for and if not careful enough they may even invite you in for a drink!
The quiet and relaxed atmosphere of the Sardinian autumn could be quite addictive, and just walking around one of the little villages could make you fill your memory card quickly. Be sure to have plenty with you.
During the night shooting, you may realise that you can see far more stars than you ever thought existed. It's probably the place where X files' Mulder bought his “I want to believe” poster.
Finally… why visiting it now? Because soon photographers will discover the brilliance that this Italian island has to offer. You want to be in the first lines (sorry to say that that Henri Cartier-Bresson, Werner Bischof, Leonard Freed, David Seymour already preceded you, but you can still try to do better than them ;) )
A trip to Sardinia is definitely an eye, soul and belly fulfilling experience.
About the Author
Giovanni Piliarvu is is a photographer with Aperture Tours in Tokyo as well organising an eleven-day photography workshop around his birthplace, Sardinia with Aperture Tours for the Sardinia Photography Workshop.