September 23, 2023


For splendid leisure

Uncovering the Magic of Inland Sardinia

3 min read
Uncovering the Magic of Inland Sardinia

“Tourists don’t realize that the real Sardinia has very little to do with the sea,” he said, explaining that, for the most part, the island was still powered by agriculture. For a glimpse into the destination’s true heart, from the folklore and the rustic cuisine to religious festivals and ancient ruins, you need to turn your back to the sea. Francesco hopes that True Sardinia and other new tour companies like it—plus an influx in new design-led country hotels, like Cascioni Eco Retreat—will entice people from the coastline to small, inland towns that need tourism.

When we reached the brow of the mountain, we dismounted to marvel at the views. The island of Sardinia is unbelievably vast—so much so, the turquoise sea was but a distant ring that faded into the sky. I tried to locate our Airbnb on Cala Liberotto, but gave up after a few moments of searching; there was simply too much to take in.

When we made it back to the farmstead an hour later, Francesco invited us to tour his family’s small vineyard, which was pregnant with black Cannonau grapes. I had never seen or tasted Sardinia’s signature variety, and my excitement must’ve been evident: moments later, Francesco appeared bearing a bottle of homemade vino and three wine glasses. We sat on his sun-dappled terrace and drank the fruity, full-bodied wine, losing track of time.

The next day, my boyfriend and I decided to explore the pocket-sized town of Irgoli, taking in its colorful street murals and its magnificent San Nicola church, which houses a reliquary containing what is believed to be a thorn from the crown of Jesus. At dinner, we decided to text Francesco to see if he wanted to join us for dinner. A half-hour later, he and six of his closest friends showed up.

Our group quickly cozied up to a wooden table on a narrow backstreet and shared a procession of traditional plates—grilled lamb and fresh artichokes and Sardinian gnocchi served with fennel sausage. Cigarettes were smoked, Italians were made fun of (the Sards are proud of their distinctive language, culture, and history), and the moon shone brightly, casting pools of light on the village’s clay rooftops. We considered going out after dinner with Francesco and his friends, hitting a local bar and potentially even going to a discotech, but ultimately, my boyfriend and I decided to call it a night—we hadn’t been to a bar, much less a nightclub, in almost two years.

“We’ll text you the next time we’re here,” I told Francesco as I hugged him goodbye.

“That’s what everybody says,” he said with a tinge of sadness.

During the final days on our trip, my boyfriend and I were back to sitting on the beach, like everyone else, getting lost in the psychedelic blue of the water and drinking watery aperol spritzes. The next time I’d visit—and I told myself that I was going to return—I’d do things differently. I had friends to see, places to go.

Leave a Reply | Newsphere by AF themes.