Sardinia, an autonomous region of Italy, is a fairly large island located in the Mediterranean Sea to the south of Corsica and to the west of the Italian mainland. Sardinia, which is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, covers a total area of more than nine thousand, three hundred square miles. Sardinia has a total population of approximately one million, six hundred seventy five thousand permanent residents. Sardinia has hundreds of miles of coastline, which have eroded and changed into their present form since the islands were formed about five hundred million years ago. Sardinia is a fairly mountainous island, with a series of mountain ranges cutting through the island’s interior. The most important ranges include the Gennargentu Ranges, which are home to the island’s highest point – Punta La Mormora – the Chain of Marghine and Goceano, and the Sette Fratelli Range. There is only one freshwater lake on Sardinia, along with a few rivers and a variety of artificial water deposits. Sardinia enjoys a mild, Mediterranean climate, featuring more than three hundred days of sunshine every year and an annual temperature in the fifties and sixties. Sardinia has a unique, named wind called the Mistral, which dominates the island’s weather in the months of winter and spring.
Humans have lived on Sardinia for thousands of years, likely migrating from the Italian mainland during Palaeolithic times. Sardinia has interacted with other cultures for centuries, especially with the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, and the Romans. Sardinia was subsequently controlled by the Vandals and the Byzantines, before assuming self governance for a period, falling under Spanish control, and eventually becoming a part of Italy. The Sardinian economy relies primarily on agriculture, especially the cultivation of vegetables, wine grapes, citrus fruits, and rice, dairy farming, and cork forests. Sardinia has a rapidly expanding hospitality and tourist industry, along with a significant chemical and oil sector. The three largest cities on Sardinia are Cagilari, which has nearly one hundred fifty eight thousand residents, Sassari, with approximately one hundred thirty thousand inhabitants, and Quartu Saint’Elena, with about seventy one thousand residents. Other important towns and communities include Olbia, Alghero, Nuroro, Oristano, and Carbonia.
Sardinia has a popular form of unique music, called cantu a tenore, as well as a local instrument called the launeddas. Sardinian cuisine focuses on cakes and pastries, as well as squid, rock lobster, suckling pig, and a variety of other seafood and sweet dishes. A number of sports are popular in Sardinia, including soccer, featuring a local team called the Cagliari Calcio. This team competes In the Serie A league, and features a stadium called the Stadio Sant’ Elia. Other popular recreational activities in Sardinia include darts, car racing, windsurfing, and kite surfing. Some of the most historic megalithic sites in Europe are located in Sardinia, including the World Heritage Site of Su Nuraxi di Barumini. The island has an impressive range of endemic flora and fauna, much of which is on display in the island’s three national parks – Asinara National Park, Gennargentu National Park, and Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park.