10 Unbelievable Secrets No One Has Told You About Sardinia, Italy – Mediterranean Sea 6

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Port of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

The main cruise port of Sardinia, Port of Cagliari is located at the southern shores of the island. Due to its location, for 2,000 years the Port of Cagliari has been a major commercial and strategic link along the Mediterranean Sea. Founded by the Phoenicians then later used as a trading center by the Carthaginians, this port played an important role in the economy of Sardinia since ancient times.

Managed by the Cagliari Port Authority, it handles conventional goods, bulk, Ro-Ro traffic and trans-shipping containerized goods. Port of Cagliari is flanked by berths of petrochemical and oil industry accommodating 17 ships to moor at a time.

A Short History of Sardinia:

If you look at the map of Europe, Sardinia is at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. It has the same distance away from mainland Italy and North Africa (Tunisia to be exact). There is a smaller island above Sardinia (north) which is Corsica, a French territory although both of these islands share historical similarities. Sardinia is Italy’s second largest island, next to Sicily. And this is one of the 5 regions which Italy has granted autonomy, its official name is Regione Autonoma della Sardegna.

Inhabited since the Paleolithic period by a tribe called Nuragic before the Phoenicians settled in and later by the Carthaginians, Sardinia had been occupied by various civilizations. By the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Aragon (Spain) began a campaign to conquer Sardinia, their descendants still speak Catalan up to this day. In the Spanish War of Succession (1701-1714) the island of Sardinia was under Austrian control then with the Duke of Savoy (Italy). And so in 1861, Sardinia became a part of the newly formed Italian state.

It suffered considerably from heavy Allied bombings during World War II. Right after the the war, Sardinia became one of the 20 Italian regions. Tourism would become the island’s main earner and the European internet giant, Tiscali was established in Sardinia in 2004 and its founder Renato Soru became the president of the island.

Map showing the location of Sardinia.

In 2009, I switched to another shipping company, MRM Philippines which is an all-chemical fleet and was lined-up on a carrier named Front Hunter. During my contract with the Front Hunter, our voyages were exclusively along the coastal cities of Italy and our first itinerary was the island of Sardinia. I can say this is one of the most beautiful islands on earth with a distinct history and culture. However, it has invaluable abnormalities that belong exclusively to this wonderful “coral” of the Mediterranean Sea. So here are 10 unbelievable secrets no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy.

1. It has its own language.

Sardinia has its own language which is distinct from the mainland of Italy and it differs from one place to another. Sardo is widely spoken but varies from one village to another with Latin, Arabic and Spanish Catalan influences that reflect the languages of its former settlers. An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy.

2. The term “sardonic smile” was derived from Sardinia.

When you hear someone say “that sardonic smile” it actually originated from the Phoenician colonists of Sardinia who were forcing smiles on the faces of their dead, a bitter or sardonic grin/smile. An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy. The word “sardines” also comes from Sardinia although this kind of fish is now almost extinct at the island because of over fishing.

3. There are more centenarians in Sardinia than in the other places of Italy.

Islanders of Sardinia have the highest percentage of centenarians because of their healthy diet of pecorino cheese and red wine. An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy. In fact the traditional greeting here is ” A kent annos” (may you live up to 100 years old).

4. It has 2 smaller islands with their own peculiarities as well.

Albino donkeys of Asinara island in Sardinia.

Sardinia has two smaller islets: Asinara and Tavolara. Asinara is home to around 250 small albino donkeys and with no traces of any human population whatsoever. The island of Tavonara on the other hand is a little kingdom and the present king owns the only cafe at the island. An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy.

5. The island has the most “dangerous” cheese in the world.

An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy that they have a distinct culinary specialty called “cazu marzu”. It is a pecorino cheese with its upper crust cut and left outside for the flies to swarm and lay their larva on the cheese. As the maggots hatch they start to eat the cheese away making it creamy.

Now the cheese is eaten with the live larvae and it must be chewed thoroughly as you need to “kill” the maggots in your mouth. If the larva is swallowed alive it can live inside your intestines and can be dangerous to your health. But you know the residents of Sardinia consider “cazu marzu” as an aphrodisiac…so, dare?

6. S’Accabadora is the local version of “euthanasia” in Sardinia.

S’Accabadora or Sa femmina accabadora is a local woman in Sardinia whose given the task to resolve the suffering of the terminally ill. An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy but members of the dying person’s family will seek her “services” and she would use a short stick to swiftly “end the pain” of the sick.

7. The only region in Italy with no motorway.

An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia that it’s the only region of Italy without a motorway. I am sure you will love its peace and quiet.

8. Sardinia’s Emerald Coast is one of world’s most expensive coasts.

La Costa Smeralda in Sardinia is one of the world’s most expensive coasts where a house costs 300,000 Euros per square meters. An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy but its Emerald Coast is the playground of the world’s A-listers and European glitterati. Most of the well heeled and famous celebrities like Rihanna, Sir Elton John, Denzel Washington..own a house at La Costa Smeralda.

9. The Castle of Serravalle has a secret tunnel leading to the Church in the area.

The Castle of Serravalle on Serravalle Hill in Sardinia was once owned by the Malaspina family in the 11th century. There is a secret tunnel that leads to the Church in the area. According to the locals, stories passed down from one generation to the other tell that the Marquis d’ Malaspina built the tunnel because of jealousy. He did not want other men to look at his wife when they go to Church and attend a Mass, so they use the tunnel to pass through. An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy.

10. Fregola is the special pasta in Sardinia.

Similar to the couscous, fregola is Sardinia‘s special pasta. An unbelievable secret no one has told you about Sardinia, Italy, this is a pasta dish topped with tomatoes, onions, olives and saffron. It plays a big role in the longevity of its centenarians.

If these 10 unbelievable secrets in Sardinia have inspired you to find out more about this “bella” island, then make your priority to jet off to Italy when travel leisure is back again. A remarkable destination in Italy, I am very sure a trip to Sardinia will always be one to remember. Get ready to be surprised by this wonderful jewel in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea soon. Bone iazzu.

Reference: Wikipedia