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Ben marks his spot on the beach.
Ben marks his spot on the beach.
The magnificent Mediterranean.
Hitting the beach is a must.

Sardinia

Thursday, November 9, 2000
Many Italians from the north holiday in Sardinia, for the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean and the lush traditional food.

Geologists say the land mass which is now Sardinia snapped off the coast of France and Spain about 30 million years ago. Since then it has been invaded by many nations, including the Greeks, Spaniards and Austrians. The Sardis clung to their traditions, and to this day they are different from the rest of Italy, and proud of it.

Many Italians from the north holiday in Sardinia, mainly because of the beautiful water of the Mediterranean Sea.

The picture-perfect town of Alghero, on Sardinia's north-west corner, is home to the land of Garibaldi and prehistoric, fortress-like structures called nuraghe. It prides itself on being a more genuine and natural holiday place than its rival, Costa Smerelda on the north-eastern coast, which attracts royalty, movie stars and jetsetters. Costa Smerelda was created in 1962 by a group of wealthy investors led by Prince Karim Aga Khan and is outside most people's holiday budget, whereas Alghero is a city with a history.

The old city is the centre of tradition and custom, sitting within massive fortress walls interspersed with huge, solemn towers. The narrow stone streets are bridged by Spanish-inspired arches and lined with shops and tiny piazzas. As you wander along you will see laundry strung out to dry and hear mothers calling their children in from play.

There are ancient cathedrals and churches, and the Spanish influence remains everywhere — even the language is closer to Spanish and Latin than that spoken on the mainland.

Divers constantly risk their life searching the deep waters for the highly prized coral that is made into jewellery and carvings. This industry helps support the town.

Nuraghe are cone-shaped buildings which served as fortresses throughout Sardinia. There are around 7000 remaining and it is thought they were first built in 1500-500 BC and rebuilt from 880 BC onwards. They have an air of mystery, with a lot of unanswered questions surrounding them.

If you choose to go to the Costa Smerelda, the road between Alghero and its main town, Porto Cervo, has some great vantage points with views just perfect for photographs. The Marina Porto Cervo is packed with luxurious boats (more like floating palaces), and its car park is full of the most expensive vehicles to take the boats' owners to exclusive boutiques. Forget millionaires — this is a place for billionaires, and that's the name of Porto Cervo's most popular night club, owned by the owner of the Formula 1 Benetton racing team, and visited by the world's glitterari.

Sardinia's cuisine is wonderful and varied. Towards the centre of the island you can feast of roast lamb, kid and suckling pig cooked slowly over an open fire. As you near the coast, seafood becomes dominant — mullet, mussels, clams, shellfish and even sea snakes are offered in cafes and restaurants. There is also plenty of antipasto, pasta, risotto and aromatic homemade soup. The local goat's cheese (pecorino) is delicious, and Sardis pride themselves on the variety of sweets they can tempt you with.

Location

Off Italy's west coast.

Cost

Kompas Holidays offers accommodation in Sardinia, starting from $153 per person per night twin-share at the Hotel Calabona in Alghero.
Qantas flies three times a week to Rome, with connections to Sardinia. Return economy airfares start at $2679 from the east coast and Adelaide and $2579 from Perth.
Hotel 3 Botti is located just above 400 mt from the beach in the heart of Baja Sardinia. Starting from $90 per person per night with breakfast and dinner included.

More information

Kompas Holidays: Ph: 1300 135 015
Italian Government Tourist Office
Ph: (02) 9262 1666 Fax: (02) 9262 1677
Email: enitour@ihug.com.au
www.enit.it, or www.piuitalia2000.it
Qantas: Ph: 13 1313
Another hotel we recommend is:
Hotel 3 Botti ****
Baja Sardinia
Arzachena
Phone: 39 0789 99150
Fax: 39 0789 99650
email: hotel.trebotti@tiscalinet.it

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