Regione Autonoma della Sardegna
Regione Autonoma de sa Sardigna
Missing image
Sos Battor Moros – The Four Moors
Capital Cagliari
President Renato Soru
(Olive Tree)
Provinces Cagliari
Province of Ogliastra
Province of Medio Campidano
Province of Olbia-Tempio
Province of Carbonia-Iglesias
the last 4, new provinces since may 2005
Municipalities 377
Area 24,090 km²
 - Ranked 3rd (8.0 %)
Population (2001)
 - Total

 - Ranked
 - Density

11th (2.9 %)
Missing image

Map higlighting the location of Sardegna in Italy

Sardinia (Sardigna, Sardinna or Sardinnia in the Sardinian language, Sardegna in Italian, Sardenya in Catalan), is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (Sicily is the largest), between Italy, Spain and Tunisia, south of Corsica. It forms part of Italy.

Sardinia has an area of 24,090 km2 and a population of 1.65 million. It was called "Ichnusa" by the Phoenicians and "Sandalyon" by the Greeks because of its shape, recalling a footprint.



Sardinia is an autonomous region of Italy. The regional capital is Cagliari. The region is divided into four provinces: Cagliari, Sassari, Nuoro and Oristano; another four provinces (Olbia-Tempio, Ogliastra, Carbonia-Iglesias and Medio Campidano) have been proposed to enter effect in 2005.

See also: Sardinian towns

Sardinia is one of two Italian region whose inhabitants have been recognised as a "popolo" (i.e. a distinct people) by the Italian Parliament. The other region is Veneto.


The island contains numerous extraordinary tourist areas, including the Costa Smeralda and Gennargentu. The island is particularly famous for its beaches, but is also rich in other interesting places. See also: Tourist destinations of Sardinia


The climate is mainly Mediterranean, with a warm spring and fall, hot summer, and mild winter. Sardinia is suffering from a multi-year drought, thought by some to be due to global warming.


The most spoken languages in Sardinia are Italian and Sardinian, a Romance language with obscure roots in Phoenician, Etruscan language, and Near Eastern languages. While it has been significantly supplanted by Italian for official purposes, and it is completely unknown among some sections of Sardinian youth, particularly in Cagliari, Sardinian is still widely spoken.

In the northern regions of Gallura and Sassari, the language spoken is not Sardinian but a variety of Corsican (as in Corsica). In the island of San Pietro, the dialect spoken is Ligurian, from Genoa. In the city of Alghero in the north, a mediaeval dialect of Catalan is still spoken (the name of the city in Catalan is L'Alguer) as the island was a Catalan colony in the past.

Business and commerce

Sardinia's currency (as a part of Italy) is now the Euro, but Sardinians still unofficially refer to su Francu (or loc. "su Pidzu"); 1 francu = 1,000 former Italian Lira.

Several gold and silver mines operate on the island.

The Sardinian economy is today focused on tourism, industry, commerce, services and information technology; an increasing income is coming from its famous wines and gastronomy.


Trains on Sardinia connect the whole island but are rather slow. Some run on narrow gauge track.


Sardinia is a precious natural resource, containing thousands of rare or uncommon animal and plant species such as the Mediterranean Monk Seal and the boar. It lacks many species instead, like the viper and the marmot, which are found anywhere else on the continent.


See also: History of Sardinia

Sardinia's history is very ancient. In 1979 human remains were found that were dated to 150,000 BC.

In Prehistory Sardinia's inhabitants developed a trade in obsidian, a stone used for the production of the first rough tools, and this activity brought Sardinians into contact with most of the Mediterranean peoples.

In the age from Neolithic times to the Roman Empire, the Nuragic civilisation took shape on the island. Still today, more than 7,000 Nuraghe survive. It is speculated that the mysterious Shardana people landed in Sardinia coming from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, in about the 20th century BC. Very little is known about this people, whose name (which probably means the People of the Sea) has been found in some Egyptian inscriptions, and most hypotheses are developed following some linguistic studies; according to these, the town of Sardis (Lydia) would have been their starting point from which they would have reached the Tyrrhenian Sea, dividing into what were to become the Sardinians and the Etruscans.

However most theories regarding the original population of Sardinia have been formulated prior to genetics research and in the traditional frame of east-west movements. Genetics has now shown that Sardinians are a pre-Indo-European population different from all surrounding and much younger groups. The density, extensiveness and mere size of the architectural remains from the Neolithic, pointing to a considerable population of the island, together with recent theories about the location of the Hercules Columns, reverse the question into where Sardinians did land, or where the Shardana settled besides the known Egyptian destination.

Beginning around 1000 BC, Phoenician mariners established several ports on the Sardinian coast. In 509 BC, war broke out between the native Nuragic people and the Phoenician settlers. The settlers called for help from Carthage, and the island became a province in the Carthaginian empire. In 238 BC, after being defeated by the Roman Republic during the First Punic War, Carthage ceded Sardinia to Rome.

From 456 - 534, Sardinia was a part of the short-lived kingdom of the Vandals in North Africa, until reconquered by the Byzantine emperor Justinian. Under the Byzantines, the imperial representative was a judge who governed from the southern city of Caralis. Byzantine rule was practically nonexistent in the mountainous Barbagia region in the eastern part of the island, and an independent heathen kingdom persisted there from the sixth through ninth centuries.

Beginning in the eighth century, Arabs and Berbers began raiding Sardinia. Especially after the conquering of Sicily in 832, the Byzantines were unable to effectively defend their most distant province, and the provincial judge assumed independent authority. To provide for local defense, he divided the island into four Giudicati, Gallura, Logudoro, Arborea, and Caralis. By 900, these districts had become four independent constitutional monarchies. At various times, these fell under the sway of Genoa and Pisa. In 1323, the Kingdom of Aragon began a campaign to conquer Sardinia; the giudicato of Arborea successfully resisted this and for a time came to control nearly the entire island, but its last ruler Eleonora di Arborea, was eventually defeated by the Aragonese in the decisive Battle of Sanluri, June 30 1409. The native population of the city of Alghero (S'Alighera in Sardinian, L'Alguer in Catalan) was expelled and the city repopulated by the Catalan invaders, whose descendants speak Catalan to this day.

Kingdom of Sardinia

In 1720 Sardinia became an independent kingdom under the House of Savoy, rulers of Piedmont. At the time of Italian reunification in 1860, the King of Sardinia became King of Italy.

See also

External links


Sardinia is also a place in the State of Ohio in the United States of America; see Sardinia, da:Sardinien de:Sardinien et:Sardiinia es:Cerdea eo:Sardio fr:Sardaigne ga:An tSairdn it:Sardegna he:סרדיניה la:Sardinia lt:Sardinija nl:Sardini ja:サルデーニャ島 no:Sardinia pl:Sardynia pt:Sardenha ro:Sardinia fi:Sardinia sl:Sardinija sv:Sardinien zh:萨丁岛


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