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Sardegna - Things to Do - Tourism

Basically, tourism in Sardinia is linked to its extraordinarily beautiful coastline, with a variety of splendours hard to find elsewhere, and not only in the Mediterranean.

Pure white sands alternate with tiny hidden coves, sheer cliffs frequently soar above magnificent caves and picturesque rocks rise from a clear sparkling sea facing rugged promontories, eroded by the wind.

The most important and interesting sights and places, taking S. Teresa di Gallura at the northern tip of the region as a starting point, are as follows: towards the east (the area is described in `Tourist Itineraries') lies Palau, facing La Maddalena and Caprera islands, Baia Sardinia and the famous resorts on the Costa Smeralda; past Olbia, lie S. Teodoro, Cala Liberotto, Marina di Orosei, at the beginning of the wide gulf of that name and Cala Gonone, not far from the famous Bue Marino cave.

Past a row of cliffs with pretty beaches, accessible only from the sea, stand S. Maria Navarrese, Arbatax with the red porphyry typical of its Marina, Marina di Gairo and Capo Carbonara.

Beyond Cagliari, the visitor reaches S. Margherita, and the recently developed beach resort of the South coast, then beyond the large islands of S. Antioco and S. Pietro, to Portoscuso, and, after a long stretch of littoral, at some points off the beaten track (as so often in this region, the coast road does not always follow the sea) to S. Caterina di Pittinuri and Alghero, a town with interesting artistic and environmental features, especially the Catalonian-Gothic cathedral (16th century), and typical handcrafted coral articles, then a visit to Neptune's grotto.

The inland villages too possess features of interest to the visitor, for example, the Romanesque and Pisan-Romanesque-architecture of the church of S. Pietro di Simbranos (12th century) at Sedini, the churches of S. Michele di Salvenero (12th century), near Ploaghe, solitary S. Pietro di Sorres (12th century), S. Maria del Regno (12th century) at Ardara, SS. Trinit at Saccargia, not far from Codrongianos, Iglesias cathedral (13th century), and S. Pantaleo at Dolianosa.

Of considerable interest are the archaeological areas, most of them characterized by the presence of the typical truncated round towers called nuraghe (and a symbol of the region), perhaps once castles or forts, built by the Nuragh peoples who came to the fore in 1500-800 BC.

There are still over seven thousand of these towers scattered all over Sardinia, but the most significant examples are those around Arzachena, at Torralba (the S. Antine nuraghe, 18 m. high, is one of the best preserved) in Sassari Province, at Dorgali in Nuoro Province and close to Barumini (the Su Nuraxi group) in the Province of Cagliari.

Scattered all over the territory and belonging to an even earlier period (3000 BC.) are the domus de janas, strange caves dug out of the ground or soft rock, and found in numbers especially at Anghelu Ruiu, near Alghero.

The remains of the coastal cities of Tharros, near Oristano and Nora, a few kilometres from Pula (Cagliari), date back to Punic and Roman times.

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