Sardinia, the Jewel of the Mediterranean
Sardinia is the second largest island in Italy and the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily. It is a place renowned all over the world for its magnificent natural setting, the amazing beaches and the favourable climate. It belongs constitutionally to Italy, but features a unique autonomous statute. Its population is approximately 1.7 millions.
Sardinia was known in the ancient years as Hyksyousa, probably from the Greek area of Hyksos. Greeks were the first to settle on this island a few thousand years ago, but its modern name derives from the word Shardana, given to it by the Egyptians who conquered the island. Its history is rich and diverse. Over years and centuries Sardinia was invaded and conquered by many different countries and people, such as the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Arabs and later on the Byzantines. Its history and diversity made the island a patchwork of cultures and civilizations, a unique place. This uniqueness is celebrated by festivals that take place on the island all year long.
The years of invasions and development left behind a vast array of castles and temples, settlements and towns. Along with the numerous different beaches and the lovely countryside, the historical monuments attract thousands of tourists from all Europe every year. The beaches run after one another covering a total length of 2000 kilometres. Abundant underwater caves, protected sea areas and safe harbours welcome visitors who come here either using one of the basic means of transport or sailing yachts and boats. Sardinia boasts one of the best marinas in the Mediterranean Sea.
Sardinia features a large variety of uncommon animals and plants which can be found only on its soil. Among them are the white mules, the Sardinian fox and deer and the monk seal. It also boasts ten national parks, preserved and maintained by the municipality and several ecological associations.