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If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider the island of Sardinia, a region of southern Italy. Depending on your interests, this beautiful area can be an ideal vacation spot. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. Some parts of Sardinia remain undiscovered by tourists, while other sites are favorites of Italian and international jet setters and are priced accordingly. This article presents central Sardinia. Companion articles present northern Sardinia and southern Sardinia. Before we give you our itinerary you must realize that central Sardinia is hardly flatland. Sometimes to get from point A to point B you must pass by point C; the actual distance traveled may be much further than your initial estimate. Enjoy the trip, and drive carefully (or even better let the pros drive you.)
Su Nuraxi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the finest example of a 4000 year-old stone defensive structure called nuraghe found only in Sardinia. Nuraghe are typically shaped like a beehive, built with huge stone blocks, but without foundations or cement. Each mound contains one or more rooms and perhaps a courtyard and may be over sixty feet (twenty meters) high. Sardinia boasts over 8,000 nuraghe. Don't miss the ruins of the surrounding Bronze-Age village.
Giari di Gesturi is a 28 square mile (45 square kilometer) basalt plateau. It's home to dwarf wild horses and wild sheep with beautiful curved horns that made them an endangered species. Make sure to see these magnificent animals while there is still time.
Nuoro overlooks the mountains. This is the real Sardinia, not the coastal resorts. Natives are very proud that foreigners have never conquered them. Traditions are an essential part of the local daily life and the numerous village festivals.
Nuoro is proud of its captivating landscapes, walking and riding paths along old shepherd's trails, and extravagantly romantic places with rare species of birds. Archaeological finds and fascinating folklore and legends abound. Yet this city is no intellectual wasteland. It is called "the Sardinian Athens" because of its large number of poets, writers, and intellectuals including Grazia Deledda, the second woman to win a Nobel Prize for Literature (1926), born and raised in Nuoro.
There are well over 500 types of bread in Sardinia, one for each village. The most famous is the pani carasau that resembles thin pita. The Vernaccia di Oristano DOC wine is produced in a small area near the city of Oristano from a local white grape of that name. According to legend the vines come from the tears of Santa Giusta, patroness of Oristano and the wine helps fight malaria.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine German, Italian, or other wine, accompanied by the right foods and the right people. He knows what dieting is, and is glad that for the time being he can eat and drink what he wants, in moderation. He teaches various and sundry classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel, wine, and food website www.travelitalytravel.com and his Italian wine website www.theitalianwineconnection.com .