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Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Quick Tour Of Italy - Northern Sardinia

16th century catalan city walls, Alghero, SardiniaImage via Wikipedia

If you are in the mood for a tour of Europe, why don't you consider the island of Sardinia, a region of southern Italy? Depending on your specific 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 northern Sardinia. Companion articles present central Sardinia and southern Sardinia.

Spanish in Sardinia? Alghero's nickname is little Barcelona. A quarter of the population speaks a sort of Catalan, related to Spanish as their native tongue. The street signs are in Catalan. The Sixteenth Century Cathedral of St. Mary is one of many older buildings clearly influenced by Catalan architecture. Climb its bell tower for a great view of this city, especially at sunset. You'll find the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art in the former (Thirteenth Century) Rosario church next to the Cathedral. The museum hosts a unique collection of Catalan silverware.

Neptune's Caves is an unforgettable geological marvel deep inside the limestone promontory of Capo Caccia. It is a very long array of caverns, wide passages, clear lakes, deep wells, and narrow tunnels. Visits are by guide only when the weather permits.

Sassari, an ancient university town, is Sardinia's second largest city. Its Thirteenth Century Cathedral exemplifies multiple styles, Romanesque, Baroque, and Catalan-Gothic. Other churches to tour include the Thirteenth Century Church of Santa Maria di B├Ętlem, the Twelfth Century Church of St. Peter in Silki, and the Church of the Most Blessed Trinity. Make sure to visit the Eighteenth-Nineteenth Century Duke's Palace, now the Town Hall and the Nineteenth Century Palazzo Giordano.

The story has it that the famous jet-setter Aga Khan discovered Porto Cervo when seeking shelter from a storm. He really liked the location and developed an upscale resort, which has become a favorite of the yachting crowd. If you don't have a yacht there are rental agencies.

One Sardinian specialty is roasting large animals in a wood-lined pit. I'm told that Porceddu (Roast Suckling Pig) works best. Vermentino di Gallura DOCG is produced in northeastern Sardinia from the local white Vermentino grape with up to 5% of other local white grapes. It may be dry or sweet. As you might have guessed, the Alghero DOC wine is produced near the city of Alghero. It is made in a wide variety of styles from white or red local grapes or from several international grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but between you and me, he prefers drinking 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 classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his new wine, diet, health, and nutrition website and his Italian travel website .



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