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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Soaking Up the History of Sardinia

Castel del Monte, Andria.Castel del Monte, Andria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Helen Forbes

As the second largest in the Mediterranean Sea, this island off the western coast of Italy boasts many wonderful places to go and things to do - all of which are easily accessible when you stay in a centrally located villa. In Sardinia, you can spend weeks just lounging on the beautiful beaches that are in abundance around the coast, or, if you are more of a history buff, this is a great holiday location for you too. While you are staying on the island, you should take in a bit of culture and visit Oristano, Castelsardo, and Su Nuraxi di Barumini.

Oristano - Situated on the western side of the island, Oristano is centrally located near a variety of beautiful beaches, within easy access of your villa. In Sardinia, this town and commune typical of the island, and has a current economy based on fishing and agriculture. It is known outside of the area for its history and its rise to prominence in 1070 A.D. While in the town be sure to see the Tower of St. Christophoros, which was built in 1290 and marks one of the gates of the ancient walls. After seeing the 19-metre tower, head to Church of St. Francis of Assisi, built circa 1200 A.D., before visiting the impressive St. Mary's Cathedral. This cathedral was originally built around 1130 A.D., but was destroyed in a siege, rebuilt, and again restored in the 19th century. Its Baroque architectural influences can still be seen in the facade.
Castelsardo - On the northern part of the island you could find yourself ensconced in a lovely, sun-drenched villa in Sardinia near the town of Castelsardo. As you walk around the town, it is interesting to remember that this area has had human habitation since the pre-Nuragic times (dating from 1800 B.C.). On your drive into the town, be sure to slow down to see the Elephant's Rock, a natural sculpture made by the wind and rain and somehow shaped into an elephant! Once inside the town limits, head over to see Doria Castle (1102 A.D.) and palace, which dominated the old town in times past.
Su Nuraxi di Barumini - As you are deciding where you want to go while soaking up the sun in your villa in Sardinia, why not consider heading over to Su Nuraxi di Barumini in the central part of the island? As a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, the Su Nuraxi di Barumini are an interesting example of the special type of defensive structure known as nuraghi, which is without parallel elsewhere in the world. The circular defence towers, in the form of dressed, truncated cones with corbel-vaulted interior chambers, are an interesting feature of historical protection capabilities that date back to at least the Bronze Age during the second millennia B.C. They are thought to have been built by single families or clans whose homes and villages then grew up around these defensive points.
Helen Forbes is from Essential Italy, a company specialising in Italian holiday villas, apartments and hotels. If you're looking for the perfect villa in Sardinia, Essential Italy is ideal. Every handpicked villa in Sardinia offers distinctive Italian qualities, great comfort and convenience.

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