The history of Sardinia is long and with mysterious beginnings. The first settlers were the enigmatic Nurag people of the Bronze Age, known for their beehive live structures that can still be seen throughout Sardinia. Not much is known about the Nuraghi except that they did achieve a level of sophistication that included sea trade.
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, characterized by a jagged and rocky coastline, interspersed with marvelous beaches of very fine sand. There are numerous Bronze Age remains throughout the islands, the best known being the Nuraghi – circular (sometimes conical) stone dwellings left by an otherwise unknown people.
The traditional cuisine of Sardinia is in some ways a contradiction: An island civilization that did not utilize seafood in its diet. Therefore the traditional foods of Sardinia were always more influenced by the land than the sea. Today much has changed and now seafood has been embraced by Sardinians, no longer having to fear invaders or pirates and thus creating a truly unique gastronomic experience. Spicy fish soups called Burrida and Cassola along with lobsters, crabs, anchovies, squid, clams and fresh sardines are all very popular along the Sardinian coast. Favorite Sardinian pasta dishes include Spaghetti with Bottarga, with dried gray mullet roe shaved on top, Malloreddus is a gnocchi flavored with saffron and served with a tomato sauce. Culingiones are round ravioli stuffed with spinach and cheese. Sardinian is known for its rustic sheep and goat cheeses like Pecorino Sardo and Fiore Sardo, which can either be served fresh or aged. Sardinian wines have been influenced by the successive waves of invaders, with the Spanish leaving the most indelible mark. The full-bodied red Cannonau is the wine of choice when serving Sardinia’s excellent lamb. The most well known Sardinian white is Vernaccia di Oristano (DOC), a golden dry wine that that is popular with fish and Sardinian lobster. The well balanced Vermentino di Gallura (DOCG) is the perfect accompaniment to the seafood of the Costa Smeralda. Spirits include the aperitivo Liquoroso Secco (made from the Monica grape), and the Myrtle flavored digestivo Mirto. There are also various types of Grappa and Fil’e Ferru, a Sardinian Aquavitae and infusions of citrus fruits such as Limoncino and Arangiu.