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Italy Sardinia 1280 x 960
Italy Sardinia 1280 x 960
Sardinia photos

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Sardinia 1280 x 960
Sardinia 1280 x 960
Sardinia photos

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Sardinia beach 1280 x 844
Sardinia photos

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Sardinia goths 1280 x 960
Sardinia photos

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Sardinia island 1280 x 960
Sardinia photos

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Sardinia windsurfing 1280 x 960
Sardinia windsurfing 1280 x 960
Sardinia photos

17.10.2012 16:02

Daha Büyük Görüntüle

Sardinia (play /sɑrˈdɪniə/, Italian: Sardegna [sarˈdeɲɲa], Sardinian: Sardigna [sarˈdinja]) is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus) and an autonomous region of Italy. The nearest land masses are (clockwise from north) the island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Balearic Islands.


The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[], romanised as sardus (feminine sarda); that the name had a religious connotation is suggested from its use also as the adjective for the ancient Sardinian mythological hero-god Sardus Pater "Sardinian Father" (misunderstood by many modern Sardinians/Italians as being "Father Sardus"), as well as being the stem of the adjective "sardonic". Sardinia was called Ichnusa (the Latinised form of the Greek Hyknousa, Υκνούσσα), Sandalion (Σανδάλιον in Greek, meaning sandal), Sardinia and Sardo by the ancient Greeks and the Romans.
Topographic map of Sardinia

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 23,821 km˛. It is situated between 38° 51' and 41° 15' latitude north and 8° 8' and 9° 50' east longitude. To the west of Sardinia is the Sea of Sardinia, a unit of the Mediterranean Sea; to Sardinia's east is the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is also an element of the Mediterranean Sea.[5]

The coasts of Sardinia (1,849 km long) are generally high and rocky, with long, relatively straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, rias, many inlets and with various smaller islands off the coast.

The island has an ancient geoformation and, unlike Sicily and the mainland of Italy, is not earthquake-prone. Its rocks date from the Palaeozoic Era (up to 500 million years old). Due to long erosion processes the island's highlands, formed of granite, schist, trachyte, basalt (called "jaras" or "gollei"), sandstone and dolomite limestone (called tonneri or "heels"), average at between 300 to 1,000 metres. The highest peak is Punta La Marmora (1,834 m), part of the Gennargentu Ranges in the centre of the island. Other mountain chains are Monte Limbara (1,362 m) in the northeast, the Chain of Marghine and Goceano (1,259 m) running crosswise for 40 km (25 mi) towards the north, the Monte Albo (1057 metres), the Sette Fratelli Range in the southeast, and the Sulcis Mountains and the Monte Linas (1236 metres). The island's ranges and plateaux are separated by wide alluvial valleys and flatlands, the main ones being the Campidano in the southwest between Oristano and Cagliari and the Nurra in the northwest.
A proportionate graph of Sardinian topography: 13.6% of the island is mountainous, 18.5% is flat, and 67.9% is hilly.

Sardinia has few major rivers, the largest being the Tirso, 151 km (94 mi) long, which flows into the Sea of Sardinia, the Coghinas (115 km) and the Flumendosa (127 km). There are 54 artificial lakes and dams which supply water and electricity. The main ones are Lake Omodeo and Lake Coghinas. The only natural freshwater lake is Lago di Baratz. A number of large, shallow, salt-water lagoons and pools are located along the 1,850 km (1,150 mi) of the coastline.

The island has a typical Mediterranean climate. During the year there are approximately 135 days of sunshine, with a major concentration of rainfall in the winter and autumn, some heavy showers in the spring and snowfalls in the highlands. The average temperature is between 11 to 17 °C (52 to 63 °F).[6] The Mistral from the northwest is the dominant wind on and off throughout the year, though it is most prevalent in winter and spring. It can blow quite strongly, but it is usually dry and cool and makes for a sailor's paradise.


Sardinia is one of the most geologically ancient bodies of land in Europe. Though evidence of human visits date from the Palaeolithic period, permanent settlements only appear much later in the Neolithic age, around 6000 BC.

The first people to settle in northern Sardinia probably came from the Italian mainland via Corsica, particularly from Etruria (present-day Tuscany), while those who populated the central region of the island around the salt lakes of Cabras and St Giusta may have arrived from the Iberian Peninsula by way of the Balearic Islands. The settlements founded around the Gulf of Cagliari seem to be of various origins.[7] In the middle Neolithic period the Ozieri culture, probably of Aegean origin, flourished in the island.

During the early bronze age the so-called Beaker folk, coming from the Continent, appeared in Sardinia . These new people settled predominatly on the west coast where the most part of the sites attributed to the Bell Beaker culture had been found .
Nuraghe Losa
Giants' grave in Dorgali

Evidence of trade with Aegean (Eastern Mediterranean) centres is present in the period 1600 BC onwards; for example fine ceramic products from Cydonia have been recovered in Sardinia.[citation needed] As time passed, the different Sardinian peoples appear to have become united in customs, yet remained divided politically as various small, tribal groupings, at times banding together, and at others waging war against each other. Habitations consisted of round thatched stone huts, similar to those of present-day shepherds shelters (pinnette).[citation needed]
Nuragic civilization
Main article: Nuragic civilization

From about 1500 BC onwards, villages were built around the round tower-fortresses called nuraghi,[8] which were often reinforced and enlarged with battlements. The boundaries of tribal territories were guarded by smaller lookout nuraghi erected on strategic hills commanding a view of other territories.

Today some 7,000 nuraghi dot the Sardinian landscape. According to some scholars the nuragic peoples are identifiable with the Shardana, a tribe of the "Sea Peoples".[9]

The Nuragic civilization was linked with other contemporaneous megalithic civilization of the western Mediterranean such as the Talaiotic culture of the Balearic islands and the Torrean civilization of southern Corsica.
Ancient history
The Phoenician and Roman town of Tharros

Circa 1000 BC the Phoenicians began visiting Sardinia with increasing frequency, presumably initially needing safe over-night and/or all-weather anchorages along their trade routes from the coast of modern-day Lebanon as far afield as the African and European Atlantic coasts and beyond, including Britain[citation needed]. The most common ports of call were Caralis, Nora, Bithia, Sulcis, Tharros, Bosa and Olbia. These soon became important colonies, inhabited by Phoenician traders and their families who traded overseas and with the old Sardinians.[citation needed]

While the Phoenicians stuck to the coastline, their relationship with the Sardinians was peaceful.[citation needed] However, after a few hundred years of habitation, they began expanding inward. They took over valuable natural resources such as silver and lead mines, and established a military presence in the form of a fortress on Monte Sira in 650 BC. The Sardinians resented these intrusions, and in 509 BC they mounted a series of attacks against Phoenician settlements. The Phoenicians called upon Carthage for help, and when it arrived they successfully took control of most of the island.[10]
Roman thermae of Forum Traiani - Fordongianus

In 238 BC the Carthaginians, as a result of their defeat by the Romans in the first Punic War, surrendered Sardinia to Rome. Sardinia became a Roman province, and the existing coastal cities were enlarged and embellished, while Coloniae such as Turris Lybissonis and Feronia were founded. These were populated by Roman immigrants. The Roman military occupation brought the Nuragic civilization to an end. Roman domination of Sardinia lasted 694 years, during which it was an important source of grain for the capital. Latin came to be the dominant spoken language of Sardinia during this period, though Roman culture was slower to take hold, and Roman rule was often contested by the inhabitants of Sardinia's mountainous central regions.
Vandal interlude

The east Germanic tribe of the Vandals led by King Geiseric had migrated to coastal Numidia (modern Morocco and Algeria) from Spain in AD 429 at the invitation of the Roman governor of North Africa Count Boniface. The Vandals were seeking safe haven from military pressure by the Romans from Gaul (modern France, Belgium and North Italy). Boniface was seeking to shore up his military position in the succession struggle following the death of Western Emperor Honorius. In AD 439, the Vandals revolted and seized Carthage and Africa (modern Tunisa, and Libya). The new Vandal Kingdom of North Africa achieved peace with the Romans on favorable terms in AD 442, but in AD 455 another Roman coup d'état killed Emperor Valentinian III whose daughter had been promised to Geiseric's son. Geiseric, led his powerful fleet to sack Rome, along the way occupying Caralis and other key coastal cities of Sardinia and claiming the island for his kingdom.
A vandal period coin discovered in Sardinia

Vandal rule lasted for 77 years of which there is little detail in the historical record. It is known that the Vandal government continued the forms of the existing Roman Imperial structure. The governor of Sardinia continued to be called the praeses and apparently continued to manage military, judicial, and civil governmental functions via imperial procedures. (This continuity was not novel to Sardinia; like the Visigoths, the Vandals generally maintained the pretense of the empire, nominally acknowledging Constantinople and declaring themselves its deputies.) The only Vandal governor of Sardinia about whom there is substantial record is the last, Goddas, a Visigoth noble. In AD 530 a coup d'état in Carthage removed King Hilderic, a convert to Roman Catholicism, in favor of his cousin Gelimer, an Arian Christian like most of his kingdom. Goddas was sent to take charge and ensure the loyalty of Roman Catholic Sardinia. He did the exact opposite, declaring the island's independence from Carthage and opening negotiations with Emperor Justinian I, who had declared war on Hilderic's behalf. In AD 533 Gelimer sent the bulk of his army to Sardinia to subdue Goddas, with the catastrophic result that the Vandal Kingdom was overwhelmed when Justinian's own army under Belisarius arrived in their absence. The Vandal Kingdom conquered, Sardinia was returned to Byzantine rule.[11]
Byzantine Period

In AD 533 Sardinia returned to the rule of the Eastern Roman Empire or the Byzantine Empire when the Vandals were defeated by the armies of Justinian I under the General Belisarius in the Battle of Tricamarum. This Roman victory over the Vandals in North Africa returned Sardinia to the Roman fold for the next 300 years.[12]
Justinian I's Imperial Court Mosaic. Note: Justinian is center and Belisarius is likely the first man on the left.

Under Byzantine rule, the island was divided into districts called merčie, which were governed by a judge residing in Caralis (Cagliari) and garrisoned by an army stationed in Forum Traiani today known as Fordongianus under the command of a dux. The Byzantines practiced Christianity and converted the largely pagan population of early medieval Sardinia. Along with lay Christianity, the followers of monastic figures such as St. Basil became established in Sardinia. While Christianity penetrated the majority of the population, the region of Barbagia remained largely pagan. In Barbagia towards the end of the 6th century, a short-lived independent principality established itself, returning to the local traditional religions. One of its Princes, the last pagan Prince, was Ospitone, who conducted raids upon the neighboring Christian communities controlled by the Byzantine Dux Zabarda. He was later reprimanded by Pope Gregory I within a letter for "Dum enim Barbaricini omnes ut insensata animalia vivant, deum verum nesciant, ligna autem et lapides adorent" (living, all like irrational animals, ignorant of the true God and worshiping wood and stone).[13] In AD 594. Ospitone was then convinced by Gregory the Great, and likely the circumstances of his conflict with Zabarda, to convert to Christianity after receiving the papal letter. His followers, however, were not immediately convinced and ostracized their prince for a short time before they themselves converted.[14]
Ex orthodox church of Santa Sabina in Silanus

Exactly when and how Byzantine rule ended in Sardinia is not known. Direct central control was maintained at least through c. AD 650, after which local legates were empowered in the face of the rebellion of Gregory the Patrician, Exarch of Africa and the First Invasion of the Umayyad conquest of North Africa. There is some evidence that senior Byzantine administration in the Exarchate of Africa retreated to Cagliari following the final fall of Carthage to the Arabs in AD 697.[15] The loss of imperial control in Africa led to escalating Moorish and Berber raids on the island, the first of which is document in AD 705, forcing increased military self-reliance in the province.[16] Communication with the central government became daunting if not impossible during and after the Muslim conquest of Sicily of AD 827 and AD 902. A letter by Pope Nicholas I as early as 864 mentions the "Sardinian judges", without reference to the empire and a letter by Pope John VIII (reigned AD 872 – AD 882) refers to them as principes ("princes"). By the time of ‘’De Administrando Imperio’’, completed in 952, the Byzantine authorities no longer listed Sardinia as an imperial province, suggesting they considered it lost.[15]

Whether this final transformation from imperial civil servant to independent sovereign resulted from imperial abandonment or local assertion, by the 10th century, the ‘’Giudici’’ (Latin iudices, literally meaning "judges", a Byzantine administrative title) had emerged as the autonomous rulers of Sardinia. The title of iudice changed with the language and local understanding of the position, becoming the Sardinian giudice, essentially sovereign, while giudicato, literally judgeship, came to mean both "state" and "palace" or "capital".[17]
Medieval history

Having escaped the barbarian conquests and mass settlement that reshaped the rest of Western Europe, Early medieval Sardinian political institutions evolved from the millennium old Roman imperial structures with relatively little Germanic influence. Examples are seen within naming conventions and the form of government. Sardinians called their leaders Giudici, derived from the Byzantine magistrate title of iuidici (judici, literally “judge”, or “magistrate”), though they were the equivalent of the equally new sovereign titles “duke”, and “king”. Although the Giudicati were hereditary lordships, the old Roman/Byzantine imperial notion that separated personal title or honor from the state still obtained, so the Giudicato (“judgeship”, essentially, a kingdom) was not regarded as the personal property of the monarch as was common in later European feudalism. Like the imperial systems, the new order also preserved Republican forms, with national assemblies called corona de logu, although its powers and importance are not well understood by historians. Each Giudicato saw to its own defense, maintained its own laws and administration, and looked after its own foreign and trading affairs.[18]

In the 10th century there were five known Giudicati on Sardinia, but, the annexation of the Giudicato of Agugliastra by the Giudicato of Cagliari sometime in the 10th or 11th century stabilized the number at four, where it would remain until the Aragonese invasion of the 14th century. The history of the four Giudicati would be defined by the contest for influence between the rival rising sea powers of Genoa and Pisa, and later the ambitions of the Kingdom of Aragon.
Statue of Giudicessa Eleanor of Arborea in Oristano

The Giudicato of Cagliari was allied to the Republic of Genoa. It was brought to an end in 1258 when its capital, St Igia, was stormed and destroyed by an alliance of Sardinian and Pisan forces. The territory then briefly became a colony of Pisa.

The Giudicato of Logudoro (sometimes called Torres) was also allied to the Republic of Genoa and came to an end in 1259 on the death of the judikessa (queen) Adelasia. The territory was divided up between the Doria family of Genoa and the Basserra family of Arborea, while the city of Sassari became an autonomous city-republic.

The Giudicato of Gallura ended in the year 1288, when the last giudice, Nino Visconti (a friend of Dante Alighieri), was driven out by the Pisans, who occupied the territory.

The Giudicato of Arborea had a longer life compared to the other kingdoms. It lasted some 520 years and had Oristano as its capital. The kingdom was called Arborea after its coat of arms, which featured a green uprooted tree on a white field. The history of Arborea is entwined with the attempt to unify the island against their relatives and former allies Aragonese.

The first king of Arborea to actively pursue the plan to unite Sardinia under the rule of Arborea was Barisone the First. He managed to be crowned King of Sardinia by the Holy Roman Empire Emperor Frederick "Barbarossa" the First in 1164. However, in order to obtain the title of King of Sardinia, Barisone the First had taken out a loan from the Republic of Genoa that he was unable to pay back. For this reason, he was imprisoned by the Republic of Genoa and was detained for 7 years. Barisone never succeeded in uniting Sardinia under his rule because of his financial problems.

In 1297, Pope Boniface VIII established on his own initiative (motu proprio) a hypothetical regnum Sardiniae et Corsicae ("Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica") in order to settle the War of the Vespers diplomatically. This had broken out in 1282 between the Angevins and Aragonese over the possession of Sicily. The Pope offered this newly created crown to James II, the King of Aragon, promising him support should he wish to conquer Pisan Sardinia in exchange for Sicily.
The proclamation of the Republic of Sassari . The Sassarese republic lasted from 1272 until 1323 when it was inclued in the new born Kingdom of Sardinia

In 1323 the king of Arborea formed an alliance with James II of Aragon against the Pisans, despite being aware of the Aragonese plans to take control of Sardinia, because they saw the Pisans as a bigger threat. It is also important to remember that the kings of Arborea descended in part from an Aragonese family. The Aragonese flag appeared on the Arborean coat of arms and flags along with the uprooted tree until the later conflict between Arborea and Aragon escalated. Following a military campaign which lasted a year or so, the Aragonese occupied the Pisan territories of Cagliari and Gallura along with the allied city of Sassari, naming them "The Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica". However, soon the king of Arborea started to wage war against the Aragonese, having his own plans to unite Sardinia as one independent kingdom.

When the other Giudicati had been taken over by foreign powers, the kings of Arborea started try to conquer the whole island. They not only waged war against the Kings of Aragon, who were trying to conquer all of Sardinia, they also formalised the legal and political institutions that were the basis of their statehood and independence, such as by promulgating the legal code of the kingdom in the Carta de Logu (English: Charter of the Land). The Carta de Logu was originally compiled by Mariano IV of Arborea, and was amended and updated by Mariano's daughter, Queen Eleanor of Arborea. The legal code was written in Sardinian and established a whole range of citizens' rights. Among the revolutionary concepts in this Carta de Logu was the right of women to refuse marriage and to own property. In terms of civil liberties, the code made provincial 14th century Sardinia one of the most developed societies in all of Europe.[19]

In the Carta de Logu it is clear that the kings and queens of Arborea saw themselves as the legitimate rulers of Sardinia: they stated very clearly that the Carta de Logu applied to the whole of Sardinia, not just to their dominions, and that it had been established to guarantee the well-being and development of the Sardinian state and its people.

In 1353 Peter IV of Aragon, following Aragonese custom, granted a parliament to the kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica, which was followed in due course by some degree of self-government under a viceroy and judicial independence. This parliament, however, had some very limited powers. It consisted of high-ranking military commanders, the clergy and the nobility. The kingdom of Aragon also introduced the feudal system into the areas of Sardinia ruled by it.

The Sardinian kingdoms never adopted feudalism, and the Kingdom of Arborea maintained its parliament called the "Corona de Logu". In this parliament, apart from the nobles and military commanders, also sat the representatives of each township and village. The Corona de Logu exercised some control over the king: under the rule of the "bannus consensus" the king could be deposed or even killed if he did not follow the rules of the kingdom.

From 1365 to 1409 the Arborean giudici Mariano IV, Ugone III, Mariano V (assisted by his mother Eleonora, the famous giudicessa regent), and Guglielmo III (the French grandson of Eleonora) succeeded in occupying all of Sardinia except the heavily fortified towns of the Castle of Cagliari (today simply Cagliari) and Alghero, which for years were the only Aragonese dominions in Sardinia. The Giudicato of Arborea and its monarchs received a great deal of support from many Sardinians of all classes, partly because many Sardinians were strongly against the feudal system that the Kingdom of Aragon introduced in its domains.

In 1409 Martin I of Sicily, king of Sicily and heir to the crown of Aragon, defeated the Sardinians at the Battle of Sanluri (Sa battalla de Seddori in Sardinian). The battle was fought by about 20,000 Sardinians, Genoese and French knights, enrolled from their kingdom at a time when the population of Sardinia had been greatly depleted by the plague. Despite the Sardinian army outnumbering the Aragonese army, they were defeated. It is estimated that about 5,000 soldiers were killed in the battle. A field near Sanluri is still known to this day as S'Occidroxiu: the massacre place.

The kingdom of Arborea went down permanently in 1420, when his rights were sold by the last king for 100,000 gold florins, and after some of its most notable men switched sides in exchange for privileges. For example, Leonardo Cubello, with some claim to the crown being from a family related to the Kings of Arborea, was granted the title of Marquis of Oristano and feudal rights on a territory that partly overlapped with the original extension of the Kingdom of Arborea in exchange for his subjection to the King of Aragon.

The successes of the Kingdom of Aragon were marred by the death of the heir to the Aragon crown, Martin I of Sicily, who died in Cagliari (where he is buried) of malaria contracted during the military campaign against the Kingdom of Arborea. Consequently the Crown of Aragon passed to a different dynasty, the Trastámaras, to Ferdinand I of Aragon and his descendants through the Compromise of Caspe in 1412.

The conquest of Sardinia by the Kingdom of Aragon and the consequent loss of independence also meant the introduction of the feudal system throughout Sardinia. Thus Sardinia is probably the only European country where feudalism was introduced in the transition period from the Medieval to the Modern Era, at a time when feudalism had already been abandoned by many other European countries.
Modern history

In 1479, as a result of the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabel of Castile, the "Kingdom of Sardinia" (which was separated from Corsica) became Spanish, with the state symbol of the Four Moors. Following the failure of the military ventures against the Muslims of Tunis (1535) and Algiers (1541), Charles V of Spain, in order to defend his Mediterranean territories from pirate raids by the African Berbers, fortified the Sardinian shores with a system of coastal lookout towers.
maximum expansion of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860

The Kingdom of Sardinia remained Spanish for approximately 400 years, from 1323 to 1720, assimilating a number of Spanish traditions, customs and linguistic expressions, nowadays vividly portrayed in the folklore parades of Saint Efisio in Cagliari (May 1), the Cavalcade on Sassari (last but one Sunday in May), and the Redeemer in Nuoro (August 28).

Many famines have been reported in Sardinia. According to Stephen L. Dyson and Robert J. Rowland, "The Jesuits of Cagliari recorded years during the late 16th century "of such hunger and so sterile that the majority of the people could sustain life only with wild ferns and other weeds" ... During the terrible famine of 1680, some 80,000 people, out of a total population of 250,000, are said to have died, and entire villages were devastated..."[20]

In 1708, as a consequence of the Spanish War of Succession, the rule of the Kingdom of Sardinia passed into the hands of the Austrians who occupied the island. In 1717 Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, minister of Philip V of Spain, reoccupied Sardinia. In 1718, with the Treaty of London, Sardinia was handed over to the House of Savoy.

In 1793 Sardinians defeated twice the French invaders. In February 23, 1793, Domenico Millelire, in command of the Sardinian fleet, defeated near the Maddalena archipelago the fleets of the French Republic, which was included with the rank of lieutenant, the young and future Emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte. Millelire become the first Gold Medal of Military Valor of the Italian Armed Forces. In the same month, Sardinians stopped the attempted french landing on the beach of Quartu Sant'Elena, near the Capital of Cagliari. Because of these successes, the representatives of nobility and clergy (Stamenti) formulated five requests addressed to the King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia, but they got a refusal. Because of this discontent, on 28 April 1794, during an uprising in Cagliari, two Piedmontese officials were killed. That was the start of a revolt (called the "Moti rivoluzionari sardi" or "Vespri sardi") all over the island, which culminated in the expulsion of the officers for a few days from the Capital Cagliari. On 28 December 1795 in Sassari insurgents demonstrating against feudalism, mainly from the region of Logudoro, occupied the city. On 13 February 1796, in order to prevent the spread of the revolt, the viceroy Filippo Vivalda gave to the Sardinian magistrate Giovanni Maria Angioy the role of Alternos, which meant a substitute of the viceroy himself. Angioy moved from Cagliari to Sassari, and during his journey almost all the villages joined the uprising, demanding an end to feudalism, but he had lost all popular support he fled to Paris and sought support for a French invasion of the island.

In 1799, as a consequence of the Napoleonic Wars in Italy, the Dukes of Savoy left Turin and took refuge in Cagliari for some fifteen years. In 1847 the Sardinian parliaments (Stamenti) spontaneously renounced their state autonomy and formed a union with Piedmont in order to have a single parliament, a single magistracy and a single government in Turin.

In 1848 the Italian Wars of Independence broke out for the Unification of Italy and were led by the kings of Sardinia for thirteen years. In 1861 Sardinia joined the newly founded Kingdom of Italy.

During the First World War the Sardinian soldiers of the Brigata Sassari distinguished themselves, several being decorated with gold medals and other honours. It was the first and only Italian military unit constituted mainly from Sardinian soldiers. The Sardinian writer Grazia Deledda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926.

During the Fascist period, and implementation of the policy of autarky, several swamps were reclaimed around the island and agrarian communities founded. The main communities were in the area of Oristano, where the village of Mussolinia (now called Arborea) was located, and in the area adjacent the city of Alghero, within the region of Nurra, Fertilia was founded. Also established during that time was the city of Carbonia, which became the main centre of mining activity. Works to dry the numerous waste lands and the reprise of mining activities favored the arrival of settlers and immigrants, at first from Veneto, and after World War II Istrian Italians and Dalmatian Italians from territories lost to Yugoslavia.

The oppression by the fascist regime of its opponents within the region was ruthless. Antonio Gramsci, one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party, was arrested and died in prison. Michele Schirru was executed on May 29, 1931, after a failed assassination plot against Benito Mussolini.
Post World War II Period

In 1946 by popular referendum Italy became a republic, with Sardinia administered since 1948 by special statute of autonomy. By 1951, malaria was successfully eliminated by the ERLAAS, Anti-malaric Regional Authority, and the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, which facilitated the commencement of the Sardinian tourist boom, mainly focused on beach holidays and elite tourism. Today about ten million people visit the island every year.

With the increase in tourism, coal decreased in importance but Sardinia followed the Italian economic miracle. However, in the early 1960s an industrialization effort was commenced, the so-called Piani di Rinascita (rebirth plans), with the initiation of major infrastructure projects on the island. These included the construction of new dams and roads, reforestation, agricultural zones on reclaimed marshland, and large industrial complexes (primarily oil refineries and related petrochemical operations). With the creation of petrochemical industries, thousands of ex-farmers became industrial workers. Nevertheless, the 1973 oil crisis caused the termination of employment for thousands of workers employed in the petrochemical industries, which aggravated the emigration already present in the 1950s and 1960s. In the same years were created many military bases in the island, like Decimomannu Air Base and Salto di Quirra, due to the growing international tension in the Cold War.
Santo Stefano's former NATO Naval Base

In '70s the economic crisis, unemployment aggravated the crime rate, with increasing kidnappings and political subversion, and ended only in the '90s. Communist groups flourished, the most famous being Barbagia Rossa, which perpetrated several terrorist actions between the 1970s and the early 1980s.[21]

In 1983 a militant of an autonomist-independentist party, the Sardinian Action Party (Partito Sardo d'Azione), was elected president of the regional parliament, and in the 1980s several independentist movements were born; in the 1990s some of them became political parties. In 1999 the local languages (Sardinian, Sassarese, Gallurese, Algherese and Tabarchino) received official status together with Italian. The 35th G8 summit summit was planned by Prodi II Cabinet to be held in Sardinia, on the island of La Maddalena, in July 2009. However in April 2009, the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, decided, without convoking the Italian parliament or consulting the Sardinian governor of his own party, to move the summit, even though the works were almost completed, to L'Aquila, provoking heavy protests.

Today Sardinia is phasing in as an EU region, with a diversified economy focused on tourism and the tertiary sector. The economic efforts of the last twenty years have reduced the handicap of insularity, especially in the fields of low-cost air travel and advanced information technology. For example, the CRS4 (Center for Advanced Studies, Research and Development in Sardinia) developed the first Italian website in 1991 and webmail in 1995. CRS4 allowed several telecommunication companies and internet service providers based on the island to flourish, such as Videonline in 1994, Tiscali in 1998 and Andala Umts in 1999.

According to the ISTAT census 2001 the literacy rate in Sardinia among people below 64 years old is 99,5%. Total literacy rate (including people over 65) is 98,2%.[22][23] Illiteracy rate among males below 65 years old is 0,24%, while among women is 0,25%,[22] the number of women that annually graduate at secondary high schools and universities is higher of about 10-20% than men.[24][25]

Sardinia has two Universities: the University of Sassari and the University of Cagliari, founded between 16th and 17th century; 48,979 students were enrolled at universities in 2007-08.[26]
A pie chart showing the economic sectors percentages in the Sardinian economy: 8.7% the primary sector (fishing, agriculture, farming), 23.5% the secondary sector (industry, machinery, manufacturing), and 67.8% the tertiary sector (tourism, services, finance)

Taken as a whole, Sardinia's economic conditions are such that the island is in the best position amongst Italian regions located south of Rome. The greatest economic development had taken place inland, in the provinces of Cagliari and Sassari, characterized by a certain amount of enterprise. According to Eurostat, the 2007 GDP was €33,823.2 million, resulting in a €20,627 GDP per capita, in 2009.
Economic classification of European regions according to Eurostat

The Sardinian economy is constrained due to high costs of transportation of goods and electricity, which is double compared to the continental Italian regions, and triple compared to the EU average. Sardinia is the only Italian region that produces a surplus of electricity, which supply power to the region, and does not import power from abroad, whereas the problem the region had encountered was insufficient transmission links as it is an island situated over 100 km from the mainland.[27] In 2009 the new submarine power cable Sapei entered into operation, it links the Fiume Santo Power Station, in Sardinia, to the converter stations in Latina, in the Italian peninsula, the SACOI is another submarine power cable that links Sardinia to Italy, crossing Corsica, from 1965. The under construction submarine gas pipeline GALSI, will link Algeria to Sardinia and further Italy.

The per capita income in Sardinia is the highest of Southern Italy, with 16,540 euros per person.[28] The most populated provincial chief towns have higher incomes: in Cagliari the income per capita is 27,545 €, in Sassari 24,006 €, in Oristano 23,887 €, in Nuoro is 23,316 € and in Olbia is 20.827 €.[29]

In Sardinia are headquartered three main banks: the Banco di Sardegna and the Banca di Sassari, based in Sassari, and the Banca di Credito Sardo, based in Cagliari.

The unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2008 was 8.6%, by the 2012 the unemployment rate increased to 15%. The rise in unemployment was due to the global financial crisis that hit Sardinian exports, mainly focused on refined oil, chemical products, and also mining and metallurgical products.[30]
Sheep breeding around Lula, Nuoro
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Gross domestic product nominal
(Million €) 25,958.1 27,547.6 28,151.6 29,487.3 30,595.5 31,421.3 32,579.0 33,823.2
GDP per capita nominal
(Euro) 15,861.0 16,871.4 17,226.5 17,975.7 18,581.0 19,009.8 19,654.3 20,444.1
Petrochemical industries in Porto Torres

The primary sector is focused on goat and sheep rearing, based mainly on production of milk and cheeses, protected by designation of origin, like the Pecorino Sardo and the Pecorino Romano. Sardinia is the region with the highest number of sheep, goats (1/3 of ovines in Italy) and horses in Italy.[31] Agriculture was modernized under fascism and immediately after the Second World War, mainly in the Campidano and Nurra plain, where were realised important works of land reclamation. There is little fishing (and no real maritime tradition), but the once prosperous mining industry is still active though restricted to coal (Carbonia, Bacu Abis), antimony (Villasalto), gold (Furtei), bauxite (Olmedo) and lead and zinc (Iglesiente, Nurra). The granite extraction represents one of the most flourishing industries in the northern part of the island. The Gallura granite district is composed of 260 companies that work in 60 quarries, where 75% of the Italian granite is extracted. The cork district, in the northern part of the Gallura region, around Calangianus and Tempio Pausania, is composed of 130 companies and has become the driver of Sardinian economic development. Every year in Sardinia 200,000 quintals of cork are carved, and 40% of the end products are exported. Fishing along the coasts is also an important activity on the island. Portoscuso tunas are exported worldwide, but primarily to Japan.
Industry and Handicraft
Super Yachts anchored at Porto Cervo port, Costa Smeralda

The principal industries are chemicals (Porto Torres, Cagliari, Villacidro, Ottana), petrochemicals (Porto Torres, Sarroch), metalworking (Porto Scuso, Porto Vesme, Villacidro), cement (Cagliari), pharmaceutical (Sassari), shipbuilding (Arbatax, Olbia, Porto Torres), oil rig construction (Arbatax), and food (sugar refineries at Villasor and Oristano, dairy at Arborea, Macomer and Thiesi, fish factory at Olbia). Plans related to industrial conversion are is in progress in the main industrial sites, like in Porto Torres, where seven research centers are developing the transformation from traditional fossil fuel related industry to an integrated production chain from vegetable oil using oleaginous seeds to bio-plastics.[32][33]

Craft industries include rugs, jewelry, textile, lacework, basket making, and coral.

The Sardinian economy is today focused on the overdeveloped tertiary sector (67.8% of employment), with commerce, services, information technology, public administration and especially on tourism, which represents the main industry of the island with 2,721 active companies and 189,239 rooms. In 2008 there were 2,363,496 arrivals (up 1.4% on 2007). In the same year, the airports of the island registered 11,896,674 passengers (up 1.24% on 2007).[34]
Airbus A319 of Sardinian airline Meridiana Fly

Sardinia has three international airports (Alghero Airport, Olbia - Costa Smeralda Airport, and Cagliari-Elmas Airport) connected with the principal Italian cities and many European destinations, mainly in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Spain, and Germany, and two regional airports (Oristano-Fenosu Airport and Tortolě Airport). Internal air connections between Sardinian airports are limited to a daily Cagliari-Olbia flight, and Tortolě-Olbia flight.[35] Sardinian citizens benefit from special sales on plane tickets, and several low-cost air companies operate on the island. Meridiana Fly is an airline based in the airport of Olbia; it was founded as Alisarda in 1963 by the Aga Khan, Prince Karim al-Hussayni.

The development of the Meridiana airlines followed the development of the resort village of Porto Cervo in the north east part of the island, a well known vacation spot among billionaires and movie stars worldwide.
Ship transport
A high-speed ferry in the Gulf of Olbia

The ferry companies operating on the island are Tirrenia di Navigazione, Moby Lines, Corsica Ferries, Grandi Navi Veloci, SNAV, SNCM, and CMN; they link the Sardinian harbors of Porto Torres, Olbia, Golfo Aranci, Arbatax, Santa Teresa Gallura, Palau and Cagliari with Civitavecchia, Genoa, Livorno, Naples, Palermo, Trapani, Piombino in Italy, Marseille, Toulon, Bonifacio, Propriano and Ajaccio in France, and Barcelona in Spain. A regional ferry company, the Saremar, links the main island to the islands of La Maddalena and San Pietro, and from 2011, also the port of Olbia with Civitavecchia, and Porto Torres with Savona.
A bus of Sardinia public transport authorities (Arst) in Sassari

Sardinia is the only Italian region without motorways, but the road network is well developed, with a system of "superstrade" (dual carriage freeways), that connect the principal towns and the transport infrastructures; the speed limit is 90/110 km/h. The principal road is the SS131 "Carlo Felice", linking the north with the south of the island, crossing the most populated regions of Sassari and Cagliari; it is part of European route E25. The SS 131 d.c.n links Oristano with Olbia, crossing the hinterland Nuoro region. Other roads designed for high-capacity traffic link Sassari with Alghero, Sassari with Tempio Pausania, Sassari - Olbia, Cagliari - Tortolě, Cagliari - Iglesias, Nuoro - Lanusei. A work in progress is converting the main routes to highway standards, with the elimination of all intersections. The secondary inland and mountain roads are generally narrow with many hairpin turns, so the speed limits are very low.

Public transport buses reach every town and village at least once a day; however, due to the low density of population, the smallest territories are reachable only by car. The Azienda Regionale Sarda Trasporti (Arst) is the public regional bus transport agency.
Alstom Minuetto in Cagliari railway station

The Sardinian railway system was developed in the 19th century, by the English engineer Lord Benjamin Piercy. Trains connect the whole island, and there are two different railway operators. Trenitalia is the largest, connecting the largest towns, the main ports, and also the Italian peninsula through the use of train ferries. This network is the most modern on the island, running primarily diesel locomotives such as the Alstom "Minuetto" and, from 2013, speed tilting trains such as the Spanish CAF Class 598 or the Talgo XXI. The second operator is ARST Gestione FdS, best known as Ferrovie della Sardegna (Sardinian Railways), running on narrow-gauge track, and they are generally very slow, except the electrified tram-trains, operating in the metropolitan areas of Sassari and Cagliari. Many tourists catch the trenino verde, which runs through the wildest parts of the island. It is slow but allows the traveller to have scenic views impossible to see from the main road.
Main article: Sardinia Radio Telescope

Sardinia has become Europe’s first region to fully adopt the new Digital Terrestrial Television broadcasting standard. From the 1 November 2008 TV channels are broadcast only in digital.[36]
On the island are headquartered some telecommunication companies and internet service providers, such as Tiscali and the Skylogic Mediterraneo (Mediterranean Skylogic Teleport), a ground station controlled by satellite provider Eutelsat.[37]
Main article: Sardinian people
Main article: List of Sardinians
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1861 609,000 —
1871 636,000 +4.4%
1881 680,000 +6.9%
1901 796,000 +17.1%
1911 868,000 +9.0%
1921 885,000 +2.0%
1931 984,000 +11.2%
1936 1,034,000 +5.1%
1951 1,276,000 +23.4%
1961 1,419,000 +11.2%
1971 1,474,000 +3.9%
1981 1,594,000 +8.1%
1991 1,648,000 +3.4%
2001 1,632,000 −1.0%
2011 1,675,000 +2.6%
Source: ISTAT 2001

With a population density of 69/km2, slightly more than a third of the national average, Sardinia is the fourth least populated region in Italy. The population distribution is anomalous compared to that of other Italian regions lying on the sea. In fact, contrary to the general trend, urban settlement has not taken place primarily along the coast but towards the centre of the island. Historical reasons for this include repeated Saracen raids during the Middle Ages (making the coast unsafe), widespread pastoral activities inland, and the swampy nature of the coastal plains (reclaimed only in the 20th century). The situation has been reversed with the expansion of seaside tourism; today all Sardinia's major urban centres are located near the coasts, while the island's interior is very sparsely populated.

It is the Italian region with the lowest total fertility rate[38] (1.087 births per woman), and the region with the second-lowest birth rate;[39] these factors, together with the high level of urbanization of population, allow the preservation of the greater part of the natural environment. However, the population has increased in recent years due to immigration, mainly from Eastern Europe (esp. Romania), Africa and China.

At the end of 2010 there were 37,853 foreign national residents, forming 2,3% of the total Sardinian population.[40] The most represented nationalities were :

Romania 9,899
Morocco 4,420
China 2,872
Senegal 2,787
Ukraine 1,952
Germany 1,479
Philippines 1,368
Poland 1,174
France 756
Pakistan 695

Average life expectancy is 81 years (85 for women[41] and 78 for men[41]). Sardinia shares with the Japanese island of Okinawa the highest rate of centenarians in the world (22 centenarians/100,000 inhabitants).

Main articles: Sardinian language, Sassarese language, Gallurese language, and Algherese
Language Map of Sardinia
A No Smoking sign in both Sardinian and Italian

Alongside Italian (Italiano), the official language throughout Italy, Sardinian (Sardu) is the most widely spoken language on the island. Sardinian is a distinct branch of the Romance language family, and not an Italian dialect.[42] The language has been influenced by Catalan, Spanish and indigenous Nuragic elements with some roots from Phoenician. While it has been significantly supplanted by Italian for official purposes, in 2006 the regional administration has approved the use of Limba Sarda Comuna[43] in official documents. As a literary language, it is gaining importance, despite heated debate about the lack of standard orthography and controversial proposed solutions to this problem. The two most widely spoken forms of the Sardinian language are Campidanese (Sardu Campidanesu), spoken throughout the southern half of the island, and Logudorese (Sardu Logudoresu), from the northern-central region, extending almost to the suburbs of Sassari.

The Sassarese (Sassaresu) and Gallurese (Gadduresu) varieties are often termed Corso-Sardinian dialects. Spoken in the extreme north of Sardinia, they are sometimes considered as independent languages or to be part of Corsican rather than Sardinian.

In Sardinia there are examples of language islands: Algherese (Alguerés) is a variant of Catalan spoken in the city of Alghero; on the islands of San Pietro and Sant'Antioco, located in the extreme south west of Sardinia, the local population speaks a variant of Ligurian called Tabarchino (Tabarchin); fewer and fewer people speak Venetian, Friulian and Istriot in Arborea and Fertilia, having been populated in the 1920s and 1930s by families who mainly came from north-eastern Italy.
Main article: Music of Sardinia

Sardinia is home to one of the oldest forms of vocal polyphony, generally known as cantu a tenore. In 2005, Unesco classed the canto a tenore among intangible world heritage. Several famous musicians have found it irresistible, including Frank Zappa, Ornette Coleman, and Peter Gabriel. The latter travelled to the town of Bitti in the central mountainous region and recorded the now world-famous Tenores di Bitti CD on his Real World label. The guttural sounds produced in this form make a remarkable sound, similar to Tuvan throat singing. Another polyphonic style of singing, more like the Corsican paghjella and liturgic in nature, is found in Sardinia and is known as cantu a cuncordu.
The festival of Sant'Efisio in Cagliari

Another unique instrument is the launeddas. Three reed-canes (two of them glued together with beeswax) produce distinctive harmonies, which have their roots many thousands of years ago, as demonstrated by the bronzette from Ittiri, of a man playing the three reed canes, dated to 2000 BC.

Beyond this, the tradition of cantu a chiterra (guitar songs) has its origins in town squares, when artists would compete against one another. The most famous singer of this genre are Maria Carta and Elena Ledda.

Sardinian culture is alive and well, and young people are actively involved in their own music and dancing. In 2004, BBC presenter Andy Kershaw travelled to the island with Sardinian music specialist Pablo Farba and interviewed many artists. His programme can be heard on BBC Radio 3. Sardinia has produced a number of notable jazz musicians such as Antonello Salis, Marcello Melis, and Paolo Fresu.

The main opera houses of the island are the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari and the Teatro Verdi in Sassari (soon to be replaced by the new Teatro Auditorium Comunale).
A picture showing a lavish Sardinian wedding cake
A range of different cakes, pastries, meals, dishes and sweets which are common elements of Sardinian cuisine

Rock lobster, scampi, bottarga, squid, tuna, sardines and other seafood figure in Sardinian cuisine, though meat, dairy products, grains and vegetables constitute the most basic elements of the traditional diet.

Suckling pig and wild boar are roasted on the spit or boiled in stews of beans and vegetables, thickened with bread. Herbs such as mint and myrtle are used. Much Sardinian bread is made dry, which keeps longer than high-moisture breads. Those are baked as well, including civraxiu, coccoi pinatus, a highly decorative bread and pistoccu made with flour and water only, originally meant for herders, but often served at home with tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic and a strong cheese.[44]

Sardinia boasts the highest consumption of beer per capita in Italy, 60 liters per person, that is double if compared with the national average. The Province of Nuoro has the highest consumption with an average of 100 liters per capita. [45] [46] The discovery of jars containing hops, in some archeological archaeological sites, evidence that beer was produced since the copper age. [47]

Cagliari is home to Cagliari Calcio, which was founded in 1920 and plays in the Serie A, the Italian top division. It won the Italian Championship after the 1969/70 season, becoming the first club in Southern Italy to achieve such a result. Home matches are played at the Stadio Sant' Elia, named after the area where it is located, with a capacity of 23,486. It was built in 1970 and refurbished before the Italia '90 football World Cup.

Sassari is home to Dinamo Basket Sassari, the only Sardinian professional basketball club playing in the Italiana serie A (Lega A), the highest level club competition in Italian professional basketball. It was founded in 1960, and is also known as Dinamo Banco di Sardegna thanks to a long sponsorship deal with the Sardinian bank. Since its promotion in Lega A in 2010, it has been enjoying the support of fans from Sassari and all over Sardinia with full-house matches on every game played at home.
Mores Raceway

Sardinia also boasts a fine darts tradition, which many believe originated in the Sassari region of the country towards the end of the 15th century. In those days, the darts were carved from Beech (Fagus) wood and the flights were feathers drawn from the indigenous pollo sultano, a bird famed for its spectacular violet-blue plumage.

In the Province of Sassari is the Mores Raceway, the only FIA Circuit homologated by CSAI (Cars) and the IMF (Motorcycles), in Sardinia.

Cagliari hosted a Formula 3000 race in 2002 and 2003 on a 2.414-km street circuit around Sant'Elia stadium. In 2003, Renault F1's Jarno Trulli and former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi did a spectacular exhibition. At the Grand Prix BMW-F1 driver Robert Kubica took part in a F3 car, as did BMW WTCC Augusto Farfus, GP2's Fairuz Fauzy and Vitaly Petrov. Since 2004 Olbia has hosted the Rally d'Italia Sardegna, a rally competition in the FIA World Rally Championship schedule. The rally is held on narrow, twisty, sandy and bumpy mountainous roads around the glamorous town of Porto Cervo.

Cagliari hosts regular international regattas, such RC44 championship, Farr 40 World championship and Audi MedCup; all series which boast current America's Cup contenders like BMW Oracle Racing, Mascalzone Latino and Emirates Team New Zealand as contenders. Part of the Louis Vuitton Trophy was held in the Maddalena archipelago in 2010.
Sant' Elia Stadium in Cagliari

Porto Pollo, north of Palau, is a bay often used by windsurfers and kitesurfers. The bay is divided by a thin tongue of land that separates it in an area for advanced and beginning/intermediate windsurfers. There is also a restricted area for kitesurfers. Many Italian freestyle surfers come to Porto Pollo for training and 2007 saw the finale of the freestyle pro kids Europe 2007 contest. Because of a Venturi effect between Sardinia and Corsica, western wind accelerates between the islands and creates the wind that makes Porto Pollo popular amongst windsurfing enthusiasts. In 2005, Aglientu, hosted the Kitesurf World Cup in the Vignola's beach.

Sa Istrumpa, also known as Sardinian Wrestling, is a traditional Sardinian sport, officially recognized by the Italian National Olympic Committee (C.O.N.I.) and International Federation of Celtic Wrestling (I.F.C.W.).[48]
World Heritage Sites

Megalithic building structures called nuraghe are scattered in great numbers throughout Sardinia. Su Nuraxi di Barumini is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[49]
A wind farm in Sedini (SS)

The island has some environmental laws. Following an enormous reforestation plan it has become the Italian region with the largest forest extension, with 1,213,250 hectares of woods.[50]

The Regional Landscape Plan prohibits new building activities on the coast (except in urban centers), next to forests, lakes or other environmental or cultural sites and the Coastal conservation agency ensures the protection of natural areas on the Sardinian coast.

Renewable energies have increased noticeably in recent years,[51] mainly wind power, favoured by the windy climate, but also solar power (Carlo Rubbia, Nobelist in physics, is creating an experimental solar thermal energy central) and biofuel, based on Jatropha oil and Colza oil. 467.10 megawatts of wind power capacity were installed on the island at 2008.[52]
Paeonia of Gennargentu, flower symbol of Sardinia

Sardinia is home to a wide variety of rare or uncommon animals, such as several species of mammals, many of them belonging to an own subspecies: the Mediterranean Monk Seal, the Giara horse, the Albino Donkey, the Sardinian Wild Cat (Felis Lybica Sarda), the Mouflon, the Sardinian Long-eared Bat, the Sardinian Deer, the Fallow Deer, the Sardinian fox (Vulpes vulpes ichnusae), the Sardinian Hare (Lepus capensis mediterraneus), the wild boar (Sus scrofa meridionalis), the Edible dormouse and the European pine marten.

Rare amphibias, found only on the island, are the Sardinian brook salamander, the Brown Cave Salamander, the Imperial Cave Salamander, the Monte Albo Cave Salamander, the Supramonte Cave Salamander and the Sarrabus Cave Salamander (Speleomantes sarrabusensis); the Sardinian Tree Frog instead is found also in Corsica and in Tuscan Archipelago. Among the reptiles worthy of note is the Bedriaga's Rock Lizard, the Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard and the Fitzinger's Algyroides endemic species of Sardinia and Corsica. The island is inhabited by terrestrial tortoises and sea turtles like the Hermann's tortoise, the Spur-thighed tortoise, the Marginated tortoise (Testudo marginata sarda), the Nabeul tortoise, the Loggerhead sea turtle and the Green sea turtle.

Sardinia has four endemic subspecies of birds found nowhere else in the world: its Great Spotted Woodpecker (ssp harterti), Great Tit (ssp ecki), Chaffinch (ssp sarda), and Eurasian Jay (ssp ichnusae). It also shares a further 10 endemic subspecies of bird with Corsica. In some cases Sardinia is a delimited part of the species range. For example, the subspecies of Hooded Crow, Corvus cornix ssp cornix occurs in Sardinia and Corsica, but no further south.[53]
Birds of prey found are the Griffon Vulture, the Common Buzzard, the Golden Eagle, the Long-eared Owl, the Western Marsh Harrier, the Peregrine Falcon, the European Honey Buzzard, the Sardinian Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis arrigonii), the Bonelli's Eagle and the Eleonora's Falcon, whose name comes from Eleonor of Arborea, national heroine of Sardinia, expert in falconry.[54]
The hundreds of lagoons and coastal lakes that dot the island are home for many species of wading birds, such as the Greater Flamingo.

Conversely, Sardinia lacks many common species such as the viper, the wolf and the marmot, which are found everywhere else on the European continent.

The island has also long been used for grazing flocks of indigenous Sardinian sheep. The Sardinian Anglo-Arab is a horse breed that was established in Sardinia, where it has been selectively bred for more than one hundred years.

Three different breeds of dogs are peculiar to Sardinia: the Pastore Fonnese, the Dogo Sardesco and the Levriero Sardo.
Natural parks and reserves
National and regional parks of Sardinia

Over 600,000 hectares of Sardinian territory is environmentally preserved[55][56] (about 25% of the island's territory). The island has three national parks:[57]

1. Asinara National Park;
2. Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park;
3. Gennargentu National Park.

Ten regional parks:

4. Parco del Limbara
5. Parco del Marghine e Goceano
6. Parco del Sinis - Montiferru
7. Parco di Monte Arci
8. Parco della Giara di Gesturi
9. Parco di Monte Linas - Oridda - Marganai
10. Parco dei Sette Fratelli - Monte Genas
11. Parco del Sulcis
Parco naturale regionale di Porto Conte
Parco regionale Molentargius - Saline

There are 60 wildlife reserves, 5 W.W.F oases, 25 natural monuments and one Geomineral Park, preserved by UNESCO.[58]

Northern Sardinian Coasts are included in the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals, a Marine Protected Area, that covers a surface of approximately 84,000 km˛, aimed at the protection of marine mammals.