The powerful of this world are looking for blissful solitude and peace here (and find, do not hesitate). Holidays here are like a barometer of your business.
A vacation on the Costa Smeralda? It means everything is OK.
But expensive hotels and the notorious beau monde are not the only thing for which they aspire to Sardinia from all over the world.
Those who want to lay their hands on this heavenly place have always been plenty. The first to know about him Phoenicians, before our era.
Then he went, went: Etruscans, Greeks, Carthaginians, Spaniards … Especially annoying piracy Arabs. But they were given a fitting rebuff, and four times — that’s why four severed black heads with a blindfold adorn the flag of Sardinia.
For more than a hundred years, the island has been part of Italy, but Sardinians do not consider themselves Italians.
They even have their own language, Sardinian.
By the way, experts say that this is the closest surviving relative of Latin.
The easiest way to find out how and how people live here is to escape from the respectable luxury of the hotel and look around.
Rent a car (best of all, a well-worn Land Rover with a manual) and go along the coast where your eyes are.
In less than half an hour, you will find yourself on the most beautiful beach in the world, where the waves embrace layered pinkish stones, covered with fluffy green moss in some places.
On the cliff, a dilapidated lookout tower will probably rise (at one time the Catalans built a lot of them) — eaten by the sea wind, similar to an old spongy sponge.
Exactly so, in the epic on seven hills, this city is located.
A walk here is a real time travel: a Roman amphitheater — and a number of a Capuchin monastery, a 19th century palazzo — and shabby medieval houses that seem to support each other as if they were the last … shy of their decrepitude, on the contrary, they are proud of it.
Linen is trustingly drying on the ropes under the windows, and funny “smarts” and “fiaty” are huddling against the walls — without these babies there is nowhere, the car is more impressive at the risk of literally getting stuck between houses.
It would seem a typical Italian town, but … something is wrong. Soon you understand: it is unusually quiet here — Sardinians are surprisingly restrained, slow and laconic. In Cagliari it is difficult to get lost: all roads will lead you to Via Roma — the embankment, the main street of the city, which is planted with gnarled plane trees.
It is full of shops: white with a delicate blue patterned ceramics, corals in gold and silver frames, ornaments of Sardinian filigree, turquoise, hand-woven rugs with embroidered “bundle” of strange birds … Taverns and “cantines” are in the surrounding streets … , it’s time to eat.
Sardinians have a signature recipe.
A simple thing, «lunch for the poor.» Sardinian — Sabonada, closed cake made of “strong” flour (from durum wheat), stuffed with potatoes, dried tomatoes, garlic, greens, lamb or fish (and not any, but fatty eel!).
Vegetables and dough, while baked, soaked with meat or fish juice, it turns out fantastically delicious.
The dish is, of course, designed for a serious eater, who is not going to sunbathe, but to work.
So the one who manages to eat a piece of such a “flat cake” can forget about hunger for the whole day.
If for dinner — Sabonada, then the drink should be to match her.
Let’s say filofero (in translation “wire, iron thread”), grape vodka. A strange name appeared in the fifties, when the state tried to establish a monopoly on the production of spirits. The peasants were forbidden to drive vodka.
But is it necessary to say that they did not even think to obey? Carabinieri roamed the villages — they were looking for violators of the law, and they had to hide the bottles of “living water”.
They were buried in the garden, in the garden or in the basement, and in order to make it easier to search, they stuck a piece of metal wire into the ground — “Filo de fero”.
From Via Roma you can climb the wide alleys the hills of castello and bonaria. Castello — the oldest part of the city, a real castle, surrounded by a fortress wall. It was built by the Pisans: in the XIII century, islanders, tired of the endless raids of pirates, turned to them for help.
Those agreed to help, but they asked for a considerable price for their services — this very hill.
In the basilica, perched on the hill Bonaria, come from all over the island — to bow to the statue of the Virgin. More than six hundred years ago, a terrible storm hit the Spanish ship on its way to Cagliari.
Sailors, in order to facilitate the ship, began to dump cargo. As soon as one of the wooden chests touched the water, the waves subsided.
A few days later the sea brought it to shore — inside there was a statue of the Virgin and Child Christ, with a burning candle in her hands (she still burns to this day).
In the church there are letters and photographs on the walls, gold and silver coinage depicting those parts of the body that people, pictures and models of ships ask for healing — all these are entreaties and offerings to the patron saint, patroness of sailors.
Just be careful: the square in front of the cathedral is paved with sea stones, smooth and slippery, and it is not easy to walk along them.
The real Sardinian cuisine, the tone of which was once asked by the hermit herders for months in the mountains, is no longer to be found.
Maybe they will tell you about the famous ritual dish. carraxiu — Matryoshka baked on an open fire made from bull, goat, piglet, hare, turkey and chicken carcasses.
But this is a myth, like those spells that accompanied his preparation.
Or you will hear about how the shepherds cooked a wild pig for lunch: they put greens and myrtle branches on the carcass, buried them in the ground, and made fire from above.
But try such delicacies are unlikely to succeed.
However, do not be upset. Sardinians are not an easy people.
For centuries they have carefully hidden from prying eyes what is dear to them. And this “own,” the present, sooner or later manifests itself — they do everything in their own way.
Even the fabulous luxury of local hotels is the simplicity brought to perfection. In the most expensive rooms — homespun rugs and napkins, handmade lampshades, white linen bedspreads, rustic furniture. And everyone likes, there are no dissatisfied.
I happened to meet the chef of one of the best hotels on the island, Forte Village Resort, — Gianfranco Pyazinni.
However, Forte Village can hardly be called a hotel: this is a whole town, arranged for tourists in a tropical park on the seashore.
Each of the hotels of the complex is made in its own style: there is a stylized fishing village here, and a piece of Victorian England, and austere impregnable "fortress" — Castello.
Just in "fortresses" we met with Gianfranco. In a high starched cap and half-glasses he looked like a professor of magic. At first it seemed to me that I had upset him a little by asking him to cook something traditional.
Gianfranco just spread his hands: “I thought to surprise you.
Sardinian cuisine is quite simple: the basis of everything is butter and cheese … ”But he is a brilliant chef to combine our desires and our needs: for dinner Gianfranco baked a wild pig for us on a spit.
The cork tray on which it was brought was covered with the finest crisp bread cakes, while the piglet itself was covered with myrtle branches — the meat absorbs their flavor, it is barely catchable, but that is enough.
Myrtle — one of the main spices in the kitchen of Sardinia: its branches and berries are added to marinades, make them a thick spicy liquor. From leaves — white, from fruits — dark brown, tart, with a spicy-coniferous aroma.
Drink it from small frozen cups, and after eating — to cope with the abundance of food.
Flapjacks on which the pig lay — this is another Sardinian secret. They are called «card yes music», that is, «music paper.»
Look at them: on the one hand, they are smooth, and on the other, grooves are drawn as if they really looked like musical rulers.
These flat cakes are very convenient to collect the sauce from the plate. They are baked from yeast dough, and twice: when the dough rises, the cake is cut so that it turns out two layers, and again sent to the oven.
By the way, Sardinian peasants make galuresis from this bread, something like soup: sheets of “note paper” are coated with soft sheep cheese pecorino, laid in layers and poured with broth. Turns out
The cheese here (certainly from sheep’s milk) is also special, called pecorino sardo.
It is soft and tender, like thick, thick cream, and literally melts in the mouth; and it can be aged, firm like Parmigiano, but not so sharp in taste.
An amazing dessert is made from soft pecorinoseadas«. It looks like a round cheburek. Only inside is not meat, but cheese, and honey on top.
If you decide to taste the Sardinian pasta (after all, Italy!), You will find a lot of surprises.
Perhaps the main thing is «fregola, Small balls of dough, similar to lentils.
No less interesting «lorigitos«- rings of thin twisted strips of dough. Gianfranco cooked them with sea urchin sauce and bottargy — dried mullet roe.
It looks rather strange: dry solid cowberry-colored bars.
Bottargu tinder grated and used instead of Parmigiano.
How to make sauce? Take fresh, more precisely, living sea urchins, mix their pulp with tomato puree, white wine and finely chopped onions.
Throw lorigitos into boiling water for a few minutes and then put it together with the sauce in a griddle.
And at the end add the grated bottleglover.
… When the beauty of the sea and the rocks cease to amaze you, remember this. Sardinia is an island of long-livers. Why?
Once in a magazine I came across a picture of an old man who lived in the mountains of Sardinia for over a hundred years.
A shriveled, gray-haired man on a background of a hut, tweaking grass of sheep and vaguely contoured mountains.
Under the picture were his words: “I have lived here all my life.
Paz and cut sheep, make cheese.
That’s the whole secret. ”
What to visit
Nuraghe — cone-shaped structures of huge basalt boulders. Their age is 3-4 thousand years. What it is — temples, dwellings or defenses — no one knows.
The inhabitants of the island still treat the Nuragians with reverence.
The most interesting are located in the north, in Barumini.
Burrow — The ancient Phoenician city in the vicinity of Cagliari.
Between the remnants of the foundations of the houses, mosaic floors with fancy patterns have been preserved of amazing beauty — they are already more than twenty-five centuries old.
If you’re lucky to go in Cagliari May 1, do not miss the procession in honor of St. Efizio, the patron saint of the island.
The status of the saint is transferred to the capital from the church in the settlement of Nora and four days later they also solemnly forward it back.
Fish market in Cagliari.
Huge mullets, frightening «elephant» lobsters, octopuses, grand tuna carcasses (by the way, in Japan 70% of tuna meat comes from Sardinia).
That’s just to come for all these delicacies you need almost at dawn.
What to bring
A bag of coarse salt.
Around Cagliari do not count the salt lakes, on which, by the way, pink flamingos nest.
Myrtle liqueur — black or white — in a painted cork bottle.
It is quite strong, its alcohol content is more than 30%, but it has an extremely beneficial effect on the body — it improves digestion and soothes.
Pecorino cheese sardo. Even in Italy, it is not sold everywhere, let alone Russian stores.
On the huge fragrant cheese heads stands a proud inscription: «Made in Sardinia.»
Bar of bottargi — dried mullet caviar.
Homespun linen mat or napkin.