Friday, June 23

La Dolce Vita: Insider’s guide to Sardinia

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For almost two decades, Michelle Stein and her italian husband have shared a second home in Porto Rotondo on sardinia’s Costa Smeralda. click below for her tip sheet to some of the island’s more off–the-beaten-track villages and restaurants.

“There is just so much to see in experience in Sardegna, this is just a small peek into the beauty of the region.”

—Michelle Stein

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Alghero is a wonderful city located on the west coast of the island. It was conquered by the Spanish Catalan and vestiges of this culture remain. Many of the older inhabitants still speak Catalan, and one of the region’s classic dishes is paella with fregola, the traditional, couscous-like Sardinian pasta. A favorite restaurant here is Al Tuguri. Villa Las Tronas is a spectacular hotel—set on a promontory overlooking the gulf and a short walk from the city’s center. Right outside of Alghero is Hotel El Faro, a seaside resort and spa built in the 1950s by Sardinian architect Antonio Simon Mossa and surrounded on three sides by the 12,000-acre nature reserve Porto Conte.

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San Pantaleo is a charming village in the northeastern part of the island, near the Costa Smeralda. Once inhabited by expatriate artists, the village is a gathering spot for many visitors to the CS, particularly on market days. Petra Segreta is a lovely resort nearby, with individual stone guest cottages and a wellness center set in granite grotto. We also love La Sasima, an agriturismo or family farm that accepts a small number of guests. The restaurant offers roasted suckling pig and other traditional Sardinian fare), as well as local wine and farm-made cheeses, salami, and honey.

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Cabras is an 11th-century village in the province of Oristano. There’s a wonderful trattoria there, Sa Bel E Crabasa. And don’t miss Museo Civico Giovanni Marongiu, a fascinating archeological museum with the extraordinary ancient sandstone sculptures known as the Giganti di Mont’e Prama, and the ruins from the prehistoric Phoenician settlement of Tharros.

The granite mountains and rock formations in the interior of Sardinia are spectacular. I love to spend the weekend at Hotel Su Gologone in Oliena, hiking and visiting the nearby towns. Sorgente di Su Gologone is an incredible natural spring located in the valley of Su Gologone. We also visit Dorgali, with its incredible Nuragic civilization stone monuments, and drive down the mountain to the seaside village of Cala Gonone, where we rent a gommone, a small rubber boat, and visit the coastline. Cala Luna is one of the most spectacular beaches in the world. You can also trek from Cala Gonone to Cala Luna.

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