7D/6N - 2020 Unique Sardinia

7D/6N - 2020 Unique Sardinia

    Cagliari-Nora-Su Nuraxi-Oristano-Mont’e Prama-Tharros-Arutas-Cabras-Orgosolo-Bosa-Alghero

    7days/6nights, Cagliari/Alghero

    2020 depart: Sep 27. Oct 04.

    Cost from:  $4080 pp twin share (s/supp $650)
    ……..this experience offers the unique culture and history found in the areas of: Alghero with the fusion of Catalan and Mediterranean culture, the ‘Giants of Monte Prama’ (Iron Age stone statues), the murals in Orgosolo (a cultural phenomenon from the 1960s), Canto Tenore (polyphonic singing), typical Sardinian food, Nuraghi (circular stone fortifications 1500 BC), focus on typical Sardinian food (daily long lunches). So welcome to Sardinia, over this week we’ll uncover what makes this island special – fiercely independent, wonderful natural environments, unique historical sites, and a cuisine that is specifically ‘sarda’.

day 1 Cagliari-Arrival
We start the tour at 3 pm in our centrally located hotel, right in the historic area of Cagliari. We meet with a local guide who provides some insight into the way people live here. We’ll walk through all the key points of central Cagliari, learning the reasons for the curious layout of this city. We focus on the Castello area, the oldest part of the city, located within the 14C fortified walls and hemmed in by cliffs on either side. The history of invaders here, through the millennia, makes it understandable that people would live in this tightly packed district up on the hill.
We take a break back in the hotel, then meet and walk together to the Marina area. Here we share our first meal. The Sardinian cuisine is distinctly different from the Italian food that most of us know, the result of diverse influences. The land where they raise their sheep to produce fantastic pecorino cheese. The sea that has brought invaders and settlers to these shores, and the culinary traditions that have been absorbed and made their own. The breads such as carasau – wheat has been grown here since ancient Roman times, a local greeting is “saludi e trigu” (“good health and wheat”). Pasta that you don’t find in the rest of Italy, such as fregula (similar to couscous) and culurgionis (a type of ravioli). Through this week we will try all these foods and many more.
Meals included: Dinner (3 courses including wine)

day 2 San Benedetto Markets-Archaeological Nora
In the morning we drive a short distance to the San Benedetto markets. This is the key point for the trade of all types of fresh food for the city – some of which you’ll be tempted by, some that is a bit more challenging. All the seasonal fruit and vegetables, butchers offering up every piece of the animals, it really is "nose to tail" eating here. In these markets you see how the locals shop, what they buy, what is fresh and what is caught in this part of the Mediterranean Sea. We then leave the city and travel along the southern coastline to a place called Nora. This has a long history, from starting as a Phoenician settlement in the 8C BC, then becoming an ancient Roman town and port. It is the Roman town we see today - the remains of what were elegant villas by the sea, complete with detailed mosaic floors, the theatre, ancient Roman roads.
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch (3 courses including wine)

day 3 Nuraghic Bronze Age Sites-Su Nuraxi
Today we go further back in time, yesterday’s ancient Roman town being just an introduction. Our focus today is on the Nuraghic civilisation, a Bronze Age population that lived on Sardinia. They have left some impressive markers of their presence here. Firstly we see a nuraghi, a fortified structure with almost a beehive shape, built of basalt blocks. The nuraghi that we visit in Barumini is called Su Nuraxu and is the largest of these ancient fortresses. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The original settlement dates from 1500 BC, with constant habitation for over 2000 years. This is a physical timeline of Sardinia.
After lunch in a charming agriturismo nearby we continue on to another Bronze Age site. This is known as the ‘tomb of the giants’, or locally as ‘Sa Domu and S’Orcu’. This is like nothing else that you see in Italy - the size of the stone blocks, the fascinating shape, and also just the simplicity and scale of the structure situated up on a hilltop as a monument to a forgotten time. The tomb, as well as its burial function, may have been dedicated to the god Taurus. We continue on to our hotel in the town of Oristano, arriving in the early evening.
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch (3 courses including wine)

day 4 San Salvatore-Giants of Mont’e Prama-Arutas Beach
From our base in Oristano we have a wealth of things to see and do in close proximity on the Sinis Peninsula. Firstly we visit a special place called San Salvatore. The village itself is unlike any other town in Sardinia, with its narrow lanes lined with rows of tiny houses - in fact it has been used many times as a film set for these reasons. But we are here specifically to visit the church, where we go down into the crypt where there is a sacred well – visited since prehistoric times. The wall drawings are particularly interesting, spanning numerous eras – many were done in ancient Roman times, but we also see Punic references, Arabic script and Greek script. These drawings provide an insight into the various populations that have settled here. Moving on to the archaeological museum in the town of Cabras, we see the statues known as the ‘giants of Mont’e Prama’. These recently found monolithic artefacts, carved in the Iron Age (900 BC), are unlike anything that you normally associate with Italian history. They were found in this area. Also in this museum we see many of the Punic and Roman items found in the nearby archaeological area of Tharros. After a wholesome lunch - most of which is grown by the family who serve us - we travel to a wonderful beach nearby, the beach of Isola Arutas, with its white quartz sand. Sardinia is famed for its turquoise clear waters and great beaches, and we give you some time to relax on the beach, have a swim or just take it easy in the cafe nearby.
For any who prefer not to spend time on the beach, our driver will take you back to Oristano where you can spend time looking around the interesting town centre.
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch (3 courses including wine)

day 5 Orgosolo Murals-Canto Tenore (singing)
As a contrast to yesterday’s coastal jaunt, today we head inland, into the mountainous interior. First we visit the town of Orgosolo., This is the key mural town of Sardinia, with numerous building painted with local scenes, slogans, and an incredible variety of weird and wonderful things. We look around the town centre with a local guide. Learning about Orgosolo and the history of these murals reveals much about the more recent history of Sardinia, and the challenges and aspirations of the people who live here. For lunch we visit one of the large forest parks that cover much of this central area, the Supramonte. We dine on the traditional foods cooked on an open grill, enjoyed outdoors in a casual setting. After lunch we have a very special performance of ‘canto tenore‘, most visitors to Sardinia do not get to experience this local polyphonic singing method. Canto tenore consists of three men singing together with different tones, creating a curious effect, while a fourth sings or chants a poem. This type of singing specific to this Barbagia region of Sardinia and is recognised by UNESCO with its inclusion on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch (3 courses including wine)

day 6 Alghero
Leaving Oristano we travel a short distance to the village of Santa Cristina. Here we find a sacred well, over 3000 years old and incredible for the precision of its construction. Next we reach to charming town of Bosa, situated on a River mouth with rows of past coloured buildings lining the waterfront, small fishing boats moored in the inlet. We leave you some free time in Bosa to wander through the lanes, or to simply relax and enjoy the pleasant ambience. During the afternoon we reach our final destination, Alghero. After a beak at our hotel we meet up with a local guide who shows us around this fascinating city. Alghero has a culture that is distinctly different from the rest of Sardina. The key influences here are Spanish, following the conquering of the city by the Aragonese in the 14C. The local dialect is closely related to Catalan. The old town has a superb seaside location, and much to discover.
In the evening we cap off the week with ‘the last supper’, our final Sardinian meal together.
Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner (3 courses including wine)

day 7 Arrivederci
At 10.00 we depart from the hotel for your transfer to the Alghero Airport and bid you “buon viaggio”.
Meals included: Breakfast
Inclusions: twin share, breakfast and lunch or dinner daily, fully escorted, English spoken local tour guide, driver and top quality transportation, entries to sites mentioned in the itinerary.
Notes: small group maximum 14 participants.
Hotels 4*: Cagliari- Hotel Regina Margherita, Oristano-Hotel Duomo, Alghero-Hotel Punta Negra
Excluding: city taxes payable directly to hotels

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