Carnival period is one of the most interesting for visiting Sardinia to discover local traditions and gastronomic goodies which is possible to taste only during this period. From February spring is already felt in the air in Sardinia with mimosa, almond blossom, green hills and yellow colors of orange groves. You can find your Mediterranean escape in Sardinia in a delicious carnival trip. After all, you can enjoy seasonal traditional cuisine and find out what famous Sardinian centenarians eat.
Sardinia is the perfect place for carnival. During this period, the island is transformed into a place of ancient celebrations, and the prevailing colors are white and black, symbols of the archaic and mysterious ceremony of the Sardinian carnival, which is celebrated in all regions, towns and villages, each with its own characteristics. The most famous sites of the Sardinian Carnival are the ancient parade of Mamuthones and Issohadores with symbolic dances in ancient masks in the village of Mamoiada in Barbagia; the beautiful, gorgeous parade of Sa Sartiglia with horse riders in masks with equestrian performances; Tempio Pausania, with King George, where the symbolic fetish of last year is burned. Wherever you go, you will celebrate a carnival with traditional dishes typical of this period – beans with bacon, zeppole donuts, wine.
Celebrations of the Sardinian Carnival traditionally begin on the day of Sant’Antonio Abate, January 17th. According to legend, the monk stole the fire of the devil in the underworld to give it to the people. The fire that broke out on the island on January 17 remembers the flame of the legend, and the Carnival officially opens with fires. The Sardinian carnival begins on January 17th, lasts all February and continues until Ash Wednesday.
What you will experience
- Traditional Carnival celebrations in Sardinia
- Carnival Sa Sartiglia – one of the most beautiful parades and horse tournament in Mediterranean
- Escorted tours and local experience with insiders
- Accommodations in the typical hotels and properties
- Excellent local food and wine traditions, typical seasonal cuisine
- Sardinian “cannonau” and “cagnulari” wine tastings – polyphenol richest red wine in the world, family wineries
- Exclusive private dinners and tastings
- You will discover the first “Blue Zone” in the world, Sardinia is the number one among 5 “blue zones”, places where people live over 100 years, the secrets of longevity and youth
- Local hospitality and friendly mood
Thorny artichoke – the king of winter cuisine in Sardinia
SARDINIAN VILLAGE & TRADITIONAL CHEESE, BREADMAKING AND CUISINE
“In Sardigna” – “Life in Sardinia” tour, cheese-making and traditional dinner in Sardinian village.
An unforgettable journey into the traditional life of Sardinia, culture and cuisine of the island in a typical Sardinian village. This is a special day that you can not miss while you are on the island. Agriturismo – traditional farm, reveals the essence of the mood in Sardinia, where the owners keep the traditions of the island. All products from the farm are homemade, cooked according to the old traditions and are the basis of the Sardinian cuisine – different varieties of sheep’s cheese, sausages, typical home-made pasta, bread, meat, sweets, wine and liqueurs. It’s a real familiarity with the culture, traditions and typical cuisine of the island, which can be discovered here. The culmination of the traditional Sardinian cuisine – the famous “porchetto arosto” (or «porceddu» in Sardinian language) – suckling pig roasted on a spit for several hours in a special way how it was cooked by Sardinian shepherds for centuries or goat meat cooked in a traditional way. It offers a variety of unique traditional dishes and wines.
CARNIVAL SA SARTIGLIA
On the last Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival, Oristano hosts the Sartiglia. Its origins date back to the medieval Europe of crusades, which was the cradle of equestrian and military tournaments.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, such events flourished in the form of great shows offered to the population. As we know it nowadays, Oristano’s Sartiglia may be considered as a public celebration organized with the aim to entertain and amuse its spectators.
During the 16th century, the Old Continent was particularly keen on equestrian tournaments, with a special preference for ring jousts. Sovereigns, viceroys, powerful landowners and trade corporations offered such entertainments to their guests on the occasion of king or bishop appointments, heir births, or special festivities of the liturgical calendar. Such events were meant for the noble class only, assigning the local people the mere rank of spectator. Oristano’s historical equestrian Carnival falls within the broader typology of ring jousting tournaments.
The most ancient documents concerning the history of the Sartiglia in Oristano, kept in the Historical Archive of the town, are recorded in a registro di consiglieria of the year 1547-48, where a “Sortilla” is mentioned, organised n honour of the Emperoor Charles V probably in 1546. Later documents refer to a city authority’s purchase of some wooden spears for a joust from a carpenter’s shop, namely some wooden spears to be used during the tournament. This detail suggests that, in the Spanish age, the tournament was probably and initially organized by the municipal institution. Only later, was it entrusted to the Guilds – trade corporations operating in the Royal City since the 16th century – that have handed the ceremonial rites down to us.
In the morning of the tournament day, ‘Su Componidori’ (the Head of the manifestation) pays a visit to the Guild President. Towards noon, a parade leaves the President’s house and leads to the hall where the Dressing ceremony takes place. Drummers and trumpeters open the procession, formed by ‘Is Massaieddas’, who carry the clothes of the Componidori on their flat baskets (Is Corbulas), accompanied by ‘Sa Massaia Manna’, a woman designated to supervise the dressing ritual. Then, the Guild members follow, carrying the swords and a wooden sword to be used for the race and, finally, ‘Su Componidori’.
The equestrian show goes on with riders performing spectacular routines. The closing of the race is marked by Su Componidori’s ride, which includes a second remada. This time he is supposed to go down the track with his mates guiding the three horses at a gallop; again, he will lay flat on his horseback, greeting and blessing the crowd with “sa pipia de maiu”. Finally, the head of the joust can reach all his horsemen, who greet his arrival in a triumph of applauses, while he keeps on blessing and greeting everybody with his “pipia de maiu”.
Lunch in typical “trattoria” with a local cuisine.
ALGHERO & RIVIERA DELL CORALLO
TYPICAL FAMILY WINERY
Tour in the old town of Alghero
The town was founded in the 12th century the powerful Doria family of Genoa, who ruled it for centuries, then was captured by the Aragonese and further developed under their influence. Under the crown of Aragon, Alghero has reached its peak as a fortress: the deep bond of the past is still evident in the local dialect, and the Aragonese style of the ancient city appears constantly in the old city walls, churches, houses and roads. The old town can be called a true treasure of history, culture and archeological sites. Alghero was and is a city of charm, ideal for those who love the typical features of the past of old Europe under the strong influence of the Aragonese domination. Currently, it is one of the most famous, the pleasant and relaxing, romantic landscapes, as well as shops, supermarkets and restaurants.
Typical family winery, food and wine tasting.
Visit the local winery with vineyards by the sea surrounded by Mediterranean nature and flavors, here they produce premium wines, characteristic only for this territory, unique for the island. The story about the ancient wine traditions and typical wines of the island. Gourmet tasting with wine, food, olive oil and typical bread.
According to recent studies, Sardinia can be attributed to the country with the oldest traditions of wine making, since there were discovered the amphorae with traces of wine during the last archaeological excavations in the zones of ancient necropolises dated about 3-5 thousands years old. The island is famous for the biggest number of grape varieties, which, in addition to the traditional ones, also has grapes typical only for Sardinia, like the red ancient grape “bovale” in the south of the island, white “vernaccia” from Oristano, and an amazing red-ruby “cagnulari” that grows only in the Sassari area in the northwest, and was called by one of the most important wine experts Robert Parker “the wine of the next 20 years”. Besides that, Sardinia is famous in all the world for its special red “cannonau” typical in all the island, it contains the highest amount of polyphenols, which preserve youth.
Each of the island’s territories has its characteristics and typical grapes and wine production. Therefore, here it can be tried a huge number of different types depending on the zone of origin and soil. The wines of Sardinia in recent years attract special attention of experts and conquer the world.
For our exclusive wine routes we choose small local family wineries where traditions are passed down from generation to generation, and art and soul are expressed in wine, what makes it unique. Each wine is a reflection of the flavors of the territory where the grapes grow.
RIVIERA DELL CORALLO
CELEBRATING “MARDI GRAS”
Tour around Riviera del Corallo or hiking in Porto Conte Regional Park.
An exciting journey along one of the most beautiful Mediterranean coasts – famous Coral Riviera, so called because of the presence of rare corals of the extraordinary beauty, and famous Alghero jewelry. The marine park of Porto Conte, the highest point of the promontory of Capo Caccia (Hunter Cape), the magnificent Neptune’s Grotto by the famous stairs Cabirol consisting of 656 steps, along with the huge rocks. These caves are 2 million years old and they are one of the largest in Europe. The regional park of Porto Conte, the Geo-Mineralogical-Environmental Park of Sardinia, the reserve of Mount Minerva, the reserve of Capo Marargiu, Motresta crest, are just some of the places where you can learn another way to travel: a slow walk, more or less challenging, to discover the beauty of an area, its history and its most hidden aspects. We will guide you along little-known trails, reaching the starting point by jeep. Hike is depending on the weather conditions.
Typical lunch celebrating “Shrove Tuesday”.
MYSTERIOUS NURAGHE, ANCIENT TRADITIONAL CUISINE WITH BREAD
Tour to the Nuraghe Santu Antine of Torralba, prenuragic necropolis of Sant’Andrea Priu.
Sardinia is the most ancient civilization in the Mediterranean. A unique tour to the ancient monuments, Nuragic complex, approx. 3900 years, which is an important example of prehistoric architecture of the Mediterranean.
Nuraghe (huge conical stone towers), the sacred wells, the Tomb of the Giants, and Meniere’s – show the ancient culture, which existed in Sardinia 5-7 thousand years ago. The towers are built of huge stones without cords with knowledge of mathematics and architecture and are still a mystery of prehistoric civilization. With 18 rooms one of its hypogeal tombs is among the largest in the Mediterranean. The prenuragic necropolis of Sant’Andrea Priu stands on a plain less than ten kilometers from Bonorva (the town famous for the typical bread “pane zicchi di Bonorva” DOC) and 500 meters from the rural church of Santa Lucia. The funeral complex is composed of twenty “Domus de Janas” dating back to the neo-Eneolithic (IV-III millennium BC), excavated on the wall and on the plateau of a trachytic outcrop 10 meters high and 180 meters long. Inside they are reproduced architectural living details to recreate environments similar to the home of the deceased. The necropolis was reused for a long time. In Roman and then Byzantine times the ‘tomb of the Cape’ was transformed into a rock church, one of the first in time of persecution. Several times plastered and frescoed with scenes from the New Testament, which you will notice inside, it was named Sant’Andrea, as the name of the site.
Lunch “Taste and flavors of the ancient land” in the typical “panefratteria”.
Original cuisine according to the ancient recipes of the island made only with bread. Sardinia is the richest region in the world for the varieties of bread, you will discover what means “panefratteria” and unique dishes from bread which the local people in inland villages used to cook since ancient times. Amazing dishes from different types of Sardinian bread: appetizers, first courses and even desserts!
SASSARI – THE NORTH CAPITAL OF SARDINIA
ART OF ITALIAN APERITIF
TYPICAL SASSARESIAN CUISINE
A trip through the territory of Anglona famous for its green hills, olive groves, pastures and small typical villages.
Old town of Sassari. The northern capital of Sardinia is the ancient city of Sassari, with an old university, theaters, a center of culture and tradition, a bright mixture of which was introduced in the past by people from northern Italy. Excursion to the historical center of Sassari with a visit to the famous historical shop of tpical local food. The main square of Piazza Italia with the Palazzo del Provinca Palace, the beautiful main cathedral of San Nicola, the Piazza Castello, where the remains of the Aragonese castle are found, the magnificent Duomo cathedral dedicated to the patron saint of the city San Nichola, the old city center with its numerous streets and typical buildings. The most famous traditional parades of the island are held in Sassari, and the ancient Candelieri parade on August 14
is recognized as a UNESCO heritage site. Sassari is one of the three towns with the best climate in the world.
Traditional local aperitif.
The culture of aperitif is very typical in Italy and in Sassari it has a special sense. The aperitif time in the local bars starts after 11:00 am before lunch and after 5:00 pm before dinner. We invite you for local aperitif tasting in one of famous bars.
Dinner with “Fainè” tasting is Sassari-style in typical taverna – even though this dish comes originally from Genoa and it was the Genoese who settled in the northern capital of the island, brought it here, but this simple and delicious dish in the form of big thick flat chickpea flour cakes with the addition of various stuffing, became a characteristic in Sassari. This dish is cooked only in the cold season in traditional taverns of the old city in a wooden stove.
SEA FOOD PARADISE AND GOURMET LUNCH
Driving along the breathtaking coast through the northern panorama, we are approaching the delightful medieval town of Castelsardo of the 12th century, which stands on a promontory in the center of the Asinara Gulf. The time is stopped here, its small old streets climb from the hill to the top, where stands the ancient castle of Doria, blowing us in the past centuries. Beautiful, breathtaking landscape from the top of the chapel on the sea around the island of Asinara and Corsica. Castelsardo is famous for traditional Sardinian handicraft and typical hand-made local baskets. Visit Roccia dell’Elefante (Elephant Rock) – the famous rock in the natural form of an elephant and a prehistoric burial «domus de janas» of prenuragic period, approx. 5000 years.
Sardinian sea-food experience in the famous local restaurant
Sardinian seafood cuisine is one of the best and delicious in the Mediterranean, the true paradise for seafood lovers, its beautiful crystal-clear sea offers the variety of delicious fresh fish and local seafood.
Tasting special menu with the unique dishes of the local seafood cuisine by a famous chef. Aperitif on arrival for our guests with the famous local Spumante Brut of the territory and appetizers; variety of special starters based on the seasonal products, vegetables, fish and seafood of the territory accompanied by the best Sardinian wines, local sweets and liquors of the territory.
Culinary hits of the winter season and traditional carnival dishes of Sardinia
- Sea urchins – they are eaten fresh or with dried bruschetta bread, cooked with pasta and typical winter seasonal gourmet pizza with sea urchuns and artichokes. Sardinian spiny artichokes are typical only for Sardinia and is considered the most delicious. This is the real king of the local cuisine in winter time, which is eaten and cooked in various ways: raw with olive oil or as carpaccio with “bottarga”, a local delicacy of dried caviar of mullet; add to pasta or stew with potatoes, lamb or fish; marinated in olive oil.
- Favata – a dish of giant local beans with bacon.
- Lentil and chickpea soups. Roasted chestnuts from Aritzo.
- Fragrant fennel.
- Citruses are the most important fruits of the winter season, oranges, tangerines and lemons from local Mediterranean groves. Used for marmalade, sweets and liqueurs.
- Zippulas – long Sardinian donuts, which are cooked only during the carnival period.
- Faine is a traditional dish in Sassari in the form of big thick flat bread made from chickpea flour with different stuffing, which is cooked in local taverns in a wooden stove.
- And you will discover what “pompia” is.
- Accommodation DBL/DUS BB in boutique hotels and traditional agriturismo in Alghero and / or Gallura
- Transfers according to the program and English-speaking assistance
- Guided tours:
Alghero – Coral Riviera – Sardinian village with dinner – Castelsardo – Sassari – Nuraghe Santu Antine – Gallura
- Sardinian food and wine experience:
Traditional Sardinian Dinner – Winery with tasting – Seafood lunch in the famous restaurant – Dinner in a local tavern – Traditional “panefratteria”
- Carnival Sartiglia 2019
• City tax
• Extra service and transfers, tips, etc.
Small group journey min 6 pax
Note: Program is subject to varieties.
Flights info: airport Alghero is connected with Rome Fiumicino, Milan Linate (every day), Turin, Bergamo, Bologna, Pisa, London Luton
Is possible to come to Olbia airport
Notes and recommendations: Sardinia island is situated in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and has subtropical humid climate, mistral wind is typical here, average temperature on the coastline in winter/beginning of spring is +12 +15C but can reach +18 +20C depending on the weather, inside of the island and in the mountains it can be 5-10C degrees less. We recommend you warm clothes. For gastronomy experience is necessary to specify your food particulars if you have one and we will adapt our gourmet menu according to your specifics.