Pristine island beauty and stunning countryside

PINK ELEGANCE IN SANT’ANTIOCO

What could be better than a quiet sunny day to visit the beautiful nature and the backwaters of South Sardinia?

Today we propose a visit of the lagoon of Santa Caterina, which is located in the northern part of the Gulf of Palmas on the island of Sant’Antioco.

The isthmus that connects the island of Sant’Antioco to the main island was built in 1939 and by remaining closed for 40 years, it has prevented water exchange thereby decreasing significantly fish abundance. The lagoon is still connected to the Rio Palmas and Rio Sassu and is located just next to the saline of Sant’Antioco, which was built in 1969.

From Chia, Sant’Antioco can be reached in about 1 hour by car.

Photo Salvatore Selis, http://www.comune.santantioco.ca.it/


PEACEFUL WALK IN NORA

Especially on a sunny and quiet day outside season, I love to walk along Nora Beach, just outside the small town of Pula, South Sardinia.

I usually take a walk  along the palm trees, pass the charming tiny church of Sant’Efisio and continue to the end of the beach. Then I take the path leading behind the pizzeria and finally get to this magnificent spot of which not so many know about. There it feels like time stands still… no buzzing cars nor scooters, perhaps a few quiet strollers enjoying the peace, just like me.

The light is particularly magnetic just before sunset, when the bay turns into silver and the sun sets to rest.


SHORT WALK, SPECTACULAR COASTAL VIEWS

If you are staying in South Sardinia and are looking for a short walk and a spectacular incentive, we recommend a visit to the Chia Tower (Torre di Chia).

The tower was built on the acropolis of the Punic-Roman settlement called Bithia. At the time, the tower used to guard the Southern part of the island, which was ideal for water supply, and kept under control the highly exposed beaches from the landing of the pirates. From the tower it is not possible to see the other towers along the coast, so the administration placed two lookout and message transmission posts on both points Guardia Grande at N/E and Las Cannas on Capo Spartivento at S/O.

With a height of 13 m, a diameter of 10 m and 2.5 m strong walls, this coastal fortification was created by the Viceroy De Moncada in 1578 with the task to defend the mouth of the Rio di Chia, source of water supply for the pirates. Operational from 1594, the tower was always armed with heavy guns and a garrison of about 5 people.

Until 1720 the tower maintained its importance and its presence encouraged the emergence of the village of Domus de Maria nearby. Following the end of the Administration of the Towers, from the mid-19th century to around 1950, the Tower of Chia was used by the Border Guard to combat smuggling. In 1988 and the early 90s the tower underwent a serious renovation.

How to get there:
Follow the main road (SS195) from Cagliari to Teulada, turn left at km 44,5 and follow indications to the tower or the beach “Spiaggia di Su Portu”. From there, walk 10 minutes up the hill and enjoy the splendid coastal views.


A BERRY FOR YOUR HEALTH

This small dark red fruit grows on the corbezzolo (strawberry tree in English), a bush that can be found everywhere in South Sardinia.

The berry, only 1-2 cm in size, blooms from October to December and generate fruits the following autumn. The extracts of the berries, leaves and flowers have astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and digestive properties.

The corbezzolo fruit is edible and can be used to make jams, jellies, syrups, juices, creams, sauces and candies. So why not try them next time you see them on your way?


JUST YOU AND THE SEA

I tremendously enjoy my late afternoon stroll in Chia beach!

What makes this spot particularly attractive is the soft shape of the protected dunes and the rocky coast in a distance, which wonderfully complement the simplicity of the long and flat sandy beach.

A pure joy for body and soul.


AROMATIC OIL FROM THE BEACH

What makes an amazing beach is of course the clarity of the sea, the fine white sand, its beautiful shape. But what about its vegetation? One may think that not much grows at the beach. Well, think again!

Almost on every beach around Chia you will see this beautiful evergreen shrub called mastic(Lentischio or Pistacia lentiscus). Shaped by the wind and supported by its skinny but strong twisted stems, the plant emanates an intense perfume of resin. It can reach 5 meters in height and grows everywhere in Sardinia, from the plains to the mountainous areas. Being resistant to harsh and dry climates, the mastic survives even in salty and saline environments.

The properties of the mastic were already known in the ancient Sardinian traditional medicine: young tender twigs were used as deodorants and antiperspirants, while the berries produced oil.

Often replacing the expensive olive oil in the kitchen, the mastic oil known for its healing properties, was also used for curing herpes and wounds. Even today, the mastic essential oil is still used for an invigorating bath* and to perfume the air.