Sardinia has a dual reputation within Italy. It is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations for beach-loving Italian families – indeed, it’s said that whole districts of Romans decamp with their neighbours to the same Sardinian beaches each August.
At the same time, Sardinia’s ancient ‘otherness’ casts a lingering and occasionally sinister shadow: the shepherds and hardy inland communities, the mountains once seen as the lair of kidnappers and the enduring individual character and dialects of Sardinia all make the place rather un-Italian. None of this, however, affects the tourists who flock to the white beaches and blue seas.
The smartest destination in Sardinia is the Costa Smeralda, the ‘emerald coast‘.
This beautiful stretch of coastline at Sardinia’s north-east corner was developed in the 1960s by wealthy investors including the Aga Khan.
Every summer gossip magazines are full of photos of Italian and international ‘celebrities’ partying, swimming or hanging out on huge yachts in Porto Cervo and the other exclusive resorts of the Costa Smeralda.
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