We’ve all dreamed of owning a home on some far-away exotic island where they don’t speak English and life is the clichéd dolce vita. The town of Ollolai, a luscious green zone in the Barbagia region of Sardinia, are now selling abandoned homes for €1. Shocking but true. The internet has lit up from joyous dreamers who want to pack it in and live the la dolce vita, I mean who wouldn’t want a taste of this attainable dream, for only $1.52CAD you too can stop dreaming and make it a reality. But how…? Continue reading
There is no better way to experience the ancient rituals and traditions from Sardinia, than at the highest town on the island, at Fonni. It is at 1000m above sea level where the mysterious customs of Urthos and Buttudos were born. They are gruesome characters that parade throughout the streets and take over balconies by jumping to the sound of golden bells held by a cloaked man. These rituals are played out during holidays and festivals and are acted out on the street for all to witness. Come face-to-face with their ancient rights, traditions and culture only here, only at Fonni.
Who are Urthos and Buttudos?
Urthos and Buttudos are characters Continue reading
Just a little teaser of my favourite photo from a recent trip deep into the centre of Sardinia, for the 21st Sagra delle Mele – The 21st Apple Festival, held at Ussassai, a depopulated, colourful town that’s full of cheer and excellent hospitality.
Stay tuned, there’s more to come from this magnificent festival and surrounding mountainous area that completely stole my senses, and heart.
It is with great pleasure to announce the long-awaited 2017 Cost of Living Report, Sardinia, Italy. The last report was almost five years ago, so I thought it was due for an update.
Most villages in Sardinia have a weekly fresh market that sells local fruit and vegetables, cheese and salami, clothing, kitchenware, locally made leather goods, locally made pocket knives and fresh flowers. I prefer to buy local and go to the town’s weekly market every Monday morning. I fill my re-cycled cotton sacs with enough in-season produce to last about a week, I also buy about 400gr of aged pecorino and local salami at the market. It’s fresh, it’s local and I’ve bought like this for over 10 years and I wouldn’t change a thing! Continue reading
The first time I saw this method of cooking was some years ago in a small town, in the folds of a mountain in Sardinia, Italy. A friend who lives a few mountains over had invited me for lunch, and when I arrived the first thing I noticed was the ancient red brick fireplace and clock. It had just snowed in Sardinia and it was cold, so I a found a spot right beside the fireplace to warm up. Upon closer inspection of the red-hot flames I saw slices of pancetta and pork chops sizzling away above the hot embers. The aroma, better than a barbecue and the taste impeccable. I’d never tasted meat so fresh and exquisite.
Roasting meat in the middle of a living-room was a first for me, and I can’t wait to delve into this tradition yet again.
What is the strangest place you’ve seen meat being cooked?
Inside Sardinia: A distorted Nature’s poem …
I grow flat along the red rocky earth
with only the wind to guide me.
My nutrients I steal from the sea
with only the wind to guide me.
I yearn to reach new heights
with only the wind to guide me.
I’ve learned to reach the mountain peak
with the wind holding my hand, beside me.
Too much time was spent in awe and looking up of all things Oliena, at this years Autunno in Barbagia – Cortes Apertas 2016, that when I did look down, I found these intricately sewn, traditional shoes.
Now if I could only find them in my size.
Do you ever take the time to “look down” while on vacation?
The thing that sticks with me the most from my weekend getaway to Oliena are the people. In every cortes (home) we entered, we were greeted with humble welcomes and gracious smiles. Each and every artist was eager to explain his or her handcrafted goods. I popped into cortes Sa Mea and was warmly greeted by Angelo. I was drawn to the traditional necklaces he had placed on an old tree. I picked up a necklace and a bell rang out, I must have looked surprised as Angelo quickly came over to offer the background to the necklace I eventually purchased.
The necklace is worn by women who are pregnant. The bell bounces on the woman’s stomach, ringing out soft chimes for the developing baby to hear, supposedly calming the baby and calling out to the angels for protection.
Even though I have no intention of becoming pregnant, I was still drawn to the necklace, its sound and sway, so I bought it. I peeked around the small shop and noticed a yellow face in the shape of the island of Sardinia. I love yellow, I love Sardinia and I love handcrafted goods, so another little gift in the bag.
If you’re interested to know more about this artist:
Sa Mea – Creazioni Artistiche
Do you like to buy traditional gifts from the country you visit?
Sardinian cork oak grows in abundance in the northwestern part of the island. The forests are large and breathtaking and the capital of cork in Sardinia is a small mountain town called Calangianus in the province of Olbia-Tempio.
Cork planks are used to create some fascinating items like: kitchen utensils, serving trays, containers, insulation, spice stands and various souvenirs like: purses, notebooks and postcards.
85% of Italy’s bottled cork comes from the northwestern region of the Gallura.
Cork oak is first harvested when the tree reaches the age of 25-30 years and then harvested every 10 years after. The lifespan of a cork oak 150 years.
Have you checked your cork lately?
One of my favourite pastimes while in Sardinia, and in the early part of the year, is to hunt for wild asparagus. The flavour is stronger than the store-bought asparagus and the shoot much thinner. There are many dishes I’ve created with this earthly wonder: pasta, frittata, slightly baked, lasagna, and pickled asparagus.
I’ve collected asparagus in the early spring for the last seven years and this year, sadly I won’t be hunting for wild asparagus as it doesn’t grow in abundance in Canada like in Sardinia. So, for now just the memories of those moments.
Do you collect any wild vegetables? What are they and where do you collect them?