Posts Tagged ‘Sardinia’

Golden Day 129: Bosa, Sardinia with Gaveena, Your Mate in Sardinia

Susan Van Allen, 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should GoI’m grateful to have found a Sardinia Travel Company, called Gaveena, Your Mate in Sardinia. On the island of Sardinia, Gaveena is the most typical female name, and since I’m drawn to all the ways the feminine is celebrated in Italy, I’m drawn to this company. They offer a great range of tours in Sardinia, from excursions on the seasides to culinary and archaeological packages, and trips that bring visitors to the interior wilderness areas.

manuel_cazzanigaManuel Cazzaniga is a travel specialist who founded Gaveena. He moved to Sardinia, from Monza, in the Lombardy region, about two years ago, and this company was inspired by, in his words, “My passion to introduce curious travellers to the hidden beauties of Sardinia together with smiley local fellows.”

Here is Manuel, with advice for a Golden Day in Bosa, a colourful town in Northwest Sardinia.

Bosa is quite popular with locals, but not well known to foreign travelers. It’s wonderful to visit all year round, because of the mild climate, but it’s  especially beautiful in springtime, when nature is flowering and spreading intense scents.


One of Bosa’s top sites is Malaspina castle, a medieval fortress built on top of the hill offering a breathtaking view on the town.


You can also enjoy a romantic walk in the riverside docks, amidst colorful architecture and a Roman bridge.


The old town of Bosa is enchanting, with a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets connecting the fortress to the banks of river Temo.


You will also enjoy Bosa Marina, a long sandy beach, about 3 km from the town, where the river meets the Mediterranean sea.


Not to be missed is  a stop at a  caffe or gelateria in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the charming main street in the old town.


Also, plan your day for an aperitivo at sunset in the tiny terrace of a hilltop bar close to the fortress or at the marina.


For a great meal of fresh fish, caught that day and cooked with Sardinia’s famous Malvasia wine, go to Ristorante Al Galeone at Bosa Marina, that is right on the beach.


Or, on the river docks, in a cool antique warehouse, with a great view of the colorful old town, you’ll find Ristorante Ponte Vecchio , serving traditional Sardinian food, mainly seafood.


Where to Stay? Bosa has two wonderful “albergo diffuso”, a special type of hotel where the rooms are spread out among different antique buildings in the old town. I recommend Albergo Diffuso Corte Fiorita


and Albergo diffuso Aghinas



There are also two cool B&Bs in town. B&B Blu


and B&B La Torre di Alice.


No matter where you stay or what you do, be sure to taste Malvasia in Bosa, which is traditional fortified white wine produced in local seafront wineyards. It comes in both dry and sweet versions, and is perfect as a dessert and meditation wine. One of the best Malvasia is produced by Columbu.

MALVASIA BOSAThe best places to taste Malvasia are in the cellars in the old town, which offer a unique atmosphere.

Grazie Manuel!

For more info about all the company’s offerings, CLICK HERE FOR GAVEENA, YOUR MATE IN SARDINIA


Golden Day 128: Pietro Navarra in Porto Cervo, Sardinia

Pietros italyA few year’s back, I had the pleasure of meeting Pietro Navarra in Los Angeles. He’d been in a bookstore, found 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, and liked it so much (I love that Men enjoy it too!), that he wrote to me and said we should meet so I could sign his copy. A delicious dinner at Terroni followed, where I found out about Pietro’s Italy — his wonderful Italian travel company that combines his passions for Italy and the USA. Having grown up in Bologna and traveled in Italy extensively, Pietro creates customized itineraries for travelers, bringing to each one his unique personal touch. His fans call him Mr. Italy, and have come to rely on Pietro’s Italy for their exclusive business trips, personal journeys, or honeymoons, which are unanimously praised as luxurious experiences that immerse travelers in the Wonders of Italy.

I’m so grateful Pietro has joined in to give advice for a Golden Day in Porto Cervo, one of the most exquixite places on the Costa Smerelda (northern Emerald Coast) of Sardinia:

One of the best beaches in Porto Cervo is Romazzino Beach, located towards the north-east of Sardinia’s Emerald Coast. If you want to relax or engage in water activities like diving and snorkeling, you can do it here. Like most of the coastline, the sand here is fine and white, and the water is green and blue. The beach is quite safe, so even families with children can enjoy this beach. For a perfect beach picnic, get some cheese, bread and a delightful bottle of Sardinian wine, and simply relax in these beautiful surroundings.

c4de3ca81cd6992e0622df886154073cOne of the must-visits in the area is the small town of Santa Teresa di Gallura. This is a small town and quiet spot, perfect for those who want to get away from the crowds of Porto Cervo. Most of the town’s attractions can be reached on foot. The beaches are beautiful and ideal for swimming. A short walk will bring visitors to Capo Testa, where there are beaches full of beautiful rock formations. For a more spectacular view, visitors should walk to the edge of Santa Teresa di Gallura, which overlooks the sea and town.c8baa3347480d00193e84f5cdaf0bc57For those who want a fun night out, partying at the Phi Beach is a must! Located in front of Porto Cervo’s 18th century naval fortress, this is one of the best places to enjoy great music, refreshing drinks and delicious food. This is an open-air club that has outdoor bars, making it unique and exciting. During the day, the space is used as a beach club for the hotel nearby. But when the sun sets, it is turns into a free form dance floor where some of the best DJs spin their tracks. Phi Beach Club also has a restaurant that serves Mediterranean dishes and grilled seafood.imagesAn important landmark in Porto Cervo is Capo Ferro. This is a high section of rocky terrain that projects from the sea. It also has a lighthouse on top, ensuring that the rocks are visible during the day or night. Capo Ferro is the first indication that visitors are reaching the town, and this makes it a must-visit attraction in Porto Cervo. Visitors should hire a boat and take it to Capo Ferro. Capo Ferro provides a wonderful view of the sea, along with a glorious view of the town and surrounding areas.ec65e571a5c3324a02bb0b3243ca7b39Stop by Stella Maris Church, This is one of the few historical and architectural sites in Porto Cervo. The church is built in a panoramic area, and is an excellent example of Porto Cervo’s architecture. The interior and exterior of the Stella Maris Church capture the best spirit of Mediterranean art. The church plays host to many classical music concerts, which visitors should experience if they get the chance.Porto-Cervo_Church
If you love dining in an open space with a superb view and excellent food, go to Aqua Bar and Restaurant (Porto Cervo Marina, 07891832033). It’s popular among locals for its magnificent location, where you can admire the Porto Cervo harbor. Customers love to sit by the terrace while sipping their favorite drinks. The beauituful interiors of the restaurant complement the natural background of the sea. It is open daily until 2:00a.m.

CaptureAnother delightful place to eat, a stone’s throw from Porto Cervo, is the Spinnaker Restaurant (07021 Liscia di Vacca, 0789 91226). For thirty years the Spinnaker is a historic meeting place for the Costa Smeralda. You’ll find a convivial place in the restaurant area, where you can sit in the garden terrace or in the cozy dining room overlooking the sea. Here you can enjoy fresh seafood, meats of the best cuts, homemade pasta of Emilian tradition and delicious pizzas cooked in a wood oven. The caffe is a also a popular meeting point, and here you will find the most famous breakfast of the coast.y9e0314-editA wonderful place to stay is Hotel Pitrizza,  an intimate luxurious property, overlooking yet another beautiful view of white sand beaches and turquoise water.Hotel-Pitrizza-Sardinia


 GRAZIE MILLE, Mr. Italy! As these cold winter days approach, Porto Cervo is a beautiful place to be dreaming about…and planning to visit!

Golden Day 124: Masua Beach, Sardinia with Silvia Cabras

unnamedWe are joined next by Silvia Cabras, who is from Iglesias, in southwestern Sardinia. She is now living in Cleveland, attending Case Western Reserve University as a research scholar in Biomedical Engineering, where she met our Golden Days Intern, Whitney Hickey.

We’re grateful Silvia has come along to share advice for a Golden Day on the Masua Beach, a ten minute drive from her hometown of Iglesias…

Here I post some beautiful pictures of the sea near to my city.

CaptureThe name of this beach is Masua which is a beautiful beach with sand and gravel. You can enjoy various activities at the beach such as enjoying a café and delicious traditional Sardinia foods while looking out at the Pan di Zucchero which stands at 133 meters tall and is one of Sardinia’s most beautiful sites.


La Paillote (Loc. Calafighera, 09126, 070371584located in beautiful Cagliari is perfect for an afternoon apertivo along the water.

item_41370After working up an appetite, be sure to try some of the traditional dishes of Sardinia as they are known for their unique dishes;

Such as Fregola ai Frutti di mare:

 A good choice for dinner is
Ristorante Gazebo Medioevale(Via Musio 21,09016 Iglesias Provincia di Carbonia-Iglesia,078130871), that offers traditional Sardinian dishes at reasonable prices. The decor both inside and outside of this ristorante is beautiful.


Spend the night in the area at T Hotel (Via dei Giudicati 66, Cagliari, 07047400) which brings a modern twist to the area, with luxury!


Or Agriturismo il Paradiso(Localita Barega 09013, Carbonia-Iglesias), for a more rustic Sardinian experience…


Thank You Silvia!


Golden Day 123: Cagliari, Sardinia with Maria Paola Loi

maria-paola-loi-in-olienaIt’s wonderful to have Maria Paola Loi of Sardinia Tours and co-author of the app Sardinia Inside Out, (who joined Martha Bakerjian to give us advice about a Golden Day in Alghero),  come back to give her advice for A Golden Day in Cagliari. Maria and our other Cagliari friend and expert, Lexa Dudley, from Golden Day 120, agree on some of the same places in Sardinia’s capital city–so with two thumbs up, take their advice when traveling there.

Here’s Maria:

In Cagliari, the Capital City of Sardinia, it is worth seeing the old Medieval  part of town —Castello.

torre_di_san_pancrazio_IMG_9551_bis Take a lovely stroll along the narrow, and admire many monuments like the Towers of San Pancrazio (from 1305) and the Elephant (from 1307) — symbol of the ancient city.

Another city highlight is the Cathedral of Santa Maria with a blend of styles that go from early Romanesque to Neoclassic and the Bastione di San Remy and Bastione Santa Croce, which have huge panoramic terraces with breathtaking views of Cagliari city.



The food market “Mercato di San Benedetto” can not be missed! It is a two floor indoor market where all the fresh seasonal Sardinian products are displayed in a lively and colorful way–vegetables, bread, hundreds of different types of pecorino sheep cheese, meat and salami, and fresh fish. It is a great experience and a lot of fun to be around the fishmongers–who with loud, entertaining enthusiasm show off and sell their fresh catch of the day from the Mediterranean Sea around Cagliari bay.

CaptureAntico Cafè (Piazza Costituzione 10/11)dating back to 1855, is the oldest cafè in Cagliari. Here you’ll find a very sophisticated atmosphere and great bar/restaurant. It is situated near the monumental rampart of the Bastione di San Remy in the shopping street called Via. Garibaldi.


 l’isola del gelato(Piazza Yenne 35) is a great ice cream shop with an outstanding variety of ice cream, milk shakes, frullati and semifreddi!

10418151_10152808756024160_8725157892950151507_nYou may want to spend the afternoon at the beach, called il Poetto, just 10 minutes away from the city centre, to enjoy a swim or stroll along the 10 kilometer stretch of fine sand. The locals hang out here even in winter, as Cagliari has a mild climate and many sunny days. Kiosk bars and clubs offer live music and entertainments on the beach at night time from June to Mid September.


For your aperitivo, I highly recommend the Cafè Libarium, situated on the panoramic terrace in the Bastione di Santa Croce, a lounge bar with view on the terrace of an historic rampart overlooking a medieval tower . Settle into the stylishly furnished sofas and tables or the elegant indoor caffè.


At the restaurant da Luigi Pomata(Viale Regina Margherita 14), you’ll find fantastic and delicious combinations of sea food dishes, fusion cuisine where Sardinian traditional recipes and Japanese style cuisine are blended in a very unique way.Tuna is one of the products that Luigi offers as it comes from the Sardinian island of San Pietro, where tuna is very special!




Or go to La mola Sarda(Viale Trento 84,), a family run charming trattoria where it is possible to taste the very traditional Sardinian cuisine, in a warm atmosphere. You’ll find lovely sea food dishes on the menu with a great variety of antipasti di mare typical of the Cagliari area. A delicious specialty is fregola con arselle — it’s similar to cous cous, but thicker, cooked with local clams. 

Sardinia, Italy, Travel, Susan Van Allen

Spend the night at Hotel Regina Margherita(Viale Regina Margherita 44). It’s centrally located and very elegant.


Or there is Hotel Miramare (Via Roma 59), a stylish, vintage style, historic palace with Liberty style rooms, along the arcades of the water front street Via Roma.



Grazie mille for the insider tips Maria!

Golden Day 121: Alghero with Maria Paola Loi and Martha Bakerjian

How lucky we are to have two savvy traveling women here to give their advice for a Golden Day in Alghero, on the island of Sardinia…

Maria Paola Loi is a Sardinia native and licensed English-speaking tour guide who gives tours on all parts of the island. She co­authored the app, Sardinia Inside Out , where you’ll find lots of good information about where to go and tips for visiting the island. Martha Bakerjian writes the Italy Travel site on Her first experiences in Italy were on the island of Sardinia, where she spent 5 summers doing the shopping and cooking for a group of archeologists from the US. Sardinia still remains one of her favorite parts of Italy.



Here’s their advice:

Alghero is a picturesque seaside town on Sardinia’s west coast whose Catalan heritage is still reflected in its food, architecture, and even the language as it’s the only place on the island where Catalan is still spoken.


Start your Golden day in Alghero with a walk on Bastioni Marco Polo, the seaside promenade that’s on the wall of the old town, where you’ll see remnants of medieval towers and even a canon. Then head into the historic center for a stroll through the town on the narrow, winding pedestrian streets lined with shops and cafes. Alghero is known for its coral and you’ll find many shops selling good quality coral jewelry.


Pick your favorite square and stop at a cafe for a coffee or a glass of Torbato, the local sparkling wine.


For lunch, get one of the special sandwiches at Bar Focacceria Milese(Via Garabaldi 11, 079 952419) a favorite of both tourists and locals.


After a filling lunch I would recommend visiting Grotta di Nettuno(Neptune’s Cave) which offers a delightful 2.5 hour boat ride leaving from the Alghero’s port and takes you inside the caves to see the stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Or if you have a car and want to get some exercise, you can drive to Capo Caccia and take the Escala del Cabirol, or “Goat’s steps”, 656 steps down to the Grotto entrance.

03_20120725_004 03_20121017

If you are looking for a relaxing afternoon after lunch, head down to the beach right by the harbor.


 If you are lookingto catch up with the locals, a short bus ride will bring you to Le Bombarde Beach, a favorite of the locals. The white sandy beach stretches along the sea in front of a pine forest and is a great spot for swimming.


In the evening, head back to the seaside promenade for the evening’s lively passeggiata.

For dinner go to Ristorante Il Pavone(Piazza Sulis 3,079979584)


or the Michelin-starred Andreini (Via Ardoino 45, 079982098). Alghero is known for its lobsters, in season in summer and late winter, and also sea urchins from January through early spring, but there’s plenty of great seafood year round. Accompany your dinner with a local wine from Sella e Mosca and end your meal with a glass of Anghelu Ruju, the local after­dinner drink or “meditation wine” similar to Port, named for the nearby archeological site.

If you’re staying at Villa Las Tronas(Lungomare Valencia 1) our recommended hotel, leave some time to enjoy the spa facilities that include a large heated seawater swimming pool with hydro massage jets, Turkish bath and sauna, and lounge chairs facing windows with views of the sea and city. Or you can lounge in the garden and enjoy the outdoor pool in summer. Villa Las Tronas sits on a small promontory facing Alghero and it’s just a short walk from the center.

hotel-villa-las-tronas_1hotel-villa-las-tronas_3Grazie Maria and Martha!
We must get that Sardinia Inside Out App before our travels to this amazing island…

And check out Golden Day 91 for some more exciting travel tips from Martha about Puglia…


Golden Day 120 with Author Lexa Dudley’s Advice for Cagliari, Sardinia

 untitled (2)We are moving on to the magical island of Sardinia. On my first visit there, I stayed in Cagliari, just in time for their amazing celebration that begins every May–the Feast of Sant’ Efisio. It’s one of the grandest and most colorful religious celebrations in the world–There was a 3 hour parade… gorgeous Sardinians in traditional costumes accented with gold jewelry, riding in carriages bedecked with flowers, pulled by bulls, accompanied by soulful music… a breathtaking experience.

I’m grateful to have connected with Lexa Dudley, an author who has a great passion for Sardinia, and has written a romance, “The Whispering Wind” that’s set on the island… and set on my reading list.

In the meantime, here is Lexa with her advivice for A Golden Day in Cagliari, City of the sun on the ‘Unknown Island’ of Sardinia.

First, I must confess that I fell in love with Sardinia over forty years ago, when it was well off the tourist beaten track; it became the home of my soul and Cagliari lives in my heart.

My golden day would see me heading off to Piazza Arsenale to see the National Museum of Archaeology (070684000) which houses some of the wonderfully crafted bronzetti from the bronze age of the Nuraghic people.




For the early birds the market at San Benedetto is wonderful to get the freshest fruit, veggies, and meat!



The dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria(Piazza Palazzo 4, 070663837)

cathedral-of-cagliari3cathedral-of-cagliari10Take the lift down again to Viale Regina Margherita to find Antico Caffe  (Piazza Costituzione 10, 070658206) which was opened in 1855 and was a favourite of Cagliari’s literati in the 19th and 20th century including D H Lawrence and Grazia Deledda.


The food is excellent and it is wonderful to just sit and soak up the atmosphere. It seems to be open all hours, so a visit for coffee in the morning or a final one late at night is a must.

The Botanical Gardens(Via Sant’Ignazio da Laconia) are great if you want a gentle stroll in the cool after lunch or a rest on a bench. 519f4676e17b7

 Of course a walk in Sardinia would not be complete without a gelato and wherever you find yourself in the city you are bound to find one to satisfy your taste

Cremeria Ritz (Via Sassari 70,3295409601) is known to  serve the creamiest, the freshest, and in a word, the finest ice-cream in town! Or there is L’Isola del Gelato(Piazza Yenne 35, 070 65 98 24). This is more than just an ice-cream parlour and has become a point of reference for locals and tourists


You could also take a bus with ‘P’on it and go to Poetto where you can enjoy the beach with its white sand and amazing little huts and kiosks where coffee or soft drinks can be bought. You can hire an umbrella and chair to enjoy the gentle sea breezes from crystal waters; this is a great favourite with the locals.


 The evening meal is something special in Sardinia and there are many restaurants throughout the city that serve traditional Sardinian food.

Il Buongustaio(Via Concezione 7, 070668124, Open 12:30 – 15:00, 20:00 – 23:00 Mon, Tue 12:30 – 15:00)This establishment specializes in anything fresh coming from the Mediterranean Sea and has a great list of local recipes. Their culurgiones(Sardinian dumplings, filled with potatoes and cheese, served with tomato sauce), fregola con arselle (a type of local pasta in the shape of small balls, served in a clam soup) and sebadas (two fried disks of pastry filled with cheese and topped with honey) are all home-made.



Opera Prima(Via Campidano 9, 070684619, Open 12:45 – 15:00, 19:30 – 23:00, Sun 12:45 – 15:00. Closed Mon.) A bright and spacious environment to enjoy typical Sardinian specialities but also innovative dishes presented with imagination. The atmosphere is elegant but at the same time it gives you a homely feeling and the staff is always ready to satisfy your every need.

45After a mouth-watering meal, a stroll along the Marina is a great way to finish off a day.


If you want to stay in a hotel, then the Hotel Regina Margherita(Viale Regina Margherita 44) in the street of the same name is the place to be. It is in the centre of Cagliari and the top rooms have a wonderful view of the city. Breakfast is as big or small as you want it and just about all you could wish for.


Sometimes I stay in a Bed and Breakfast up in the Casteddu’e Susu area. With a voucher for breakfast you can share your morning coffee with the locals.


Grazie Mille Lexa!