Sardinia is an island of contrasts. Beyond the sandy beaches and millionaires yachts there is a land of shepherds huts, traditional villages and tranquil valleys aching to be explored. Barbagia, named Barbaria by the Romans who never quite managed to conquer it, is its most untamed region. Little is known about the first settlers. Believers in the after life they constructed curious monuments, nuraghi, laboriously hewn from the limestone rock. Repeatedly attacked by foreign invaders this tough, resilient people, lived in tight-knitted villages, each with its own customs, cuisine and festivals.
Sardinia abounds with Mediterranean and alpine flora and fauna. La Marmora peak is the only place where the yew tree grows. By the sea, juniper, lentisk and strawberry trees flourish. Its un-travelled paths mean that on a walking tour of Sardinia, you can still see wild horses, porcupines and mouflons. On the migratory route, there are many birds, including Sardinian Marmora, Eleonoras falcon and golden eagles. Much of the coastline is tranquil and untamed. Dolphins still swim in the Orosei Gulf, and until recently sea lions bred here.