Traditional Sardinian garb is extremely colourful, replete with elaborate embroidery and other ornamentation, some of Spanish and Moorish provenance, and all so beautiful that the visitor can easily forget the poverty that is the daily lot of these villages.
In a closed island society such as Sardinia, clothing was a statement not only of the wearer’s geographic origins but also revealed their station in society. Traditional costumes and body ornaments remain an important element in Sardinian festivals and are also expression of pride and self-confidence. Nearly every village or cluster of villages has its own style of traditional costume. There are in fact over 400 different types of costume in Sardinia.
Although individual garments vary greatly, they have certain features in common. The women wear a veil, bonnet or shawl, long pleated skirts and embroidered blouses. The men, on the other hand, all dress the same. They wear a cap known as a “birritta,” as well as a doublet (close-fitting jacket) and on their legs a traditional hand-woven cuff made of unscoured wool.
Some Sardinian women still do traditional wool embroidery on silk and brocade fabrics. This craft is particularly cherished, and is still being taught, owing to its economic value and the proud tradition it represents.
Many Sardinian costumes are still made in their original traditional styles. The sagre, a festival that celebrates the sacred and immutable aspects of Sardinian culture, provides the various regional groups with an opportunity to gather and display their traditional garb for the benefit of the public, which loves the spectacle (calendar).
Visitors who do not have the occasion to attend one of these festivals can admire the costumes at the Nuoro folk art museum located in a lovely park on Sant’Onofrio hill. Many Sardinian women still wear traditional clothing in their everyday lives.
Complete list of museums in Sardinia.