According to Sardinian legend, after God created all the dry land and seas, he finally got around to creating boulders, which he then flung into the sea and trod upon. From this “ichnusa” (footprint, like the shape of Sardinia) an island was created which is a little continent unto itself containing every conceivable type of landscape. And to make Sardinia absolutely perfect, God took the creme de la creme of what he had already created elsewhere and spread it across the surface of this rocky island whose majestic mountain ranges stretch into the distance as far as the eye can see.
Sardinia’s towering mountain peaks and impressive volcanic craters rising high into the heavens are reminiscent of Africa. Jagged cliffs, deep gorges and craggy slate mountains form a patchwork that pleasures the senses. Sardinia is also notable for its maze-like stalactite and stalagmite caves which extend far under the island’s limestone mountains. And apart from Sardinia’s manifold natural wonders there are also the works of man, including countless fascinating and enigmatic bronze-age stone nuraghi as well as simple stone walls crisscrossing rolling fields and pastures.
The granite of the Supramonte mountains rising in the distance almost looks like snow. Sardinia’s mountainous landscape has acted as a natural shield against outside control by conquerors and carabinieri, allowing shepherds to roam free and notorious bandits to hide in the rocky labyrinth formed by deep ravines and hidden caves.
Today this inhospitable rocky landscape also provides numerous endangered species with a welcome refuge. Sardinia is stunningly beautiful, with its magnificent oak forests that have retained their primeval character, and its unspoiled, sparsely populated natural environment which is the ideal refuge from the hurly-burly of modern urban life.
Somewhat farther to the south lie the Gennargentu (“tower of the wind”) mountains, which lie in the heart of both the Barbagia region and Sardinia itself. For here the visitor will find Sardinia at its most traditional and genuine. This is a perfect place for hikers in search of days on end of uninterrupted stillness wandering through a pristine wilderness. The cliffs of the Gennargentu abound with cork oak, maquis and arbutus forests that are home to wildlife such as Sardinian deer, wild pigs, wildcats, falcons, kites and black vultures.
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