Sardinia has closed all ports and airports. Only residents are able to return to the island. I am writing this towards the end of March, it appears that the lockdowns due to the Covid-19 virus will continue into the coming months. Sardinia is closed to tourists and travellers, likely for most of the year.
As of writing this, there are hundreds of cases on the island of Coronavirus, the lockdowns and social distancing will hopefully ease the rate of infection. But I believe we will expect those number to extrapolate dramatically.
If you have any holiday bookings in Sardinia, then contact the companies you booked with and insurance providers.
I wish you all to stay safe and well during these difficult times. Look after those around you, this is a challenge of our human resilience, and we must work together as one. I hope when all this is over, you can explore the magical island of Sardinia in all its beauty.
Yes, there are snakes in Sardinia, and it is not uncommon to see them in the countryside. However, you’ll be pleased to know that Sardinia has no poisonous snakes, due to its isolation from the European continent for millions of years. The fauna was able to develop on its own without any poisonous reptiles on the island.
Sardinia is probably the closest place to paradise. Normally, the most beautiful places in the world are filled with dangerous reptiles. But in Sardinia, you are free to roam safely with a little common sense. Indeed, you don’t even have the threat of earthquakes in Sardinia.
Let take a look at some of the most common snakes in Sardinia, so you can recognise them if you see them, and stay safe.
The Most Common Snake in Sardinia
The Biacco is green, yellow and black, it’s the most common species of snake on the island. It’s classified in two ways, Hierophis viridiflavus, and formerly as Coluber viridiflavus. It is a snake of the Colubridi family. It is not poisonous.
This snake is often encountered in both the countryside and gardens. They both types of environments, rocky, dry and sunny soils, and also wet, humid places such as grasslands and riverbanks.
It will make a fast escape when it notices someone nearby, trying to find a safe place. If for some reason the snake feels threatened and is blocked from escaping, it will bite. These are not very strong bites and are not poisonous.
However, if the snake is picked up it won’t hesitate to defend itself with more force. The Biaccio snake with be more aggressive, biting multiple times in quick succession.
This snake is completely harmless to humans with a little common sense not to make it feel threatened.
Other Species Of Snakes In Sardinia
The Natrix Maura has a similar resemblance to a viper, but it is not poisonous. This species of snake is common all across the Mediterranean, including the north-west of Africa, south of France, and the Iberian Penisula. They are also common through the whole of Sardinia.
There have been cases of this snake entering into local homes in Sardinia causing a great panic as it looks similar to a viper. This snake can grow to around 1 metre. The colouration varies from yellowish-brown to greenish-grey.
If this snake feels threatened and unable to escape. It usually serves a series of blows with the force of its body and head, usually with the mouth closed. Sometime it will choose to bite, these are not poisonous. This snake is often called a water snake as it spends most of its day in or near rivers and stream. They always prefer moving water.
Natrix Natrix or Grass snake
This snake is common across Europe, Asia, and Africa with many different breeds. Sardinia is home to the breed known as Cetti, although it is still considered a rare snake, and there is still much to learn about it.
It is a white and grey snake and can grow to more than 1 metre 20 centimetres.This species of snake is free to roam around many different environments, they like wet places such as streams, but can be found anywhere in the countryside looking for food.
Sardinian is not a dialect it is a language. The most widely spoken language in Sardinia may be Italian, but the Sardinian language known as Sardo is still widely spoken among locals. It’s a rich and beautiful language. Today, there are over 1,350,000 native or second-language speakers of Sardinian.
Out of all the romance languages (including French, Italian, Spanish and Romanian) Sardo is considered to be the closest descendant of Latin with only an 8% difference in vocabulary, syntax, and phonology. Sardo is unintelligible to Italians, it feels much similar to Spanish than Italian.
Sardo was officially recognised by regional law in 1997, then two years later it was recognised at the national level.
It may be a language closely related to Latin, but much like Sardinians history, it has had many outside influences such as Arabic, Byzantine Greek, Ligurian, Catalan, Spanish, and more recently Italian.
The Sardinian language is fragmented into different dialects varying from area to area throughout the island. Neighbouring villages in Sardinia often have different variations on the language. Locals can easily spot an outsider, even if they’ve only travelled 10km.
The Different Sardinian Dialects
In Sardinia, there are four main dialects of the Sardinian language. Logudorese, Campidanese, Gallurese, and Sassarese. Logudorese and Campidanese are the main two Sardinian dialects and have written standards.
The Logudorese dialect sometimes called Sard or Sardarese is spoken in central northern areas of the island, there are over half-a-million speakers. This dialect also breaks down into many other sub-dialects with various changes such as Northern Logudorese, Nuorese, and Central Logudorese.
Campidanese also is known as Sardu is spoken in the central-southern areas of Sardinia, including the capital of Cagliari. It is quite distinct from other Sardinian dialects. From Campidanese, there are six sub dialects: Arborense, Cagliaritano, Meridonale, Ogliastrino, Guspines, and Villacidrese. The dialect has been influenced heavily by the Spanish and Catalonian. Also, Italian words that arrived in Sardinia later, were often changes to appear more Sardinia, by changing the O vowel at the end of a word to a U.
Gallurese is spoken by 100,000 Sardinians in the Region of Gallura. It is considered a mix of Sardinian, and Corsican. The most antique records of the language come from the 17th century, in the form of poems. There is a strong relation to the south of Corsica, but the dialect was also later influenced by the Logudese dialect, that was in use to the south of Gallura.
Sassarese like Gallurese is another dialect that is a combination of the Corsican language and Sardo. The two islands have been isolated together for centuries, and share many cultural aspects. More than half the population of Sassari speak Sassarese, and there are other Sassarese speaking towns such as Porto Torres and Sorso.
An Endangered Language
Sardinian may be a protected language but it is still endangered. It is spoken widely among the older population of Sardinia but has dropped to less than 13% among Sardinian children.
The language is spoken at home, but the Sardinians often prefer to speak Italian outside the house. The dominance of Italian in schools and mass media has pushed Sardinians further away from their native language.
Unfortunately, Sardo is not taught in Sardinian schools, aside for a few experimental classes. The language was looked down upon, causing many local speakers to view this rich and elegant language with shame. Today, many Sardinians are rediscovering pride in speaking the native national language.
Some towns provide Sardinian languages courses for those interested. There are several well-known Sardinian language music groups such as Tazenda, which continue to promote Sardinia and perform songs in Sardo to crowds of Sardinians singing along with the lyrics.
Examples Of The Sardinian Language
Non Potho Reposare is a popular cultural song in Sardinia, it’s was written 100 years ago. The first verse below is in Sardinia, translated into Italian, and English below.
Non potho reposare amore ‘e coro Pensende a tie so donzi momentu No istes in tristura, prenda ‘e oro Ne in dispiachere o pensamentu T’assicuro ch’ a tie solu bramo Ca t’amo forte t’amo, t’amo, t’amo
Non posso riposare, amore del mio cuore, Ti penso ogni momento Non essere triste, mio gioiello dorato, Né dispiaciuta o preoccupata. Ti assicuro di desiderare solo te Perché ti amo tanto ti amo, ti amo, ti amo
The love of my heart can’t rest thinking you every moment Don’t be sad gold jewel Don’t be sorry or worried I assure you that I desire only you I love you strongly, I love you, I love you
The Brief History Of The Sardinia Language
The language of a country or island is the result of a series of historic events that can only be determined upon future reflection. What led to the introduction and learning of Latin in Sardinia, then why was it abandoned, and why did it disappear to be replaced with Sardo?
The Lliensi or ancient Nuraghic people of Sardinia were opposed to the Carthaginian rule and took refuge among the mountains. The Romans that had been trying to conquer Sardinia since 400bc, finally took it in 238ac, following the second Punic war against Carthage.
The first areas of Sardinia influenced by Latin were Cagliari, and Porto Torres, while the central regions of Sardinia remained conservative and protective.
The native Sardinians joined a Carthage revolt in 215bc against the Romans legions in Sardinia known as the battle of Decimomannu, but the insurgency was crushed. The Carthaginian army later fled to Africa and left the Nuragic people to face severe repression from Rome.
Due to its isolation from the mainland, the Sardinian language was able to retain many of its similarities with Latin, evolving uniquely away from the influence of other romance languages.
Once Latin has made its roots in Sardinia, it was influenced by other cultures for the next two thousand years, giving us the Sardinian language of today. Influenced by the Bizantine, The Pope, Arabs, Kingdom Of Aragon, Spanish, and the pre-Latin languages of Sardinia.
The influence of Italian on the Sardinian didn’t stop, even when the Sardinia was ruled by the Aragonese and then Spanish, the young Sardinians prefered to study in the Italian universities of Pisa and Bologna.
With Italian as the national language, Sardinian then declined politically to the position of dialect, but from linguistic history, the Sardinian language remains an independent language with distinctive features that make it different from the other Romance languages.
The Sardinian language of today, allows Sardinians to communicate spirituality, a language of a fascinating lineage, all the way through history, reuniting with the centuries of the Nuraghi.
I have been staying in a small village in the north of Sardinia. I’ve written about some things I have learned about Sardinia over the last few years.
Sardinia is like no other place. The island is continually rebuilding its traditions and culture that existed in prehistoric times, before being temporary washed away by invading foreign powers. Sardinia was living in a shadow until the curse of malaria that was eradicated in 1949.
The land is covered in ancient sites, a testament to its wealth and abundance in past millennia. Lying in the centre of the Mediterranean sea, with its neighbour Corsia, it has been of significant strategic importance to empires, the effects can still be seen today.
Luckily, Barbagia and other regions in central Sardinia were strong and determined enough to hold tight to the sacred wisdom, and traditions of Sardinia, during times of invasion. They fortified the mountains, and now invading force could penetrate the cultural heart of Sardinia.
The word Bargagia was coined by the philosopher Cicero, as he referred to the area of Sardinia, as ruled by Barbarians. The traditions and culture remained safe there until it could be dispersed again across the island.
I have noticed the connection that the Sardinian’s, especially the older generation have with nature. A young farmer took me to see the Sardinian grains he had planted in his fields. On the way back, he pointed out several different plots of land, some with goats, and some with vegetable patches.
Each one he said belonged to locals from the town, who work full-time jobs, one was a train driver, another an official in Sassari. Yet when these locals have a moment free they spend it in the countryside, trying to cultivate something to share with their friends and family.
Maybe it’s some goats cheese, pumpkin, honey or, olive oil. It’s deep within the culture of Sardinia to provide some food for yourself and to pass the day with the soil and the sun.
Life in Sardinia is very relaxed, there is time, and space to enjoy life, and reflect. Older men spend their afternoons playing cards together in the local bar, passing time with conversations, and banter. There is no rush, Sardinians simply follow the flow of the day and the seasons.
Most families in the last few centuries have lived very simple lives, raising sheep, and working in the fields. They have lived with little wealth but lives full of enjoyment and satisfaction.
Sardinia was once covered with forests, these were destroyed by the Kingdom of Piemonte that occupied Sardinia. To be used for the construction of railways on the mainland. It is believed that without the trees the water would wash through the valleys of Sardinia, making pools of water that were a breeding ground for mosquitoes that caused much devastation in Sardinia for centries.