Sardinian Carnival

Mamoiada, 16-17 Gennaio 2016


On 16 and 17 January 2016 in many villages of Sardinia there will be the traditional Saint Anthony’s Feast(Abbot), one of the oldest feasts of the island, which marks the beginning of the Carnival. The new year is just started and the traditional carnival masks will make their first appearance, dancing and singing. It will be possible to wander around the bonfires all night long, savouring pastries prepared in honor of the saint and tasting a glass of wine. In some villages of the inland the rite is very popular and  well-preserved and can last up to three days, such as in Mamoiada, where we find the famous masks “Mamuthones” and “Issohadores“(see picture) and where you could find up to 40 bonfires. Among the pastries of the Carnival there are the “zeppole“, a typical spiral shaped donut covered with sugar and with a flavor of citrus…. delicious! Which wine can you match with the donuts? A glass of “Vermentino“, with its fruity notes, is really a good choice. Not to be missed: the Cannonau, the well-known sardinian red wine that here in Mamoiada, you can taste at its best at the Cantina Montisci that produces the spectacular “Barrosu” (buy here your bottle)!

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#ilikesardinia: The Carnival

The Carnival

The Feast of St. Antonio


The feast of St. Antonio Abate, which is celebrated on January 17, opens the Carnival and trough the rite of the lighting of large bonfires perpetuates an ancient tradition that has its origin in the pagan agro-pastoral world. In ancient times these rites were celebrated to propitiate the arrival of the new season and the end of the cold. The Sardinian Carnival therefore represents a solution of continuity between past and present, highlighting the cultural identity of the communities who celebrate it.

The Carnival is one of the most awaited anniversary and is particularly felt by the population of Ottana, which, with its special masks “de Sos Merdules” animates the village for three days, as well as in Gavoi and Mamoiada with the exit of the “Mamuthones“(another tipical mask), in Orotelli with the “Thurpos”, in Alghero, in Oristano with the spectacular riding challenge of the “Sartiglia”.

And around these bonfires are eated, as tradition has it, some typical food specialties: sas savadas (see post), sas gazzas, sa pasta violada, sas origliettas, and also, sas culurzones (see post), pane carasau bread (see post 1 & 2) with sausages, cheese and local wine.

wine,olive oil,cannonau,vermentino,moscato,malvasia,cagnulari,carignano,nuragus

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#ilikesardinia: The Incredible Story of the King of Tavolara

The Lord of Tavolara

An island and its King


The story we are going to tell you today is almost unbelievable. It’s the story of Giuseppe Bertoleoni, “Lord of Tavolara” and of the incredible series of lucky breaks that have transformed this man of humble beginnings in the King of Tavolara. In 1815 a storm took by surprise the King of Naples, Joachim Murat during a trip to Sardinia and brought him on the island of Tavolara (see post). Here was saved and received by Bertoleoni, who had arrived on the island after leaving his home and his family in La Maddalena, and had built there a house, modest but dignified, and had with him all the necessary for a self-sufficient life. He also cultivated a piece of land, had a sheepfold and he produced what was  enough to live on a deserted island! The King of Naples never forgot the warm welcome offered him by Bertoleoni, and often he spoke about him, the “Lord of Tavolara”, who had saved him from the raging sea.

Meanwhile, interest in the island of Tavolara continued to grow thanks to the presence on the island of some goats whose teeth had a special yellow colour due to a grass they ate and that grows only there, and that is the reason why these were called “goats with the gold teeth“. It is said that Charles Albert, King of Piedmont and Sardinia, intrigued by these animals went to Tavolara to see  the “mythical goats with the gold teeth” himself, and there he was received with great respect by Bertoleoni who introduced himself as King of Tavolara. Carlo Alberto spent a few days on the island and he liked  so much this lovely place, that he promised to Bertoleoni that he would officially appointed him as ruler of the island. And so it was: Carlo Alberto kept his promise and the parchment of investiture, of nobility and property arrived to the Prefecture of Sassari, but then went lost, as well as the gifts bestowed by the sovereign. The story of the first King of Tavolara has become a legend, strengthened over the years by the verbal testimonies of Bertoleoni, who have inhabited the island until the acquisitions of the Venetian-Roman family of Marzano and the military servitude on one side of the island, granted by the State to NATO.

Now this island with walls more than 500 meters high made of limestone and granite, covered with juniper bushes, helichrysum, rosemary and mastic and beautiful specimens of geranium and “asperula deficiens“, rare plant elsewhere, has become a marine park that can be reached(the eastern sector is an inaccessible military zone) by ferry or boat from Olbia and Golfo Aranci, virtually at every hours. On the island there are also two restaurants where you can enjoy the scenery tasting typical dishes!

GPS coordinates Tavolara Island: 40.9062, 9.7133

wine,olive oil,cheese,pecorino,cannonau,vermentino,malvasia,cagnulari,carignano,moscato

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The Descent of Candelieri

Li Candeleri

Sassari, 14th of August

Also this year on 14th of August will be renewed an event perpetuated through the centuries: the Descent of Candelieri( declared Unesco World Heritage), or Faradda, as it is normally called by the people of Sassari.

The origins date back to the second half of the 13th century, at that time Sassari was under Pisan domination, and the tradition of offering a candle to the Madonna at the eve of the Assumption was imported from Pisa.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, this event took on the form of religious vow formulated by “Gremi“, the ancient trade and craft corporations, and from the town authorities, after numerous plagues hit the town; so ten large wooden candles were offered to the Madonna and this event or better this tradition has been kept alive over the centuries by the Gremi, which have kept up the religious vow to this days.

The Gremi are the protagonists of this event, the current members of these guilds are the descendents of the founders of ancient associations, founded in the medieval following the example of the most important towns of Italy and Spain.

In the 16th and 17th centuries their statutes were laid down and also they obtained a chappel for the celebration of their religious rites.

Their names are:

  • Blacksmiths, the symbols of the trade are the anvil, the hammer and the compass.
  • Stoneworkers, this is the guild of the ancient chisellers, stone hewers and stone cutters.
  • Wayfarers, these were the ancient transporters and travelling salesmen.
  • Farmworkers, also called the Diggers.
  • Carpenters, their patron saint is St.Joseph.
  • Greengrocers, this guild is a testimony of Sassari’s origins as an agricultural town.
  • Cobblers, their patron saint is St.Lucia.
  • Tailors, their symbol is the scissors  and their Candeliere differs from the others due to it’s Baroque style.
  • Builders,their symbols are the set square, the hammer and the compass.
  • Landowners, they were the big owners of the lands used for the cultivation of cereals.

The most important figures of all the ten guilds of “Gremi” are the “Obrieri“, whose job it is to carry the standard.

This is only a short tell of this interesting and great traditional event , now you must come to see the rest!!!

Gps Coordinates of Sassari: 40.726133, 8.5461478

vino,olio di oliva,cannonau,vermentino,moscato,malvasia,cagnulari,carignano

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