There’s absolutely no way to describe Sardinia’s magnificence.

The land, the sea, the people; the traditions; the food, art, and culture: all are diverse, beautiful, and unique.

Long considered a gem of the Mediterranean, Sardinia is now an autonomous region of Italy, boasting a distinct history and traditions. Phoenician, Byzantine, Etruscan, Roman, Spanish, and Italian cultures have all touched — and been touched by — Sardinia. Prehistoric towers, or nuraghi, still dot the landscape, which ranges from verdant hills to deserts, from deep gorges and steep mountains to the breathtakingly beautiful beaches for which Sardinia is famous.

While Sardinia’s rich cultural history is expressed in the arts, language, and traditions across the island, the beaches are what draw the most interest. In the summer, European, Japanese, and Middle Eastern visitors frequent Costa Smeralda, Costa Paradiso, Alghero, and the many pristine blue and white beaches that claim Bandiera Blu status.

The adventurous venture inland to mountain bike, climb, and hike. A handful explore Sardinia’s traditions and arts in the small towns where centuries-old arts persist alongside modernization.

Sardinian artists are renowned for their work in metal, glass, jewelry, knife-making, and, of course, weaving. Artists traditionally passed a craft from generation to generation within a family and village, but the number of artists working in traditional methods is diminishing. Their work is rarely found outside the island.

The small town respected as Sardinia’s weaving capital lies in the center of the island, nested among hills much like those found in Northern California. Weaving is integral to the town’s history and culture: The Regional Textile Museum was built here to commemorate the art, the town crest incorporates a loom, and walls of homes and shops in the old section are painted with traditional textile patterns.

This is where the gold standard of traditional Sardinian handweavers lives and works.

For more information about Sardinia, for starters, see Wikipedia.

The Sardegna Digital Library has an impressive collection of videos and photos, well worth watching even if you don’t understand Italian or Sardinian languages.

This video about Samugheo shows a bit of the town’s culture and traditions, of course including the textiles. Isa’s studio and the Regional Textiles Museum are both shown.

If you seek to learn about Sardinia through travel guides, please note many guides are dismissive of all but the beach areas.

The best way to learn about Sardinia is to experience the island and her people by visiting!

S Teresa Gallura