Food & Drink you must try in Sardinia

The other day I met a chatty Swedish guy in a pub called Hannes, who told me he was flying to Sardinia for a family holiday and landing in Cagliari. What an odd coincidence! I’m not referring to the fact I met a Swedish guy in Sweden or to the unexpected coincidence that random chat with strangers occured in an alcohol serving premises but to the fact that his family chose to go on one of the few flights a year between Stockholm and Sardinia. As soon as he told me this I got him to give me his email address and promised I would give him a list of things to eat and drink which he must try when on the island.

Start at the beginning with the ‘Aperitivo culture’ also known as Aperitif. It is comparable to the better known tapas culture in Spain, as it is the principle of going to a Bar/Cafe and having something to drink which is served with many little nibbles. The most popular of all is Aperol Spritz but also Campari Soda, Negroni, Negroni sbagliato, Garibaldi, Americano are all worth a try. Alternatively you can also have straight Prosecco or beer.

Surprisingly enough Sardinia has many local breweries which have popped up like mushrooms in recent years. I cannot say I’m an expert in handcrafted beers but Barley’s Friska is really good. For more info on the different craft produced beers in Sardinia there is Micro Birrifici – Sardinia which is a good link to check out. There is the most common Sardinian beer produced in the industrial area just outside Cagliari called ‘Ichnusa’. It is readily available all over Italy and in many countries across the world including Germany, UK and Sweden. In the last few months System Bolaget, the only chain of alcohol selling shops in Sweden, started selling it across the country in the ‘new beers’ section.



Red wine all the way, although there are also some really good white wines to try. House wine is cheap but most of the times really good, often better than more expensive bottled wine that can be bought in UK or Sweden. Cannonau is a typical variety of Sardinian red wine which is produced throughout the island and is quite strong in flavour. I’m no wine expert so will not go into further detail, but if you are looking for wine that you can also buy outside of the island the biggest producers are Argiolas (in the south) and Sella e Mosca (near Alghero, in the north).

Pane Carasau, Guttiau and Pistoccu are three different variaties of hard, crunchy bread one can only find in Sardinia. Similar breads can be found across the world such as Sweden’s rye crispbread ‘Knäckebröd’ but nothing beats Carasau served with local extra virgin olive oil and salt. There are also different varieties of normal bread in Sardinia that are worth looking out for, some of which are made in really artistic shapes and are characterised by a crunchy brown crust and a really soft doughy part.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

Plenty of brands, plenty of varieties as Sardinia is abundant with olive trees, some even several hundred years old. ‘Spremitura a freddo’ is the highest quality one can find as they only press the olives without any heat (a freddo) so as not to ruin the flavour and also to preserve the natural qualities and ‘goodness’ of the olives.

Pasta: A variety of sauces
Arselle e Bottarga or Bottariga. Normally long pasta such as linguini or spaghetti are served with clams and ‘Bottarga’ which some call ‘parmesan of the sea’ for the fact it is grated and adds salt and flavour to the pasta. Others call it ‘the caviar of the south’ as it is made by salting and drying fish eggs. Bottarga can also be eaten in slices as an appetizer, served with fennel or artichokes and a drizzle of olive oil .
Carlofortina pasta: from the island of San Pietro (south west of Sardinia) the village of Carloforte is a Genovese colony whose population brought over a series of traditions from their region and above all pesto. So Carlofortina pasta or pizza is made with green pesto, tuna (as they fish high quality tuna off the costs of that island) and fresh tomatoes.
Culurgiones: Sardinian ravioli filled with potatoes and cream cheese. These are served with a freshly-made tomato sauce (not ketchup) and a sprinkle of pecorino or parmesan cheese.
Fregola alla Pescatora: fregola is a typical Sardinian pasta which in many ways recalls couscous. Pescatora is a sauce made with a mixture of seafood and is very flavoursome. Different restaurants make it in different ways, some make it more dense,others a bit runny. Out of the two I personally prefer the dense one but it is a matter of taste.
Al Nero di Seppia: pasta cooked with squid ink. To some people this may look disgusting as you find yourself with a plate of spaghetti covered in a black sauce,but it is the most flavoursome spaghetti you will ever try! Obviously it tastes of fish to a certain extent, so if you hate seafood you might want to avoid this one.
Fish and Meat:
Polpo – octopus. Might sound disgusting but it is really nice, It is normally boiled and served in different ways either ‘alla diavola’ with a spicy tomato sauce or served cold with potatoes and balsamic vinegar as a sort of salad.
Bistecca di Cavallo – horse meat steak: now I can imagine the horrified faces of those who would believe that only barbarians would be cruel enough to eat a poor little horsy, but that is a very hypocritical thing to believe if the person thinking this eats veal or lamb which are the cutest of ‘baby animals’ that have not even had the chance of discovering the joys of life before being slaughtered or those who eat battery farmed chicken; how morally correct is that? Either way it is a very tasty steak which is comparable to beef in many aspects ,but more flavoursome. In some places they make fast food sandwiches for €5 with cavallo e patate (shredded horse meat and potatoes). Normally a classic ‘Fiorentina’ horse steak is served with fresh ruccola and shredded parmesan cheese.
Cheese: lots of cheese production takes place in Sardinia. Many of which are made from goat or sheep milk. Pecorino(sheep cheese) is a classic which you have in all different shapes and sizes, more or less matured, smoked, cream pecorino spread with chilli and so on. There are also other types of cheeses that are really nice made from sheep milk of which my absolute favourite is ‘casaxedu’ (read casascggedu as the x in the Sardinian language is read something like scgg) but it is not readily available in bigger supermarkets, being easier to find in inland villages. Out of the cow milk cheeses ‘Dolce Sardo’ made by Arborea (the Sardinian equivalent to Arla) is really nice as it is of a soft consistency similar to Brie and also quite sweet in flavour.

Sebadas is a classic ,but its very filling as it is a deep-fried, sweet, large, ravioli filled with soft cheese, served with honey. If your meal was relatively small have this to fill you up at the end.
Dolcetti Sardi: small typically Sardinian cakes that one would have to accompany a coffee at the end of a meal.
Espresso Coffee

Sardinia has three major coffee brands: La Tazza d’Oro, Karalis (both produced near Cagliari) and Moka Domus (produced in Ogliastra,in the centre of the island). It is just as nice, if not nicer, than the big Italian brands with the added bonus that it’s locally produced.
Digestivi also known as Ammazza Caffe’ (coffee killers) or Amari

These are commonly drunk to finish a meal, after the espresso coffee (that locals have even after dinner) , a strong liquor that will make you tipsy enough to start dancing as one would do at a wedding, first communion or traditional village festivities. Locally produced Limoncello is nice but the must try which is unique to Sardinia is Mirto. This can be bought in bottles but is often home-made and is fairly strong (30 – 40 – 50 per cent), has an intense flavour and dense texture. Some people compare it to Jagermeister ,but I disagree as the taste is quite different. It is made from the myrtle berry that grows wild and abundantly in the countryside all over the island. If you want something really strong Fil’e Ferru might be for you: it is also known as Sardinian aquavit as it is really strong and most of the times homemade. The name translated from Sardinian means metal wire as when it was illegal to produce your own alcohol people in the countryside used to bottle it and bury the bottles in the ground and only a metal wire stuck out to indicate where the drink was hidden.
The good and the bad thing about Sardinian food and drinks is that they are quite unique and hard to find outside of the island. The bad part is you cannot find these products in other countries, the good part is that, like with every drug, you will have to come back to have some more. And as it is a good drug, Sardinian people will be glad to see you back on their island!


Ghost Villages in Sardinia (1/5): Education

As a guy from the village of Ales, in central Sardinia, once said: ‘Studiate, perché avremo bisogno di tutta la vostra intelligenza’ / ‘Everyone should study, as we will soon be in need of all of your intelligence’ (Antonio Gramsci). Learning English properly is the key, not only in order to offer good tourist services, but also for personal enrichment to be able to make the most of opportunities that extend beyond the village and can reach the far corners of the world.

Starting from nursery schools, the English language must, in my view, be taught at all levels of schooling, ideally reaching a good enough level in high school to be able to study all` sciences 100% in English as opposed to Italian. This may seem to some as extreme globalisation, but on the contrary, having a solid basis in English would allow future university students to be able to choose to study in whichever university worldwide and also enable them to take part in global debates from their laptops and smartphones thanks to blogs, forums and social media platforms. Also, from a ‘Sardinian identity’ prospective, if English is the language spoken at school, the family could speak Sardinian at home without running the risk that their children would mix Sardinian and Italian which can be quite similar and which leads Sardinian pupils to make many grammar mistakes when writing in Italian.

If many more Sardinian youngsters were fluent in English, even university courses organised by the University of Cagliari or Sassari, the two universitie on the island, could be held in English, potentially by professors from other countries, thereby making the educational offer more interesting. Also, having courses taught in English would enable non-Italian speakers to be able to study in Sardinia, both as part of exchange programmes, but also for entire degree courses which in turn would be a great source of income for the universities and the entire island economy. Imagine if there were good courses in architecture taught in English, an English or American student who is used to paying over €10.000 / €20.000 for one year of tuition fees would pay a maximum of €3000 and would also have cheaper living costs. Not to mention the fact that the foreign students would love to have the chance of going to the beach when not in lectures and eating authentic pizzas and drinking Italian wine yet at the same time they would share with the locals part of their own traditions and culture which would benefit the island.

Distance learning courses could also be offered by the universities in Sardinia so that young people in the villages would not have to make a choice as to whether to study or continue their family business; they could do both. The knowledge given them through studying at university would empower them to improve and modernise their business in order for it ,not only to survive,but flourish in the modern world. This should not be too difficult to implement nowadays, as most articles and literature are available in PDF; the lectures could be streamed via video link and assignments uploaded to a student portal. The student would only need to go to the university to take exams and for certain seminars or events, but could still live and work in the inland village.


The Problem of the ‘Ghost Villages’ in Sardinia

In September there will be a one week course held in a rural community in the centre of Sardinia in which there will be lectures and discussions on the ever increasing problematic of ‘desertification’ of inland remote villages. As part of the application process the organisers asked me to write about what pushed me to sign up for the course and my answer was: will to learn and contribute to the discussion to find good ideas which could be, one day, put into practice.

The problem lies in the fact that communities are getting torn apart from the high levels of unemployment, lack of opportunities and future for the fact that many young people are leaving the villages to move to bigger cities in the island or go to the mainland or in other parts of Europe or the world. If one looks at the number of people who identify themselves as Sardinian I would guess almost half of them are not living in Sardinia. There has been a massive diaspora not due to war or persecution but due to another deadly factor: hunger. This does not merely mean hunger as in food deprivation as our land is fertile and we can be self-sufficient in terms of food production it is mainly hunger for opportunities, not living on the bread line and also getting in contact with the world which is portrayed via the internet and television. This phenomena is not necessarily a bad thing but there is the need, for the sake of preserving part of our identity, to strengthen these rural communities. Question is, how?

I think what is needed is a 5 step plan:

  1. Education
  2. Transport network improvements
  3. Technological improvements
  4. Incentives for start ups and businesses to open or relocate to one of the communities
  5. Better localised social and medical services for the population, especially the elderly.

Details of this plan will be further explained in the linked numbers or articles. Click on one of the five titles to read more about the specific idea to fight desertification of rural communities. If you like share the idea or drop a comment, having a debate and exchanging ideas in the hope that some concrete action takes place in order to reduce or maybe even reverse this phenomena.

Alitalia, 70 Anni di Storia tutta Italiana


Proprio come l’Italia, la Compagnia Aerea Italiana (Alitalia) tende ad avere un ricordo romantizzato del passato come i poeti neoclassicisti del 1800 o gli scellerati che acclamano che si stava bene in Italia nel periodo del fascio perché “quando c’era lui i treni passavano in orario”.

Bello vedere il cambio di divise degli assistenti di volo negli anni ma il regista si è dimenticato di citare qualche importante avvenimento nel corso della storia della ex compagnia di bandiera. Cerco di porre rimedio:

  • 1996 Prodi cede parte delle quote pubbliche alla borsa
  • 2006 Prodi tenta di privatizzare il resto della compagnia, buone trattative in corso col gruppo Air France – KLM
  • 2008 Air France – KLM si ritirano dalle trattative per via della quasi certa vittoria di Berlusconi alle elezioni che voleva ‘mantenere Italiana la ex compagnia di bandiera’.
  • 2008 Alitalia fallisce, il governo divide l’azienda in ‘good’ e ‘bad’ company. La ‘bad company’ se la tiene lo Stato (debituccio per lo Stato Italiano di 2 miliardi di euro). La ‘good company’ viene venduta a degli investitori Italiani che comprano un’azienda con ottimo personale, una nuova flotta e un marchio con reputazione internazionale non indifferente. – 8000 dipendenti Alitalia in meno, cassa integrazione pagata dallo Stato Italiano.
  • 2009 altri 2400 esuberi e tagli di stipendio del 20%. Mi meraviglia il fatto che una cordata di imprenditori Italiani di successo non riescano a far andare avanti una grande azienda essenziale per collegare un Paese abbastanza esteso geograficamente con una popolazione di 60 milioni abitanti con legami internazionali e intercontinentali non indifferenti (dovuti a generazioni di emigrazione nota come la ‘diaspora Italiana’ che tuttora continua).
  • 2014 Nuovamente lo Stato Italiano interviene per salvare l’azienda con l’acquisto di azioni Alitalia da parte di Poste Italiane (spa a capitale pubblico). Questo permette le condizioni necessarie per concludere la vendita di 49% delle azioni al gruppo Ethiad (nel 2008 molti sostenevano Berlusconi che non voleva un favorevole affare con Francesi e ora firmano un accordo con Emiri). Ulteriori tagli al personale.
  • 2017 Alitalia festeggia 70 anni di attività commerciale con un’ottima campagna marketing ed uno sconto del 25% per tutti i voli prenotati in questo periodo per volare su tratte in Italia entro Giugno. I vertici Alitalia sicuramente sono fortemente influenzati dal movimento indipendentista Sardo quindi questo sconto non viene applicato sui voli ‘nazionali’ da e per la Sardegna.


Tutta questa pagliacciata marketing per cercare di velare le grosse difficoltà finanziarie dell’azienda che, secondo una stima Reuters, sta perdendo mezzo milione di Euro al giorno. Nonostante 70 anni di aiuti dato dallo Stato Italiano continuano a non riuscire a decollare.

A questo punto qualcuno si potrebbe chiedere come tutto questo sia possibile, anche io me lo chiedo ma risposte non ne ho. Non voglio fare il ‘Capitan Ovvio’ della situazione ma sicuramente sono state fatte una serie di scelte scellerate nel corso degli anni da diverse persone dell’élite politica politica e del mondo finanziario. Il tutto sembra quasi indicare un intento volere a far fallire questa azienda. Io non voglio credere a queste teorie complottistiche ma ugualmente non mi sento in posizione di dare dell’incapace a onorevoli membri della politica Italiana e imprenditori di successo che hanno fatto carriera meravigliosa grazie al loro ingegno e alle loro capacità gestionali.



Massimo rispetto e solidarietà per il personale Alitalia, vittime di incertezze continue sul loro futuro lavorativo per via del crudele volere degli dei, che indubbiamente sono i soli responsabili della situazione attuale. Un’azienda Italiana con ottime potenzialità globali punita da anni dal volere degli dei.


Fonti date e dati  > Ansa:

Reuters (video – English):

25 Aprile: Lettera a gli Studenti Italiani di Uppsala

[English below]
Carissimi soci,
Oggi l’Italia festeggia la ‘Festa di Liberazione’. Un giorno importante per la storia di un giovane Paese con antiche origini, che per via di alcuni scellerati e una forte propaganda, ha deviato il corso centenario di evoluzione di pensieri e filosofie che hanno portato alla fondazione deil nostro Stato nel 1861. L’Italia, oggi, di costituzione è antifascista. L’apologia al fascismo è reato sansionabile per legge e noi come organizzazione studentesca Italiana siamo in linea con questi principi di uguaglianza, anti discriminazione e inclusione.
Se non ti ritrovi in questi principi generali alla base della nostra Costituzione Repubblicana, forse questa associazione non fa per te.
Di sotto ho pubblicato un link a ‘Bella Ciao’, canto antifascista, non comunista come alcuni erroneamente credono. Un canto dei Partigiani, famoso in tutto il mondo, dedicato a coloro che hanno lottato col sangue per creare l’Italia che conosciamo oggi: libera, democratica e antifascista.
Buon festeggiamento a tutti e spero di vedere molti di voi studenti Uppsaliensi stasera al nostro ‘Pub Crawl di Liberazionel’ in cui festeggieremo questo giorno importante nel modo migliore che conosciamo.
Calorosi Saluti,
Alexander Maxia
Studenti Italiani Università di Uppsala
Dear Members,
Today Italy celebrates ‘Festa di Liberazione’ (liberation party). It is a really important day for the history of a young country with ancient origins, which due to the actions of few idiots and a strong propaganda, stopped the century long history of progression of philosophical thoughts and ideologies which were at the basis of the foundation of our State in 1861. Italy today, is antifascist by constitutional law. Supporting fascism is a crime punishable by law and we as an Italian student organisation, are in line with these principles of equality, anti-discrimination and inclusion.
If you feel that these principles do not belong to you, maybe this organisation is not for you.
I have published below a link to ‘Bella Ciao’, an antifascist song, not communist as some may mistakenly believe. It is a song of the Partisans, famous around the world, dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives to create Italy as we know it today: free, democratic and antifascist.
Wish you all to enjoy the celebrations and hope to see many of you Uppsala students at our ‘Liberation Pub crawl’ event tonight in which we will mark this important day celebrating the way we know best.
Best regards,
Alexander Maxia
Italian Students of Uppsala University

Lettera ai Brotzini – 12 Aprile ’17

Uppsala, 12 Aprile 2017
Carissimi Brotzini,
Sono un fantasma che scrive dall’oltre maturità, un mondo strano senza assemblee d’istituto, ricreazioni e note nel registro. Un mondo diverso da quello che state vivendo ora, ma al quale, tra qualche mese o qualche anno, che vi piaccia o meno anche voi ci arriverete..
Parlerò dei miei giorni al Liceo, di un amico in particolare e di tanti altri amici e compagni che insieme a me hanno cercato di fare qualcosa per lui, anche se non ha avuto modo di poterci ringraziare.
Nell’anno scolastico 2010/2011 ero rappresentante degli studenti nella Consulta provinciale e rappresentante d’istituto nel nostro Liceo; un anno veramente bellissimo in cui si sono discusse molte idee: alcune sono andate in porto altre sono state bocciate.
Nel corso del mio anno da rappresentante d’istituto e alla consulta provinciale mi sono battuto tantissimo per un progetto a cui ho creduto molto e in cui tuttora credo pur non potendo fare molto a riguardo trovandomi a più di 1000 Km a nord di Pitz’e Serra in una città universitaria poco più a nord di Stoccolma.
Si parla del progetto di sicurezza stradale ‘Vivo Sicuro’.
Un’idea nata da noi ragazzi e destinata ad altri ragazzi della nostra scuola e di tutta la provincia. Il motivo? Come molti di voi sapranno o avranno notato, davanti alla scuola c’è un murales con tante scritte (sensate per una volta non le solite ‘More ti amo 6 il mio mondo 4ever’ etc.) e fotografie dedicate a Leo.
leo_iconLeonardo Secci era un ragazzino della mia stessa sezione allo scientifico, un anno più piccolo, che conoscevo personalmente e che conoscevano in molti per via della sua vivace personalità e del suo carattere molto socievole.
Verso le 9 e mezza del 12 Aprile 2010 rimase vittima di un incidente stradale, davanti ai cancelli della nostra scuola e nonostante l’arrivo immediato dei soccorsi non ci fu nulla da fare. Fu per noi un triste e cupo momento della nostra vita e molte persone della mia generazione di Brotzini sono rimasti scioccati dall’avvenuto.
Dopo tutto a 16-17 anni ci si crede invincibili, le malattie e la vecchiaia sono lontane, chi ci può toccare?!
Per questo motivo, insieme con gli altri rappresentanti e con l’aiuto di tante persone, da studenti a professori, al preside stesso e al resto del personale scolastico ci siamo uniti per creare un qualcosa per ricordare Leo e per fare si che tutti i nostri coetanei ragazzi pensino all’importanza della sicurezza stradale.
Quelle macchie di rosso scuro sull’asfalto sono rimaste per molte settimane e quelle immagini rimarranno per sempre nella mente della mia generazione di liceali Quartesi.
Mi rendo conto che per chi non era presente al liceo quel 12 Aprile del 2010 e non ha conosciuto Leo di persona possa essere difficile vedere l’importanza, a sette anni di distanza, di questo progetto da noi avviato con tanto impegno e fatica.
Leo purtroppo non è stata l’ultima vittima di un incidente stradale. Da allora hanno perso la vita sulla strada, tra le persone che conosco, due coetanei ed un amico di famiglia, padre di un carissimo amico.
Vi invito fortemente a riflettere su questo e se avete la possibilità di parlarne con amici e compagni perché solo voi potete rianimare questo progetto e portarlo avanti per le generazioni future.
Oltre all’aspetto sociale, connesso con il ‘fare un’opera di bene’, il coinvolgimento in un simile progetto vi permetterebbe di acquisire importanti competenze, utili in un futuro mondo del lavoro, sia come esperienze da inserire in un CV, che come acquisizione di competenze dovute proprio al lavoro che la progettazione e l’esecuzione di un progetto come ‘Vivo Sicuro’ comporta.
Quando ho fatto domanda per studiare all’università di Manchester e, successivamente, per fare la specialistica qua ad Uppsala, ho sempre citato la mia esperienza come parte del comitato organizzativo del progetto. Dopo tutto, se la scelta é tra prendere “8 e mezzo” senza avere esperienze extra oppure un “7 meno meno” col bagaglio di esperienze maturate in un anno di lavoro (marketing, pubbliche relazioni, capacità di parlare al microfono davanti a centinaia di persone, gestione della stampa etc.) l’Università o l’eventuale datore di lavoro favoriscono indubbiamente un curriculum più ricco, soprattutto se lavorando per una nobile causa. Detto questo, pur avendo dedicato tantissimo del mio tempo a questo progetto, unitamente ad altri impegni (rappresentante d’istituto, consulta provinciale, volontario al 118 etc.) sono comunque riuscito a maturarmi con 100.
Se siete interessati vi invito fortemente a contattare il Prof. Luigi Piras, una persona molto in gamba che dal primo consiglio d’istituto nell’Ottobre del 2010 ha sempre creduto e fortemente sostenuto questo progetto nel corso degli anni. Chiedete di lui a scuola o scrivetegli una mail: oppure potete mandarli un messaggio via WhatsApp al numero: 327 54 03 302.
Vi ringrazio per la vostra paziente attenzione.
Calorosi Saluti,


4 Years of Blogging 

On the 8th of February 2013, barely 1 month into my Erasmus exchange study program, I published my first article in ‘Lost in a Cup’. The title was ‘Sweden at Heathrow‘ and talked about my first contact with Sweden on the tarmac of the busiest airport in the UK.

Since then I wrote other 84 articles and published 40 odd pages through the years although most of my work was written in the first half of 2013 during my exchange.
If you want to read more about the choice of title for this website/blog and its chosen content check out the About page.
If instead you want to find out more about me, the writer, check out the Biography page.
Plans for the future are to keep analysing Swedish society and student life as I’m now once again in Uppsala to study although things have changed a lot since 2013. This time I believe I have more direct contact with Swedish people as opposed to last time in which I hanged out mainly with internationals. Also I am now an ‘ämbetsman’ (officer/elected worker) of 2 student nations here which are at polar opposites in the ideals they have and way they function (lots of interesting material, hurra!).
As always keep comments flying in either publicly or in a private message (check out ‘Get in touch’).
Last but not least give a Like to the Facebook page which if you enjoy this so that you will get the latest publications on your newsfeed:
Stay lost and drink espresso!
P.S. Are you in Uppsala this evening and want to celebrate with me 4 years of blogging? Plan is to have a few beverages at my place, some tea and a good cup of Italian espresso and then off to the student club ‘Valvet’ at Östgöta Nation. Fun times all around!

The Sardinian Diaspora

Sardinia has a total population of around 1.6 million inhabitants (roughly the same amount of people that Sicily has in the county of Palermo alone) and the majority of its inhabitants are concentrated around the main city Cagliari (approximately 300.000).
For a series of historical, social and financial reasons many left the island to find fortune on the Italian mainland or further afield.
My family is a perfect example of this. My father moved to London aged 19, my great uncle moved to Rome with his family in the 60s and lived there until he died, my grandfather and his brothers all studied in mainland Italy and a generation before them my great grandfather went to work in mines in Belgium and after that moved to mainland Italy, my other great grandfather instead worked in Argentina for a few years  and then they both returned to Sardinia.
There have been different waves of migration but some things have not changed through time such as the strong sense of belonging the islanders feel towards their homeland.
Even moving to Rome or the north of Italy is a big deal as ‘continente’ (= the continent, name given to mainland Italy by Sardinians) is not Sardinia. The reasons are many; partly geographical due to differences in scenery mainly the lack of stunning beaches and big green areas but also climatically as the 300+ days of sun per year, hot summers and mild winters are hard to live without once you have been used to them all your life. Lack of sun can deeply impact ones mood. The main differences however are cultural and linguistic as Sardinia has its own language which is quite different from Italian and the colourful expressions and unique words that characterise it cannot really be translated into any other language.
Today, many of my friends have left Sardinia either to continue their studies at a postgraduate level or to find work. The vast majority of them lives in Milan, followed by London, Bologna (the biggest university city in Italy), some in Rome and others abroad (many of whom live in Germany which historically has always had a strong Sardinian community).

Cagliari-Elmas Airport, departure point for many who live outside of Sardinia.

Before leaving there are a series of rituals most Sardinian youths will observe. First of all, you must drop by to say goodbye to Nonna. After that, in the evening, you say goodbye to your close friends who live on the island, one more aperitif or espresso coffee and you don’t leave before they reassure you that they will come and visit you at some point.
You get back home, pack the last things including the all important Sardinian food which has been kept in the fridge until the last minute including Bottarga (dried fish roe, typically Sardinian), pecorino cheese, cured ham or sausages that all get added to the previously packed Mirto and Limoncello.
A few hours later you are at the airport checking-in your suitcase and praying that all the heavenly goods packed do not surpass the baggage weight allowance.
Time for goodbyes: one last hug to mamma and babbo who usually tell you to look after yourself and keep in touch.
You go through security checks and look around, many others are in your same position with heavy bags and heavy hearts preparing to leave the island. Job opportunities in Sardinia are scarce, the local universities are very limited in what they offer and the ‘Sardinian mentality’ tends to drag you down making it very hard for an ambitious, international-minded youth to stay in his or her homeland.
After all Life is Calling, no time to linger or feel nostalgic, one must take to the skies in order to fulfil ones aspirations and potentials leaving Sardinia to spread across Europe and beyond.
The dream however remains to one day maybe return for good to Sardinia perhaps to start a family, set up a business to benefit the local economy or retire in the sunny slow-paced corner of paradise in your golden days.
The hope is that maybe, at that point, things will have changed for the better: the local political elite will have more sense and be in touch with the reality that surrounds them and actually care about the people they supposedly serve. Maybe the Sardinians will have lost their ‘characteristic mentality’ that tends to prevent anyone from being successful by filling anyone who dares to try something new with envy and pessimistic vibes as fear of change rules their provincial way of thinking.
That said, looking back at my family, after nearly 10 years in London my father managed to return to Sardinia and his grandfather before him after years in Argentina so there is still hope.
As long as there is hope and the will to return and change things there will be the possibility that the Sardinian diaspora may reverse its course and that many of the talented people who fled the island may return to change it for the better. Perhaps when this will happen, Sardinia will truly reach its full potential which for now is a goal which seems light years away.