The Medio Campidano Province is located in Sardinia's southwest. It borders with Oristano Province to the north, the Province of Cagliari to the east, and with Carbonia Iglesias and Cagliari Provinces in the south.
The Province was established in compliance with a 2001 regional law that included a new subdivision of the Sardinian territory, doubling the number of provinces from four to eight.
The surface is 585 square miles (6.3% of the total) and includes 28 municipalities. The province draws its identity from the diversity of its environment (sea, mountains, plains, hills) and the resulting variety of products. It is located in one of the least-populated, but most pristine areas of the region, hence the name the ‘Green Province’.
Since pre-historic times, in fact, diverse civilizations settled here and benefited from the rich mineral copper, silver, lead and other deposits. However, only in the 19th Century did the mining industry begin to flourish, and it crashed irreparably after World War II. Today the remains of that era are still visible: yards, villages and small towns constitute a significant heritage of industrial archaeology.
Finally, Su Nuraxi in Barumini is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Province of Medio Campidano is part of the Sardinia Geo-Mineral Park: within it are several mineral sites of great allure, that are also acclaimed destinations for tourists and enthusiasts alike. The main sites are Arbus and Guspini, but noteworthy are also Gonnosfanadiga, Villacidro, San Gavino and Sardara.
The Province is also dotted with villages that have preserved magnificent exemplars of traditional architecture, with houses made of brick, local stone, and Sardinian tiles (produced here). Among them, Collinas, Sanluri, Segariu, Serramanna and Serrenti. These villages boast churches from different periods and different architectural styles, ranging from Romanesque to Catalan Gothic, Baroque to Renaissance.
Noteworthy are also the churches scattered throughout the countryside and often nestled in amazing natural landscapes. These churches are the legacy of the bonds between religion and rural culture, between daily activities and demonstrations of faith. Among them, the Church of Santa Maria de is Acquas in Sardara; Santa Severa in Gonnosfanadiga; the Sanctuary of Santa Marina in Villanovaforru; the Sanctuary of the Madonna d’Itria in Gesturi; the Church of San Sisinnio, set in a grove of millennial olive trees; the small Church of San Giuseppe in the cherry-tree valley of Villascema in Villacidro; and many others.
Moreover, remarkable are the countless local museums treating the area's fascinating history, the monuments, and the traditions and customs that characterize the island. The province, inhabited essentially since prehistory, has been a draw from the beginning for its fertility and its strategic location. Numerous archaeological finds and sites include one of the most famous, the Nuragic complex of Su Nuxari a Barumini, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Of a later period are the Phoenician-Punic sites of ancient Neapolis in Guspini, the Roman Sardara Thermal Baths, and the Genna Maria Complex in Villanovaforru and sa Domu e s’Orcu in Siddi, one of the most spectacular examples of Nuragic funerary architecture on the entire island.
Not only, but remains from the Medieval period abound: churches and castles, such as the Castle and Village of Sanluri, can be found throughout the province. The terrain here is pristine, uncontaminated. The Linas Range occupies most of the province and displays a rich diversity: dense centennial forests that cover the mountains, springs and waterfall, e.g. the Sa Spendula. Moreover, the area is home to many protected species such as the mouflon, the Bonelli Eagle, wild boar and griffon vulture.
The countryside provides the visitor with spectacular views of the Marmilla Hills and the Giara Plateau. Lastly, a number of glorious beaches line the 29-mile coastline.
For nature lovers, the Province of Medio Campidano offers numerous opportunities for excursions- ranging from easy to strenuous - in discovery of this magnificent environment that sustains Holm oak, juniper trees, strawberry trees, mouflons and wild boars, Sardinian elk and the small horses of the Giara Plateau, which are the last survivors of a breed that most likely was brought by Phoenician or Greek sailors.
The Province is also a perfect destination for sea lovers, with its varied coastline and long stretches of beach (fine and white in some places, coarser and full of shell fragments in others), are interspersed between small coves and cliffs ranging from 66-197 feet tall. The area near Arbus is called Costa Verde, the Green Coast, due to the maquis coverage over the hills and the sand dunes that gradually descend to the sea. Still largely untouched, Costa Verde is frequented mainly by tourists in search of tranquility and silence.
In addition, throughout the year festivals and events draw tourists from every corner of the island. The common denominator is religion, blending with ancient pagan traditions and thus joining sacred and profane in compelling and harmonic style.
Prayers, history, legends and myths paint an atmosphere of faith and mysticism where the traditional costumes, the colors of the festivals, the smell of the food, the music and the chanting make the event a truly unique experience!
Campidano and Marmilla produce a special type of bread named civraxu, a large focaccia with crunchy crust and soft core.
Characteristic of the area are the soups of legumes with lard and aromatic herbs, evoking the simple recipes of ancient rural traditions. Dishes prepared with the local vegetables and meat, seasoned with olives, artichokes and olive oil include the artichoke lamb, the ravioli stuffed with ricotta and the malloreddus, the famous gnocchi prepared with the local wheat.
Toward the mountains, the products are increasingly tied to pastoral tradition: think kid, lamb, the many varieties of cheese and the game collected in the nearby mountains.
Closer to the coast are many fish-based recipes such as grilled and fried fish, shellfish and soups.
Lastly, the local almond, honey, saffron, cheese and ricotta desserts are still realized according to tradition.
Among the outstanding wines, the esteemed Campidano di Terralba pairs perfectly with any meal.