Cagliari: among nature and sport
Sports and leisure, at Poetto beach
With a Mediterranean climate and natural spaces at your fingertips, here sports are practised strictly in the open air. The local residents walk or cycle along the cycle path between the Ichnusa pier in the old port and the characteristic fishing village of Sant'Elia, to reach Poetto, the long city beach that is a true favourite with the inhabitants of the metropolitan city of Cagliari. Ten kilometres of fine, white sand for relaxing and sunbathing, but also a place to practice pilates and yoga on the shore while breathing in the healthy sea air. From May until late autumn, you can do water aerobics, swimming in warm, transparent waters that are have all the appeal of a tropical paradise. Water sports enthusiasts wait for windy days and waves to spend time wind and kite surfing , or else enjoy the calm weather, gliding gently along in a canoe, kayak or SUP. Strange as it may seem, the sea is also the starting point for a circular hiking tour with views of the gulf, which, although challenging, is also suitable for the less experienced. It climbs the promontory that shelters the southern end of beach to reach the Sella del Diavolo ("Devil's Saddle") at the peak. The view of the sea from up there is enchanting, ranging from Chia to Capo Carbonara, and from the hills of Sarrabus in the distance to the city and the natural oasis along the coast. This is home to the largest resident colony of pink flamingos in the Mediterranean, not to be missed when they take flight in groups as you canoe down the canals or cycle along the cycle paths. They are the symbolic image of the Molentargius-Saline Regional Park, a wealth of delights between the last houses in the city and the sea.
Get back into shape with a tour of the urban parks
The extraordinary longevity of Sardinians, a matter of DNA, healthy environment and lifestyle, has long intrigued science. An active outdoor life is also a contributing factor; it improves your mood and helps maintain body and mind in good condition. The climate of Sardinia helps, the sun shines even in winter and temperatures rarely drop so low as to keep you indoors for long. A godsend for those who live there but also for those who choose Cagliari to spend the winter in the warmth, just an hour's flight from the mainland. You'll find sports activities right on your doorstep, in the large urban parks. Monte Urpinu, Terramaini and Monte Claro have outdoor gyms equipped for runners, with purpose-built fitness circuits set among rare plants, ponds and historical and military archaeological remains. The green oases of the historic centre are also an opportunity to get out in the open air, this time slowly, to take in the beauty of the rare species in the Botanical Garden, the mystical fragrances of the Capuchin Garden and the charm and sea views of the Public Gardens around the Municipal Art Gallery. Here, on the ridge descending from the embankment of the Castello district, there is a tempting attraction: a climbing wall for beginners. And if you happen to be in the city when it is open to the public, there's also a rare and precious cultural site: the largest Punic necropolis in the Mediterranean, with thousands of tombs overlooking the port of Cagliari, from the hill of Tuvixeddu.
According to Gambero Rosso, here you can eat healthily, well and cheaply
After the enjoyment of sunbathing, swimming in the sea, sailing through the Gulf of Angels, running and walking in the parks, what could be better than savouring the special flavours enhanced by the typical fishermen's dishes? Distinguished by the abundance of fish and seafood, from exquisite lobsters to oysters, they also feature special species that are very common in the island's seas. A visit to the lively fish market in the centre of Cagliari is all it takes to realise the variety and freshness that finds its way onto the table. From the dogfish, the typical burrida, a trademark of the fishermen of yesteryear, with a taste that lingers in the palate. Eels are roasted over the embers or stuffed into the panadas de mari, similar to Spanish empanadas, a kind of savoury pie sealed with pasta violata (shortcrust pastry). There are also incredibly fresh mussels and clams, used in the ancient and sublime fregula de cocciula, a dish made with grains of durum wheat semolina toasted and cooked with wedge clams, in fish broth.
At the table, in addition to authentic cuisine, you encounter the historical memory of seafolk. Flavours that thrive across the board: from typical trattorias to starred restaurants, to delicious street food that does not exclude traditional dishes.