"It is certainly easier to write the natural history of Sardinia rather than the history of man in Sardinia - wrote Giuseppe Dessì in the 1960s -, easier to speak of the ants and bees that populate the island, than to speak of the history of the sentenced...therefore, if I think of the men I see them as ants and bees, as a species that has continued unchanged throughout the millenniums". In these words is the difficulty evidently found by the Sardinian writer in describing a region, defined by him as "a stone civilisation", which, differently from the crossroad-islands such as Sicily, has offered to the mirror of Italian identity the image of a prison-island, outside history and that has therefore become a reserve of "old extinct races - synthesised the historian Lucien Febvre - of antique customs, antique social forms banished from the continent".
However in the prehistoric period, Nuragic (XVIII-IIIth century B.C.), revealed by the most recent digs Sardinia was already receptive to the contribution of other cultures, with cities that demonstrate, even towards the hinterland, Punic and Roman influences: Calaris, Nora, Tharros, Turris and Olbia. The golden age for Sardinia came with the return to Latinism, relations with Byzantium having ceased, a return with a language that in its two present variations, Campidanese (south) and Lugudorese (north), appeared already formed and mature in the texts of the XIth century.
With the Aragon rule, which began in the XV century, the island was forced to produce only cereals, losing a large part of its urban vitality. And the moral suffering generated by these conditions ripened into the first expressions of an original historical and literary culture that boasts at least two symbolic figures: Gramsci (founder with Togliatti of the Italian Communist Party) and Grazia Deledda (Nobel prize for literature in1926).
A culture that voiced the vanquished, that listened to them, aware of the difficult and controversial national identity, imposed on the island with the Sabaud-Piedmont reign in a climate of tension and raids by bandits never crushed, which, during the twenty year long Fascist period, gave origin to an anarchical autonomism, soon commuted by the intellectual Emilio Lussu into a partisan support to the Republican cause.
The saga of the Sardinian gastronomic culture is however much more "simple". The regional culinary art in fact derives from the pastoral tradition, which triumphs on the table with the protected denomination of origin cheeses: Fiore sardo, prepared with raw sheep milk, curdled with lambs renriet, still destined only to the Italian market, Pecorino romano, which is instead exported in large quantities to the United States and Pecorino sardo, of relatively recent production. To then ratify the originality of a land cuisine with respect to that of the sea a taste of cold meats and salami, meat (for example the Agnello di Sardegna Igp (Sardinia Lamb)), vegetables (such as the spiny artichoke), carasau bread and wines is enough. Amongst the latter, it is compulsory to savour Vermentino di Gallura (the only regional Docg wine) and the full-bodied red Cannonau di Sardegna, the first of the 19 local Doc wines. To satisfy the curiosity of the palate, bottarga should also be tasted that, for the sake of quizzes, is not an un polite way of apostrophising an overweight woman in Sardinian, but rather an optimal dressing made from mullet or tuna eggs dried and preserved in salt, also to be savoured as a dish in itself at Cabras and on the island of Sant'Antioco.