The Land of Shepherds: Barbagia, Sardinia

The Land of Shepherds: Barbagia, Sardinia

climbing twisting roads on an Italian scooter, stopping at
roadside trattorias for lunches of antipasti, drinking strong
espresso in sleepy villages and dining on handmade
at secluded
. It seems like the perfect way to explore Barbagia,
a wild, mountainous region of central Sardinia
and one of the least populated areas in Europe.

Famous for its postcard-perfect beaches and azure waters,
Sardinia has even more to offer when you turn inland. With its
winsome villages where the Sardinian language and traditions are
still very much alive, Barbagia is the island’s heart and
Barbagians – like many mountain-dwelling peoples – are famed for
their pride and self-reliance.

Barbagia is a land of shepherds. We sample their typical fare in
the soothing shade of oaks and junipers near Orgosolo, a tiny
village famed for the socio-political murals that dot its colourful
walls. Our hosts are making the rounds with jugs of chilled red
wine and trays laden with simple snacks: bread, sausage, thick
slices of pancetta and chunks of strong sheep cheese. It goes well
with the deeply coloured, full-bodied cannonau wine – the daily
drink of the Barbagians, made from the local Grenache grape. The
main course is one of Sardinia’s most renowned dishes: su
porcheddu, a spit-roasted sucking pig, slowly cooked over hot
coals. Roasted meat such as this is reserved for special occasions,
pecora bollita (boiled mutton stew) being a more common Sunday

At Turismo Rurale Filieri, a serene farm surrounded by rows of
grape vines, we watch the filling of ravioli with sheep ricotta,
formaggio fresco and wild herbs before dining on the pasta under
the olive trees in the garden. Even roadside bars don’t disappoint:
they offer a selection of great snacks such as local cured meats,
fresh sheep cheese, grilled vegetables and a moreish dish of
wafer-thin pane carasau (toasted bread) baked with sharp pecorino
sardo. Make sure to leave room for dessert; Sardinian cakes and
sweets are the perfect finale to any meal.

@dinedashcom |

Discover More
Somewhere Between Sardinia and Corsica with Sailing Collective