Islands of the Western Mediterranean travel blog

Nora archaeological site

A Roman road

Archaeology underway

The blue Mediterranean

Flamingoes feeding


Today we headed to Nora an archaeological site about 40 k south west of Cagliari. The site was discovered only in 1951. It is situated on a peninsula with three different bays so would have been ideal for shipping and shelter and it was here that the Phoenicians and then the Romans established settlements. Over time with the encroaching sea destroying buildings and sand blowing the site was completely covered. Today a number of archaeological teams from various Italian universities were working uncovering areas and collecting the dirt and rubble for careful sorting.

Our guide, Tonino, was excellent in pointing out the variations in buildings, the Phoenicians walls used whatever stones were at hand so a technique like dry stone walls while the Romans cut the stone into blocks and of course in some areas the Romans "renovated" the Phoenician buildings so there is a mix of styles.

On our bus journey to Nora we passed more salt pans - a larger scale commercial development than the one at Trapani. Much of the salt is exported and earlier this year for the first time a large shipment was sent to New York when the conditions were freezing. In the lagoon of the salt pans is a colony of pink flamingoes. The flamingoes had always stopped here to feed on their migrations but since 1994 there has been a permanent colony. Our guide put this down to a plentiful food supply and safety as they are a protected species but I have to wonder if there could be some element of climate change.

Sardinia has strong protection laws for many areas of the environment and the only trees which may be cut down are the Australian eucalypts. These were introduced as fast growing trees used as windbreaks around farmlands. Cork trees give a commercial crop and are used to produce corks, flooring and even furniture.

Sardinia produces 67% of its power from renewable sources and aims to increase that percentage. A major industry is tourism and indeed today we saw some beautiful beaches most seemingly free of the regimented umbrellas and beach chairs.

We lunched at the town of Pula near Nora and Dallas, one of the Aussie team, ordered a tomato salad and received a large bowl of tomatoes. Lesson learned. Fortunately Helen's chicken salad was mainly chicken so there was some sharing done.

Our driver took us around the South west coastal area to show off the beaches and then in the journey back our guide gave us a lecture on the history of Sardinia from the earliest people, then the Phoenicians, then the Romans, the Cathagininains, five centuries of rule by Spain and finally in 1860 the unification of Italy bringing Sardinia into the Italian State. Each occupation has left its mark and siesta features here so dinner tonight is at 8 as that is when the hotel,restaurant opens.



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