Sant’Antioco, with its 109 km2 is the biggest Sardinian island. It is connected to the mainland by an artificial isthmus which substituted the ancient bridge, probably of Punic origin, later improved by the Romans, and still present on the right hand side of the road.
On the island of Sant’Antioco, you will find the town of the same name, the most populated town, and the first one to welcome those arriving on the island, and that of Calasetta which is in the north west of the island.
You can reach Sant’Antioco in 15 minutes by car from the Sirimagus holiday farm, by taking a road that cuts through the sea water ponds, where you can admire the scenery of Santa Caterina where migratory birds like flamingos, build their nests. On the opposite side the town of Sant’Antioco appears reflected in the sea in front of it.
The town of Sant’Antioco rises up on the ruins of the ancient Phoenician Punic city and the Roman Sulky – Sulci. When you arrive in the town we suggest taking a walk along the small port where you will find the small coloured fishing boats which are still being used. It’s a good idea to go here on a Sunday morning, when the freshly caught fish is sold. You can set off from the port for a boat trip to discover the island from the sea and take part in the fishing tourism so doing you can have an alternative experience in the territory.
There are numerous bars and restaurants where you can stop and get a a quick snack, an aperitif or an excellent meal. Most of these places can be found in the area of the port or in the main streets, but there are also very good restaurants, pizzeria and pubs to be found not far from the centre.
The town is full of history and traditions, as can be seen by the various cultural sites below:
- The town archaeological museum “Ferruccio Barreca” which contains important relics from the prenuraghic, nuraghic, Phoenician – Punic and Roman periods.
- The ethnographic museum “Su Magasinu de su Binu” ( wine warehouse) which houses tools used in the rural activities of the island.
- The byssus museum which is a continual exhibition about the working of byssus, the tools used and the products.
- MuMa – the museum of the sea and masters of axes which offers an exhibition on the tools used in fishing and in seafaring activities.
- The area of Sant’Antioco hosts some of the beaches which are considered to be among the most beautiful in Sardinia, such as Maladroxia, Coequaddus, Tore Canai and Cala Sapone.
Thanks to its coasts which alternate between steep cliffs and small coves most of which are protected from the Mistral wind. Sant’Antioco is the perfect place to spend a day relaxing on the beach or to do water sports like diving, snorkeling or going for a boat trip.
There are several beaches which are accessible to disabled people:
- The “Isola del Cuore” at the Maladroxia beach in Sant’Antioco;
- “Ca Du Zenaive” at the Calasetta saltworks.
Calasetta has beautiful beaches and a charming old town centre which stretches from the hill down to the port, from where the ferries leave for Carloforte, the only inhabited town on the nearby island of San Pietro. The tower, built by the Savoys in 1760, stands over the town and the “Sottotorre” beach. A short distance from here you can find the sandy shores of the “Grande” beach and the saltworks. To the west the coastline rises up offering a spectacular landscape plummeting down to the sea. The evocative view at “Mangiabarche” is characterised by the lighthouse built on a small rock in the middle of the sea, which is especially appreciated by photographers due to the spellbinding images particularly during winds northwest.
Besides the Tower other sites that can be visited are:
- The Domus de Janas of Tupei, where fragments of earthenware were found, along with bronze and clay objects;
- The contemporary art museum (MACC), which hosts a collection of paintings from the European movement period 1960s and 1970s.
Every year the island of Sant’Antioco becomes the stage for several festivals and events which are popular with tourists such as:
- The festival for the patron saint of Antioco the martyr (the patron saint of Sardinia) in spring and in August.
- Concerts with national and international artists in the Phoenician Arena of Sant’Antioco during the summer.
- Food and Wine events in Sant’Antioco, like “Calici sotto le stelle” and the “Isola in Fermento”.
- The Literature Festival in Calasetta in August.
- The Festival of “Pilau” in Calasetta in the spring.