National Geographic : 1923 Jan
THE ISLAND OF SARDINIA AND ITS PEOPLE will rise where now there are only a few miserable huts, inhabited by poor shep herds who guide their flocks in search of scanty food. The Flumendosa, though it has a shorter course than the Tirso, is certainly more impressive, both for the volume of the water it carries and the picturesqueness of its banks. It flows between barren hills, but during the summer its banks are covered with oleander shrubs. The landscape assumes a lovely appearance, and the pink flowers of the oleander min gle with the brown hillsides, while the river, which even in the hottest months retains a considerable volume of water, winds here and there, or spreads wide its flood, according to the conformation of its bed. The landscape in this part of the island is typically Sardinian. Villages are situ ated far apart. Occasionally a flock of white sheep studs the side of a hill, where a small stone inclosure around a cone shaped, thatch-roofed hut indicates the existence of a fold. The highroad, in splendid condition for motoring, in spite of innumerable curves and hairpin turns, runs along the side of overhanging hills, barren and white. Another stream which enters the sea on the western coast is the Temo, on whose banks the town of Bosa is built. It looks more like a river than any other water course in Sardinia. Boats with wide spread sails can ascend the current for almost two miles, and near Bosa the river flows amid the most beautiful orchards and gardens in Sardinia; but its course is so short and the roadstead into which it empties so open that the Temo has no commercial importance. The same firm which has planned and carried out the construction of the Tirso dam has been commissioned to build simi lar reservoirs for the Coghinas, Flumen dosa, and Temo rivers. SEA POOLS A FEATURE OF THE SOUTHERN PROVINCE Along the Sardinian coast, chiefly in the southern province, are considerable sheets of water, popularly known as stagnt di mare (sea pools). Cagliari is surrounded by such pools, which, being in direct communication with the sea and retaining in their water a considerable amount of salt, are not dangerous to health, as the larvae of mosquitoes can not live in them. The lake of Santa Gilla near Cagliari forms a striking feature of the landscape and is the haunt of innumerable wild ducks and other waterfowl. Especially is it a favorite spot for the flamingoes that emigrate from Africa to spend the hottest months of the year in the neigh borhood of Cagliari. In August, a little after sunset, those strange birds may be seen flying high above the city, in their daily journey from the west pool to the east. Seen from be low, they look like so many crosses, with their outstretched necks, trailing legs, and short wings. TIE MAIN ISLAND SURROUNI)E BY ISLETS The stern Sardinian coast, with its spurs and cliffs, presents an abrupt east ern wall with few indentations. On the western side, the shore has a gentle slope as far as the Gulf of Alghero and Porto Conte, the latter, however, being sur rounded by high cliffs which form Cape Caccia, site of the famous Neptune Grotto. This is well worth visiting, but is diffi cult to enter, as its mouth is situated at sea-level and the slightest breeze piles waves against the entrance. The main island is surrounded by small isles, of which Sant' Antioco is the larg est. A narrow tongue of land, with the aid of a short bridge built by the Romans, connects it with the mainland. Next comes the island of San Pietro, on which is Carloforte, center for the most impor tant tunny fisheries in Sardinia. Off the northeast corner there is a group of small islands, the most important being La Maddalena and Caprera. The latter is justly called the Sacred Island. Here lived and died the great Italian patriot Garibaldi, hero of two hemispheres. Many other unimportant islets are scat tered around the Sardinian coast. Sardinia is rich in prehistoric remains. No part of the island is entirely devoid of those quaint old monuments, which have defied time and weather and are still standing as evidences of an old civilization and a demonstration that the first Sar dinians could not have been mere savages.