Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Go South for Local Life and North for Bling; Sardinia Is Famous for Its Emerald Seas and Beaches, and Has Homes from PS120k, Writes Cathy Hawker

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Go South for Local Life and North for Bling; Sardinia Is Famous for Its Emerald Seas and Beaches, and Has Homes from PS120k, Writes Cathy Hawker

Article excerpt

Byline: writes Cathy Hawker

SARDINIA is the second largest Mediterranean island, behind that other Italian beauty Sicily, measuring 130 by 70 miles, and like Sicily it protects its identity ferociously. Residents are Sardinians first and Italians second, taking enormous pride in their food, dialect and traditions.

Such a large island, seven times the size of Majorca, has a diverse geography. The 1,200-mile coastline has exceptional beaches and emerald waters, while the interior is rugged and mountainous, with granite cliffs that glow pink at sunset. This is excellent farmland: 1.6 million people share the island with three million sheep.

"Until two years ago the Sardinian property market had come to a complete stop," says Ludovico Pignatti Morano, managing partner at Sotheby's International Realty Italy. "The recession coupled with a new tax imposed by the regional government on visiting yachts meant the yachts just went to cheaper places in the Med. When the authorities got rid of that tax, the yachts returned."

Prices are still 25 per cent below pre-recession levels but the market remains quiet.

BRITS ARE COMING The north coast has the glamour, but Rebecca Lewis Lalatta of Casa and Country says: "We're seeing a growing number of British tourists and buyers looking around Santa Margherita di Pula and Chia in the south. In this area there are lovely gated enclosures set in pine forests leading down to white sand beaches."

THE NATURAL SOUTH "The north coast likes to party, the south coast is local life," says Michele Colaninno of Is Molas, a 27-hole golf resort where there are plans for 250 villas, two boutique hotels and a new Gary Player course. The first 15 homes are nearing completion, from PS1,849,000 through Sotheby's.

Prices this steep are less usual in the south, home to Sardinia's capital, Cagliari. The city has superb food markets, and a strong sailing scene helped by three marinas. Its international airport, with direct flights from London, is linked to the city by a new overground metro, so it's ideal for a car-free weekend break. Nearby are good beaches and championship golf courses. …

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