Festivals are a way of life in Sardinia

Christian and pagan traditions mix in Sardinia's festivals

Sardinia’s tradition of village festivals dates to pre-Christian times. Every village has its own distinctive identity, pageants, and costumes, with festivals held year-round.

Photo by Bruno Morandi / eStock Photo

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Pagan Festivals of Sardinia

Traditional Culture in the Heart of Sardinia
with Stefano Baldi
Repertory Trip: Next Offered February 11-19, 2015

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $4595  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Olbia, Italy
Depart: Olbia, Italy
Lodging: 8 nights in hotels
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Walking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Moderate hiking, cultural touring
2


A wonderful, intense experience. Stefano’s love for Sardinia, its food, history, and people made the trip.Gordon C.—Menlo Park, CA

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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Repertory Trip

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered every two to five years.  It will be several years before this journey is offered again. Now is the time to go!

Take a step back in time for a wild cultural experience! Join veteran WT Trip Leader Stefano Baldi for a fascinating discovery of the captivating pagan festivals of Sardinia, wild spectacles that hold true to their Sardo roots, with 2,000-year-old rituals, allegorical reenactments, colorful parades, masked dancers, lively music, dancing in the streets, and spirited horse races. This is a chance to experience the real Sardinia—the deep “dark heart” of the interior, where few tourists venture, and where the locals proudly keep the oldest traditions. In the company of Stefano, whose irrepressible, exuberant nature is well known and loved by all who travel with him, we can’t help but get caught up in the action! Along with the festivals, we visit artisans in their workshops, learn the culinary secrets of making good pasta, see how the special bread—pane carasau—is made, and enjoy a wine tasting as we visit one of the most renowned wineries of the island.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Olbia / Sortilla de Tumbarinos

Our introduction to the heart of Sardinia begins with a visit to Romanzesu, an ancient Nuraghic village set amid centuries-old cork trees. After a hike in the lake and forest environs of Gavoi, we attend the Sortilla de Tumbarinos, a lively local event where people attired in black clothes or robes, some with blackened faces or simple masks, roam around the town playing homemade drums accompanied by accordion and flute music.

Days 3-4
Countryside Hikes

Our hikes in the Sardinian countryside bring us to the  beautiful little town of Galtelli, with its well preserved historic center, and to the Grotta di Ispinigoli, a deep cave linked to legends of human sacrifices in Nuraghic times. We also explore the Mamoiada area, with its beautiful landscape and “forgotten” archaeological sites, and learn about Sardinia's ancient past as we visit a Bronze Age tomb and the intriguing Museum of Mediterranean Masks, which displays the traditional masks used in Sardinian festivals.

Days 5-9
Pagan Festivals

We take the next few days to revel in the fun and excitement of Sardinia’s most fascinating pagan festivals, a chance to share a part of its fascinating ancestral history. At the Mamuthones carnival, we witness solemn parades of mysterious masqueraders in costumes of black sheepskins, heavy brass cowbells, and somber black wooden masks. We also take part in the Carrela è Nanti, where horses are ridden wildly through the narrow streets of Santu Lussurgiu in daring acts of bravery and skill, and we are treated to the genuine hospitality extended to istranzos (foreigners); the Sartiglia, a reenactment of a medieval tournament on horseback, complete with reverberant drums and cheering crowds; and the carnival in Ovodda, culminating with a huge bonfire in the main square. Between festivals, we’ll enjoy short hikes along with the delights of Sardinia's traditional cuisine. Depart from Olbia on Day 9.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated a 2, easy to moderate, according to our trip grading system. Our hikes range from two to three hours in length and are mostly on easy terrain, with the occasional rocky trail. Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered only every two to five years. This journey will not be offered again for several years. Now is the Time to Go!

2015
Feb 11-19, 2015  Stefano Baldi

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$4595 (13-15 members)
$4895 (10-12 members)
$5195 (7-9 members)
Single supplement: $350
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodation
  • Welcome and farewell dinners and other meals as noted in the Full Trip Brochure
  • Land transportation, transfers to and from airport on Day 1 and Day 9, entrance fees to museums and visitors sites, and sightseeing as noted in the Full Trip Brochure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

international airfare, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Stefano Baldi

Stefano Baldi, of Tuscany, has led hiking trips in Europe for us for nearly 15 years. He has spent most of his life living in the beautiful rural countryside of Tuscany, except for a few years in Florence as a student. His love for nature led him to found an agricultural co-op with friends in the 1970s, and a decade later, he started his own farm in the hills north of Florence, where he now lives with his wife and two daughters. "Food is one of my strongest interests. I'm always curious about the cuisine of other places. I think the understanding of a different culture can come through the palate. For this reason, I love cooking and eating and I do both very (too) much." Outside of Tuscany, one of Stefano's favorite places is Sardinia "for its spectacular, wild landscape and deep Mediterranean roots. The genuine traditions kept alive here have a direct link with pagan times and are truly a part of everyday life in Sardinia." When not leading trips for us, Stefano grows organic vegetables, keeps bees, and raises cinta senese, the traditional small boars of the Siena region, now endangered. He spent five years restoring two old houses on his property, one of which is now an "agriturismo" accommodation.

Upcoming Trips:

Ultimate Dolomites, August 31-September 11, 2014
Corsica and Sardinia, September 16-26, 2014
Great Hikes and Chefs of Northern Italy's Gourmet Trail, September 27-October 5, 2014
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia, February 11-19, 2015
Corsica and Sardinia, April 7-17, 2015
Great Hikes and Chefs of Northern Italy's Gourmet Trail, May 14-22, 2015
Corsica and Sardinia, May 26-June 5, 2015
Hiking in the Cortina Dolomites, July 19-26, 2015
Ultimate Dolomites, August 17-28, 2015
Corsica and Sardinia, September 15-25, 2015
Sardinia: Wild and Blue, May 2016

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Client Testimonials:


Stefano was fantastic! His love for the area—history, geography, cuisine, and wines was apparent every step of the way. Sandy H., Indianapolis IN Stefano was extremely flexible and sensitive to our interests and needs. Many extras were built in based on our requests. I would do one his trips again. Cecily H., San Carlos, CA
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano Baldi is a real master working on his "home court," In-depth personal knowledge of the geography, culture, history, cuisine, and wine. An absolutely superb leader. Harvey S., Huntington VT
Corsica and Sardinia
This was our 4th trip with Stefano, a confident, kind humorous man. He enjoys all kinds of hikers. Walter E., Etna, NH
Corsica to Sardina
He’s just a winner—knowledgeable, organized, sensitive to participants needs, charming and fun sense of humor! Angus and Elisabeth R., Norwich, VT
Corsica to Sardina
Stefano Baldi is fantastic. He leads with a good pace. His choice of restaurants and food was superb. Susan and Tony C., Del Mar CA Once again, Stefano ran a trip in exemplary fashion. His love of the area was obvious and he easily generated equal enthusiasm with us. WT should be proud to have such leaders on its staff. Michael W., Stamford, CT
Volcanoes of Southern Italy
Aptly named “El Maestro,” Stefano’s expertise, knowledge, and passion totally infused our experience. Lynne G., New York NY
Corsica & Sardinia
Stefano worked to create experiences for us that penetrated the surfaces of the culture. He infected us with his love of Sardinia, its people, its foods, its landscape. I very much appreciated his love of good food and wine. Carol C., Menlo Park CA
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia
Stefano was a wonderful leader. His contacts with the local Sardinians made the trip very special. He loves this place! His enthusiasm was contagious. Gordon C., Menlo Park CA
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia
It was our third trip with Stefano and we always enjoy his enthusiasm and expertise. Barbara R., San Diego, CA
Great Hikes & Chefs of Northern Italy
Stefano's knowledge of and personal dedication to educating his clients about Corsica and Sardinia (geography, people, culture, food) made the trip a pleasure. Peter C., San Francisco, CA
Corsica and Sardinia
What a pleasure it was to have Stefano as our leader! His love for and passion to show us the best of Corsica and Sardinia was evident throughout the trip. He also cared very much about the well being and enjoyment of each of us and made accommodations based on our requests and needs. Thelma A., Morristown, NJ
Corsica And Sardinia
Stefano was great. Very knowledgeable regarding the area (particularly Sardinia) and you can tell he loves it there. Very professional, flexible, and responsive to differing needs of group members, yet at the same time has a laid back, relaxed demeanor and is very pleasant company. Catherine P., Toronto, ON
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano did a superb job of handling all the trip details effortlessly...or so it seemed to us! Everything ran very smoothly. His knowledge and love of the area made it feel like we were traveling with "old friends" who truly enjoying sharing their experiences with us! Pat S., North Oaks, MN
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano is a professional, sensitive, and thoughtful guide. Also, his sense of humor makes him very pleasant company!
Thelma A., Morristown, NJ
Normandy and Brittany
Stefano is passionate about the area and takes great care in making sure guests have a well rounded experience of both Corsica and Sardinia—from food to culture to hiking! I would not hesitate to sign up for a trip he was leading. Michelle J., Irvine, CA
Corsica and Sardinia
Stefano is outstanding on all fronts and an exceptional trip leader. This was my third trip with him, and he continues to impress me with his knowledge of the area, ability to select great restaurants, and attention to detail and good humor. Rob K., Pound Ridge, NY
Ultimate Dolomites
Stefano's passion for the people and culture of Sardinia made the trip exceptional in many ways. Jim H., San Luis Obispo, CA
Pagan Festivals of Sardinia
Stefano is hilarious! Very understated, philosophical sense of humor, great stories about farming in Italy. Bix W., Pebble Beach, CA
Normandy and Brittany
Stefano was charming and had a great dry sense of humor. He answered all our questions about Italian customs, food, and culture and gave us great insights to all. Lisa S., Sacramento, CA
Hiking in the Cortina Dolomites

Client Comments

A wonderful, intense experience. Stefano’s love for Sardinia, its food, history, and people made the trip. Gordon C., Menlo Park, CA
Only because of Stefano's experience and efforts was such a trip possible. Travelers could never duplicate such a trip for themselves. This is what sets Wilderness Travel apart. Jim H., San Luis Obispo, CA