Lap Up the Local Colour of Festivals on Sardinia

Nuoro sheep
Sheep near Nuoro – Photo

In Sardinia, holidays are celebrated with festivals year-round. Here are just a few you may like to include in an itinerary of the island.

If you’re planning a trip to Italy and can’t decide between a peaceful break soaking up the sun, hiking through dense natural forests brimming with wildlife, touring medieval castles, or perhaps exploring ancient stone structures dating back to the Stone and Bronze Ages, we have the answer: head to Sardinia. Holidays to this autonomous region of Italy can offer you all that in one place – and plenty more besides.

The second largest island in the Mediterranean is brimming with excitement all year round, so whether your idea of bliss is wandering through tiny fishing villages or gorging on scrumptious local cuisine and wines, you’ll find joy here.

No matter what time of the year you visit, however, there’s sure to be one of the island’s many festivals taking place. Locals don’t depend on a ‘peak’ or ‘low’ season, and there is always some kind of festival to participate in. Below, we list a few of the region’s biggest and most colourful festivals. Whether you’re on summer holiday or a winter break, you’re guaranteed a memorable time.


In Sardinia, holidays in February are doubly exciting as it is the month of two of the region’s largest and most exciting festivals: Bosa Carnival and Sa Sartiglia. In many Catholic cultures, Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, is also the day of a carnival. It’s a last excuse to party before buckling down and observing religious abstention. Bosa holds a yearly Is Attittadorasa, during which men dress as widows and parade throughout the streets chanting dirges. Although the literal description may sound a little morbid, it is actually one of the funniest and most amusing traditions of the region, and people from the world over attend to watch and participate. February is also the month of Sa Sartiglia, which takes place in the town of Oristano. During this three-day festival, in addition to religious celebrations and merrymaking, men on horseback compete in jousts and other medieval-themed contests for local fame and prizes.


April 28th is officially Sa Die de Sa Sardigna, or Sardinia Day, in Cagliari, as well as the region-wide feast of the Sardinian people. Most festivals in the region celebrate religious or seasonal themes, however this one celebrates the day the locals rose up against their Piedmont rulers, in 1794. One of the biggest days in Sardinia, holidays during this festival season are filled with celebration and pageantry, allowing visitors a truly authentic experience.


August is another great month for visiting Sardinia. Holidays during this month mean the chance to participate in multiple festivals. These include Festa della Madonna degli Angeli in Castelsardo, on the first Sunday of the month, during which musicians and dancers parade through the streets and perform, and the Sagra del Redentore (Feast of Christ the Redeemer) in Nuoro at the end of the month, which features a torch-lit procession to the top of Monte Ortobene, parades and live music. Other festivals in August include the Archers’ Tournament, and Alghero’s Fireworks and Fried Fish Festival.


Italy is a land of master artists and craftsmen, and November is the perfect month for those who want to explore this aspect further. An excellent craft festival takes place in the mountain town of Desulo, straight after the Day of the Dead celebrations. During the fair, visitors can enjoy traditional regional music, view local painting and craft exhibitionsFind Article, and enjoy a showcase of agricultural products created by locals.

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The author: Carolyn Spinks is COO of ABTOI – The Association of British Travel Organisers to Italy.

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