RESD’s escape in the Sinis Protected Area

The RESD team in Tharros

As the plane takes off, there is only one word in my mind to express what we have witnessed in those days; paradise!

The marine protected Area of Sinis peninsula and Isola di Mal di Ventre is one of the most beautiful place you can find on earth. Located in the gulf of Oristano, the protected area (300 square kilometres wide), is one of the biggest in Italy and home to many sites of interest.

The first we visited was the Isola di Mal di Ventre (in english stomach pain), originally Isola Malu Entu ( bad wind). After a short trip by boat from the white sand beach of Putzu Idu, we landed on the rocky coastline. The island is completely desert and largely occupied by two different species of gulls: the real gull and the Audouin’s gull, as well as by cormorants. The island is geologically formed by granite. However, the sand of the inner east beaches is composed by quartz. From one of this is possible to admire the coast of Is Arutas that shares the same type of sand, since the small pieces of quartz, similar to rice grains, roll through the sea giving to the beach this unique morphology.

Our next stop, after some hours relaxing on the peaceful coast, was the Sinis Rescue Center (CReS) for marine turtles. Here the fantastic team showed us the rescued sea turtles and explained us their job of critical importance. The sea turtles are one of the oldest reptile on the earth, and are facing the threat of extinction. The main causes are fishery and sea litter, as very often they get trapped in fisherman nets dying for asphyxia or they eat plastic bags mistaken for jellyfishes, one of their typical nutriment. The center saves around fifty sea turtles a year; after a period of rehabilitation, that varies depending on the injury, the turtles are again set free into the sea.

After this inspiring stop we moved to Is Arutas. The stunning landscape made of quartz sand and crystal clear water is the perfect frame for the sunset. Without thoughts crossing my mind, I believed that we just found the lost paradise.

Quartz sand of Is Arutas

The following and sadly last morning we all visited the archeologic site of the city of Tharros. The city finds its origins in the Nuragic age (8th century BC) , and all the major civilisations stopped here: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs. Because of its strategic position, the city is located on the extreme part of the Sinis peninsula, it can control both the bay of Oristano and the open sea. The open air museum todays hosts mostly findings from the Roman age, such as the thermae, some houses and a temple. The biggest part of the artefacts are kept in the National Museum of Cagliari, the British Museum and the Archeologic City Museum of Cabras.

Giant of Mont’e Prama

The latter has been our last stop. Here we could admire the most important archeological discovery of the last hundred years in the Mediterranean area: the Giants of Mont’e Prama. Fragmented into numerous pieces, they were found by accident in 1974. As one of the most important legacy of the Nuragic civilisation, the statues represent 38 warriors, archers and boxers, belonging to the nuragic aristocracy; they are 2 or 2.5 meters high, beautifully craved in the local sandstone. The statues are part of a huge necropolis, as under the statues individual graves have been found during the following excavation

Full of nice memories, delicious food and some sunburns, we left Sardinia with the hope to come back to taste again the wonders this marvellous island has to offer.

RESD Students Study Tour to Sardinia

As you might know this Website is promoted by the two years M. Sc. Resource Economics and Sustainable Development, University of Bologna, and from time to time we report about activities of our course (like Pushkar did with Euroenviro last week).

From 17th to 19th of May twenty RESD Students went to an amazing study tour to Sardine, the second largest mediterranean island to learn more about some very interesting research that they do there.

On Sunday 17th at 1 pm we arrived at the Airport Alghero in the very north of Sardine. From there we got in an one and a half hour bus ride to our destination for the next 3 days: The Penisola of Sinis at the wild westcoast. In the afternoon we visited the ancient city of Tharros with its impressive ruins and finished the first traveling day with a refreshing bath in the cold mediterranean sea.

We started day two visiting the small town Cabras, close to our accomodation side which was a traditional sardinian Agriturismo. After visiting the local city museum and the Giants of Monte Prama, we had a nice lunch-break at the beach, but what followed was definitely one of the most amazing experiences during the whole trip: The Institute for coastal marine environment with its rescue centre for marine sea turtles. The local researchers explained in a fascinating way what the problems with the turtles and also the urchin fishing regulation there were. Seeing this huge marine reptiles so close is unbelievable, some of them are longer than 1 meter and weight up to 45 kg!

Still impressed about the animals we left the Research Center and moved to one of the most unique and beautiful beaches on the Sardinias west coast, the quartz sand beaches of Artuas. The fact that the beach is composed completely out of tiny round quartz crystal makes this place so special.

To finish such an amazing day we had a traditional sardinian dinner at the agriturismo with local special food including also the famous Porcedù, a delicious roasted pig meal.

The last day of our studying tour took us to the Island of Mal di Ventre, a tiny Island offshore the coastline. We got there with a rubber raft and explored the wild Island on our own. The wildlife there was very impressive with rare seabirds and land tortoises.

Unfortunately we had our flight home already in the afternoon of that day.

There will be online a photo-gallery soon, so stay tuned!