Porto Rotondo Travel Guide

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As one flies into Olbia Airport in Sardinia , Italy one can’t help but to be overwhelmed by the pristine sky-blue water below that is surrounded by the immaculate mountains in the backdrop. While many countries can boast similar caliber water, it is seldom that places can match Porto Rotondo’s picture-perfect views from any of the various elevated rocky cliffs on the island. Especially distinguished for its rocky terrain, Sardinia is situated below the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea and one hundred and twenty five miles to the southwest off of Italy ’s coast. Porto Rotondo is located thirty minutes away from Olbia and is a small vacation village characterized by small roads, friendly people, exquisite food, and Italian tufo rocks which comprise the majority of the walls in the town. With Sardinia ’s cool breeze on hand, life itself feels facilitated.

The fantastic but unfortunately excessively populated beaches are colorful in themselves. If one were to have the chance to fly over the most popular beaches, a rainbow-like image would become visible.

This is because the various sets of chairs and umbrellas are vibrant and are neatly separated by thick white nylon string. The typical Sardinian man usually has a deep bronze tan, dark hair and a short stature. In Sardinia , it is said that a true Sardinian’s home is the mysterious but more importantly gracious sea. Before the big tourist boom in Sardinia that occurred in the 1960’s, places in Sardinia like Porto Rotondo were occupied predominantly by farmers and fishermen. For this reason, the men on the beaches of Porto Rotondo who ordinarily attend the various different assortments of colored chairs and umbrellas are the archetypical figures for the island. Moreover, these same men are a great resource since they have a plethora of toys, boogey-boards, rafts, and balls available for beachgoers to rent.

Furthermore, besides the typical beach like activities offered at almost every beach-like location, the Costa Smeralda (emerald coast) is unique in part due to the countless number of beach side ‘ristoranti’ present. Here one can find not only traditional Italian cuisine like ‘spaghetti alla carbonara’ (egg and cream sauce) or ‘penne ai frutti di mare’ (seafood) but also Sardinian dishes such as ‘porcetto sardo arrostito’, roasted pig marinated in local spices and sauces. Also, each ‘ristorante’ has at least one bar which is always vivacious. Some of the most popular drinks on the Costa Smeralda include the pomodoro condito (bloody mary), the mojito, or the traditional Martini, as well as a wide variety of other delicious and refreshing drinks that always come in handy during a day under the scorching sun. In addition, if one is interested in joining the ubiquitous soccer games, all one really has to do is ask and the friendly Italians will surely let you join. If soccer isn’t one’s sport of choice, then ample tennis courts, fields, and gyms are present throughout the town as an alternative.

The isolated beaches that one can reach via car, scooter, or boat are one of the most special and memorable attributes about Sardinia . At the same time, this type of beach isn’t very accessible and without knowing the area one is unlikely to encounter them. Especially since most of these beaches are disguised by boulders. Nonetheless, these beaches are sincerely worth the struggle. These beaches are attractive and secluded but not as natural and unique as the beaches one would find out in the sea. Nevertheless, if one is able to surpass the obstacles in the process of the getting to the beach, by all means a sentiment of elation and paradise would likely arise. The gentle, light marine blue water that crashes silently on the beach is relaxing while one naps under the bright Italian sun. However, even more exhilarating is the experience of going out to one of the many isolated islands, which typically contain several beaches separated only by rocks or boulders. Hence, groups or families can create a truly personal atmosphere on these islands, despite the presence of strangers on the same island. Consequently, on the beach one can explore the vast and mysterious cave-like rock structures that most islands contain. Parents need not to worry, for most islands are benign and as natural as can be. Moreover, there are no large animals or tall trees present; there is nothing but small shrubs and plants as well as shells and rocks on the islands.  

After a tiring day at the beach, Italians rendezvous in the piazza for an apperitivo (cocktails) before dinner. While people of the ages 16 and older go out and drink ‘apperitivi’, the younger populations snacks on their own form of ‘apperitivi’; it’s called ‘merenda’ and chocolate, brioches, biscotti(Italian cookies), and gelati(ice cream) are eaten by the children. The piazza is home to several Italian fashion boutiques, terrific bars, and superb dining. The peak concentration time in the piazza is around 5:30 when everyone is out enjoying their ‘apperitivi’ with friends and family as the sunset dimly illuminates them in the background. A national practice, during a visit to a bar during the ‘apperitivo’ period anyone is offered abundant antipasti (appetizers) such as prosciutto e melone ( Parma ham and cantaloupe), salamini (small pieces of salami), and bruschetta free of charge from the ‘baristi’. All the same, Italian custom dictates that one should buy a drink if one intends to eat the food. One will also notice a major difference between Italian bars and American ones. For example, there is a greater degree of trust between the customer and the merchant in Italy . Someone orders what they want to eat and drink and later is meant to report to a cash register and tell another ‘barista’ what one consumed. It is very easily possible to lie and say one got less food and drinks then what one originally ordered. However, here again, Italian custom comes into play and the customer is expected to be truthful, as every inhabitant of Italy is accustomed to.  

The area of Porto Rotondo is certainly more tranquil and family oriented then its neighboring village Porto Cervo, which is the location of the majority of the nightclubs in the Costa Smeralda. At any given club or discothèque in Porto Cervo, one is likely to spot the omnipresent famous Italian soccer players, actors, and musicians vacationing in the trendy Costa Smeralda. For example, Italy ’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has an extravagant house on one of the cliffs of Porto Rotondo overlooking the Mediterranean Sea . Although Berlusconi’s entourage isn’t as substantial as President Bush’s, regardless one will notice there are always at least five ‘carabinieri’(police) cars in front of his house as helicopters sporadically hover above his estate too. The expensive yachts and helicopters further demonstrate the affluence of the other Porto Rotondo summer residents, who are among the most affluent in Italy . At the same time though, there is a wide range of affordable housing available in la Costa Smeralda. Not only are there many luxurious resorts, but there are also smaller and cheaper hotels that are run by locals too. Moreover, there are large villages where one can rent small cottages for a moderate rate. On the other hand, Porto Cervo is a charming town which comes alive at night. Porto Rotondo vacationers typically begin to go to the clubs after dinner around ten. They embark on the twenty minute drive from Porto Rotondo on a very scenic car ride along the mountains overlooking the sea and the effervescent stars on any given day of the week. Meanwhile, in Porto Cervo around ten o’clock the music of the several clubs begins to pump and more and more people begin to emerge from the indoors. Probably what Sardinia is known best for, the nightlife is abundant and caters to just about everybody. Furthermore, the nightlife of the Costa Smeralda offers young adults the opportunity to go out and have a great time in the same way a forty year old can.

As I said earlier, with Sardinia ’s cool breeze on hand, life itself feels facilitated. For this reason, I encourage people to take the chance to visit and discover for themselves the true Italian charm existent in Porto Rotondo. However, Porto Rotondo’s season is very short and if one isn’t able to attend the three month summer season then one is certain to find absolute desolation on the island. Also, even in the summer the water is extremely cold and thus it is if anything quite painful to go swimming. In addition, the town and its surrounding area have little cultural attractions but nonetheless Porto Rotondo is a one-of-a-kind town where one can enjoy the indulgent Italian lifestyle in an unparalleled manner.

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: Matthew Chevallard

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October 14, 2005 change by atptour5

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