I left my homeland of Sardinia only just over a year ago, and I came back to find it more glamorous than ever. Here are a few words and pictures about the markets in San Pantaleo, a tiny town near the main tourist locations of Olbia and Porto Cervo that has been blooming more and more in recent years.
About 18 kilometres (about 20 minutes’ drive) from Olbia, San Pantaleo is a village with just over 1,000 inhabitants as of 2010. It’s nested in between granite rocks, hills and fields and it was born in 1894, built around a little church that still stands.
Since the 1970s, San Pantaleo has started becoming a go-to place bohemian artists and painters, thanks to its out-of-time feel away from the bustling nearby Costa Smeralda. The area is also the home of local artisans who make typical Sardinian ceramics and clay vases, or wrought iron furniture.
Every Thursday from 9 am to 1 pm the village now hosts the Artists’ Market, selling everything from local cheese and charcuterie to Provence style homewares and frames, from typical Sardinian carpets, towels and bedsheets to glamorous summer dresses. Stalls aren’t the only perk of the market: boutique shops and tiny little cafés have also made this location a must-visit for tourists and Sardinians alike.
As a child, I was puzzlingly terrorised by the mountains that surrounded the village, scared they would somehow break and fall on me. Because of this, I had always avoided going back unless I really had to. I am glad my irrational fear of the hills and mountains around it has finally gone and that I was able to enjoy the charm of this village that looks peaceful and yet lively, lost in time and creative.
I recommend renting a car and enjoying the scenic drive all the way up from the villages of Portisco, where you can gaze upon the stunning Costa Smeralda beaches.
Pictures: Carolina Are