Sardinia is an island region of Italy that lies on the west coast of the country in the Mediterranean Sea. Evidence suggests that there have been inhabitants on Sardinia since the Neolithic times, with traces of a Bronze-Age community still found on the island in the form of large burial sites and massive stone columns.
After prospering for many years as a Mediterranean trading destination, between the 8th and 9th centuries B.C Sardinia was visited by people from other countries and cultures who began to settle on the island and influence its status. First came the Phonecians, who were attracted to the farming opportunities on the island and quickly developed several colonies.
In the 6th century B.C, Carthaginians arrived in Sardinia and began an invasion that left them with all the power. After many years of struggle between the inhabitants of the island, the Romans took control of Sardinia in 238 B.C and ruled for the next seven centuries.
The next significant historical event in Sardinia occurred at the start of the 11th century when troops from Pisa and Genoa ended the rule of Arab colonies on the island and trading massively opened up between the area and other parts of the Mediterranean. After falling under Catalonian rule in the 1400s, Sardinia eventually joined the unification of Italy in the late 1800s, although Catalan is still spoken in various places around the island.
Sardinia suffered from being exploited for its natural resources after it became a part of Italy, but the region was granted autonomy over infrastructure in 1948 which helped the island recover and become the prosperous vacation destination it still is today.
Sicily is one of the best-known regions in Italy, characterised by the fact that it floats just off the ‘toe’ of the boot-shaped country. The island is the largest Italian region and has a long history that involves many different rulers and inhabitants that have all left their mark on the area.
The region was first significantly colonised by ancient Greek settlers in the 8th century B.C, building houses and temples that still partially remain around the island. In 212 B.C Roman troops invaded Sicily and took control of most of the region, ruling for six hundred years until the island was invaded again by Byzantine and then Arabic troupes.
Both of these cultures left lasting influences on the island’s inhabitants, with many examples of Arab and Byzantine art and architecture still found around Sicily today.
In 1071, Sicily experienced an era of political and economic prosperity after becoming an independent kingdom that was ruled by the Normans. This control lasted until the 17th century when the region was passed between several different countries and finally became a Spanish island right at the start of the 18th century.
After merging with Naples as a joint kingdom during Bourbon rule, Sicily joined the unification of Italy in the late 1800s. It was declared an autonomous region of the country in 1946, but still retains more Mediterranean and Greek influences than any other Italian location.
Both Sicily and Sardinia have a rich and fascinating history, with totally different backgrounds that make it hard to choose between the two. If you’re looking for classic historical sites and lots of Greek history then Sicily is the best option, whereas Sardina has much older examples of ancient monuments and has more Roman history than the other island.