Local Sardinian Festivals
Tradition is upheld in Sardinia thanks to a myriad of unique and fascinating Festivals. These are generally heartfelt communal occasions with roots which reach back to long before Christianity. Visitors are welcome on these occasions and generally leave overfed and inebriated.
Alghero hosts one of the most famous and sparkling New Year’s Eve celebrations in Italy. This event, opens its doors to visitors at the beginning of December and ends with a magical evening on December 31st. The crowds are usually out in force to witness an array of themed events, stalls and fireworks. Most of the restaurants are booked well in advance and many of the bars stay open well into the early hours.
January to mid February
‘Bogamarì’ Sea Urchin Festival in Alghero – every weekend on Lungomare Barcelona, one can savour sea urchins (already cut open for you), bread and a glass of local wine for a fixed price of €5 and some restaurants have special menus for the occasion.
Shrove Tuesday ‘Carnival’ which is celebrated throughout the island – a 3 day event ending on Shrove Tuesday with music, dancing and fancy dress and typical local food and sweets for the children. End of February ‘Sa Sartiglia’ in Oristano – the most spectacular and choreographed Carnival in Sardinia. An equestrian game with ancient origins in which brave horsemen compete with one another in a tournament to select the figure of Su Componidori, the horseman wearing a mask of a mysterious God will pierce the star.
Second Sunday in March
‘The Artichoke Festival’ in Uri (just 20kms from Alghero) – presentation and tasting of many artichoke based recipes accompanied by cultural and sports events. The festival draws thousands of people, increasing every year.
‘Pasqua’ Easter Passion and Holy Week in Cagliari and in villages throughout the island – raising of the cross parades.
Holy Week ‘Riti della Settimana Santa’ in Alghero – Traditional Catalan religious events.
2nd Sunday after Easter
‘Nougat (Torrone) Festival’ in Tonara.
‘San Giorgio Festival’ St George's Day at Bonnanaro, Bitti and Onifai – celebrated by religious processions and prayers in Sard, horseback processions.
‘Sa Die de Sa Sardigna‘ (Sardinia Day) in Cagliari and other towns – festival of Sardinian people in commemoration of the “Sardinian Vespers”, the popular revolt of 1794.
1st – 4th May
‘Sant’Efisio’ in Cagliari – the effigy of the martyred Sant’Efisio is carried from Cagliari to Pula and is claimed to be the biggest, most colourful religious procession in the world. Some 5,000 people take part, all dressed in traditional costume.
‘San Simplicio’ in Olbia – fireworks, distribution of sweets and wine, games, water competitions.
16 – 19 May
‘Festa in onore della SS. Trinità di Saccargia’ in Codrongianos – the festival is held at the SS. Trinità di Saccargia basilica (XII century), considered the most important example of Romanesque-Pisan art on the island, and involves both lay and religious ceremonies, which are held in honour of the SS. Trinità di Saccargia. The large church stands next to a magnificent bell-tower, which is over 40 metres tall. The church's beautiful chrome facade is exquisitely decorated and boasts an elegant arched portico. The central apse is enriched with by a series of marvellous frescoes from the XIII century. This artwork is particularly precious because it is the only example of medieval wall painting on the island.
Second to last Sunday in May
’Cavalcata Sarda’ in Sassari – procession of 3000 horse riders dressed in traditional costumes. Also horse riding events.
First Sunday in June
‘Horse Fair’ near Santu Lussurgiu – the island's biggest.
Second to last Sunday in June ‘Cherries Festival’ in the small village of Belvi’ in the province of Nuoro – promoting cherries from the Gennargentu area distributing cherries and caschetta sweets typical of this region made of transparent thin pastry filled with a fruity paste.
‘San Giovanni’ (St John the Baptist) celebrated in many villages – with processions, fireworks, horse races, songs and poetry competitions.
‘Sagra della Pecora’ Sheep Festival in Bauladu and Milis – feast of boiled mutton in the village square.
6th – 7th July
‘L’Ardia Horse Race’ in Sedilo between Oristano and Nuoro – in honour of San Constantino, the exciting route around the sanctuary, accompanied by gun shots and the stirring up of great clouds of dust, attracts thousands of spectators.
‘Festa della Madonna degli Angeli’ in Castelsardo – a striking procession with dancing, singing and performances by Sardinian singer-song writers.
‘The Archers Tournament’ in Iglesias in the South of Sardinia – 24 archers taking part in medieval attire. The tournament is followed a week later by the Medieval Parade, which takes place on 13th August.
‘Fireworks and Fried Fish’ in Alghero – fireworks display takes place in the port along the Busquet walkway. After the fireworks, fried fish for everyone.
‘Ferragosto’ mid August bank holiday – with fireworks all over Italy to celebrate the assumption. Processions throughout the island.
End of August
‘Sagra del Redentore’ (Redeemer) in Nuoro – parade with the people making their way to the top of Monte Ortobene.
29Th - 30th September
‘Festa Sant Miquel’ in Alghero – the patron saint of the city is celebrated with fireworks and parades.
Last Sunday in October
‘Sagra della Castagne’ Chestnut Fair in Aritzo.
First week of November
‘Mountain Products Agricultural Fair’ in Desulo – handicraft and painting exhibitions.