Architect Clementina Ruggieri is sarda dal sangue e dal cuore, Sardinian by blood and from the heart. Though she grew up in Rome, her father is from Cagliari and the gorgeous Baroque city was backdrop for all of her childhood adventures. From Sardegna’s incredible and unforgettable aroma to its willful landscape and rustic lifestyle, Ruggieri can’t get enough of the island and wants you to explore.
Why makes Sardegna magical?
The climate, the sea, the sunrise and sunset. The wind, with its salty sea scent, and the untamed and indigenous landscape.
Out of all of Sardegna, what is your favourite place?
The city of Cagliari, a city by the beach and full of hidden magic. There is the incredible Molentargius Park e le Saline, a beautiful and rustic green space with thousands and thousands of beautiful flamingos, completely untamed. You look up and you see the city around you. extends across 1,600 hectares in the extreme southern part of the Campidano plain, overlooking the Golfo degli Angeli. Molentargius was the richest Sardinian basin for sea-salt extraction for two and a half centuries, and you can explore the saline and the natural architecture.
Where is your favourite beach?
Il Poetto in Cagliari. One of the most amazing things about Cagliari is location. In the city, you can smell the salt and the sea all of the time, and then this beautiful beach is so near by. The juxtaposition of city and beach is incredible.
How would you describe the lifestyle in Sardegna?
It’s quiet, introverted, and it still is to this day. In the past, the population lived in the mountains and the center of the island to protect themselves [unlike other islands which had coastal towns). Sardi were montanari, mountain people – completamente involuta, and [because of this] whole history, they are introverted.
What are the places in Sardegna you love the most?
Arcipleago della Maddalena, in the north on the Costa Smeralda. [In fact, Ruggieri’s husband and partner Michele Busiri-Vici has ties to the area. His grandfather whose name he takes was one of the eminent architects brought to the Costa Smeralda to develop the area for the Aga Khan]. Places like Mortorio (which can only be reached by boat), Golfo di Orosei (in the east) are of exceptional beauty and Capo Coda Cavallo. The west coast is much wilder and untamed, places like piscinas.
Not-to-Miss experiences or places?
The Costa Smeralda for a more pedicured yet beautiful experience, and definitely the west coast, and the south like piscinas for a more wild, uncultivated experience. In the interior of the island are the archaeological sites and it is full of Nuraghe remains from 1000 BC.
In Cagliari: The historic Antico Caffe below Castello and Ristorante La Scala for wonderful fish. [Both are owned by Ruggieri’s father] and of course, Trattoria Lillicu. En route to the Costa Smeralda, between Olbia and Porto Rotondo is Nino’s known for it’s spaghetti all’aragosta.
Porchetto and pane frattau
Boat or Car?
Both, but also by motorbike – it’s the best way to enjoy the interior land and the coast and awaken your senses. Keep in mind there are a lot of places that are only reachable by boat, in particular small boats -not mega yachts.
How long should we visit?
A least one week…
Favourite sardo expression?
Eia – yes and Aio – let’s go!