Nation profile

Sardinia
Sardigna

General information
Population
1,640,717 inhabitants (2018, Istat)
Area
24.090 km²
Institutions
Regional Government and Regional Council of Sardinia
Major cities
Cagliari, Sassari, Oristano, Alghero
State administration
Italy
Territorial languages
Sardinian, Catalan, Gallurese, Sassarese, Tabarchino Ligurian
Official languages
Italian
Major religion
Christianity (Catolicism)
National day
28 April

Presentation

Sardinia is an island country in the western Mediterranean, located between Corsica, the Italian peninsula, Sicily, North Africa, and the Balearic Islands. It is a part of the Italian Republic, within which it is one of the five so-called “special” autonomies, together with Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sicily, Trentino-South Tyrol, and Valle d’Aosta.

Between the 9th and 15th centuries, a series of independent medieval states developed in Sardinia, the so-called Judicadus (Judicati, in Latin), which gradually came under the influence of Genoa, Pisa, and finally the Crown of Aragon, which imposed its full rule from 1420.

Sardinia fell under the control of Piedmont in 1720. Local politician Juanne Maria Angioy led an anti-Piemontese revolt, the Sardinian Vespers, in 1794, which was suppressed. In 1847 Piedmont completed its political and legal absorption of Sardinia, a few years before launching the Italian unification process.

During the 19th century, the Sardinian intelligentsia began to denounce the discrimination to which Sardinia was subjected by Piedmont and, later, by the Italian state. Modern Sardinian nationalism crystallised in the first decades of the 20th century with the founding of the Sardinian Action Party (1921, outlawed in 1926 by Benito Mussolini’s regime) on the initiative of Emilio Lussu and Camillo Bellieni.

After the Second World War, Sardinian nationalism demanded the establishment of a Sardinian state, federated with Italy. The Italian authorities granted a Statute of Autonomy (1948).

Sardinia has shown worse economic indicators than the Italian average since, which has been denounced by Sardinian parties and movements, which have also criticised the disregard for the island’s language and culture, and the use of significant portions of the island for military purposes.

Languages

The island’s own language is Sardinian (sardu in Sardinian), one of the Romance languages with more conservative features compared to Latin. The language has received strong influence from Catalan and Spanish, due to the Catalan occupation of the island —subsequently Spanish— for many centuries. Sardinian is spoken almost throughout the island, except in Alghero (where a dialect of Catalan, Alguerese, is spoken), in the lesser islands of San Pietro and part of Sant’Antioco (where Tabarchino Ligurian is used) and in the island’s north, where two different linguistic varieties can be found: Sassarese (Tuscan-based with Sardinian influence) and Gallurese (Corsican-based, also with Sardinian influence).

According to 2015 data (Istat), 32% of the Sardinian population usually speaks one of the island’s own languages within their families.

National identity

Unlike the rest of autonomous territories in Italy, the Statute ruling the island recognizes the existence of the Sardinian people. Some Sardinian political parties advocate the existence of a Sardinian nation.

A survey released by the University of Cagliari (2012) showed that 65% of those surveyed described themselves as “more Sardinian than Italian” or “Sardinian only”. 

According to an Istituto Ixè and Fondazione di Sardegna study (“La Sardegna: lo stato delle cose fra ‘percepito’ e ossatura reale”, 2018), 45% of Sardinians define themselves as “citizens of their region”, 19% “Italians”, 12% “Europeans”, and 24%, “citizens of the world”.

Politics and administration

The Statute of Autonomy provides for two executive bodies for Sardinia (the President and the Regional Government) and one legislative (the Regional Council). The President and the 60 members of the Council are elected by universal suffrage every five years; the 12 ministers of the Government are elected by the President.

Sardinia has powers to legislate on matters such as local police, agriculture, regional public works, urban planning, transport, hunting and fishing, tourism, libraries, industry, and energy. It can also adapt state laws to the characteristics of Sardinia in areas such as education and jobs.

Sardinian politics are generally dominated by the main Italian parties, which usually get 70% to 90% of the votes in Sardinian elections. Sardinian parties —in which one can distinguish autonomist and pro-independence trends—, despite obtaining 10% to 30% of the votes, are significantly fragmented, which curtails their ability to influence the Sardinian semi-autonomous government.

The oldest Sardinian party, and the one with the most members, is the Sardinian Action Party (Partidu Sardu-Partito Sardo d’Azione, PSd’Az). It is officially pro-independence, although throughout history it has formed several coalitions with Italian parties, replacing emancipatory demands with moderate autonomism. The most recent, in 2019, helped PSd’Az leader Chistian Solinas to become president of Sardinia, heading a conservative coalition comprising the Lega, Forza Italia, and Fratelli d'Italia.

The galaxy of pro-sovereignty and pro-independence parties usually consists of 5 to 10 different parties, the most prominent of which are currently the Sardinians’ Party (Partito dei Sardi), Project Republic (Progetu Repùblica, ProgReS), and Sardinia Nation Independence (Sardigna Natzione Indipendentzia, SNI).

President of the Region: Christian Solinas (Sardinian Action Party), since 2019
Distribution of seats in the Regional Council (2019 election). 60 members:

-Christian Solinas list (includes parties from the centre to the radical right) - 36
  • League (Lega) - 8
  • Sardinian Action Party (Partito Sardo d'Azione) - 6
  • Forza Italia - 6
  • Sardinian Reformers (Riformatori Sardi) - 3
  • Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d'Italia) - 3
  • Sardegna20venti - 3
  • Pro Sardinia - Centre Union (Unione di Centro) - 3
  • Civic Sardinia (Sardegna Civica) - 1
  • Fortza Paris - 1
  • Sardinian Democratic Union (Unione Democratica Sarda) - 1
  • Christian Solinas (personal seat) - 1
-Massimo Zedda list (includes parties from the centre to the left) - 18
  • Democratic Party (Partito Democratico) - 8
  • Free and Equal (Liberi e Uguali) - 2
  • Progressive Camp Sardinia (Campo Progressista Sardegna) - 2
  • We, Sardinia with Massimo Zedda (Noi, la Sardegna con Massimo Zedda) - 2
  • Common Future with Massimo Zedda (Futuro Comune con Massimo Zedda) - 2
  • Sardinia in Common (Sardegna in Comune) - 1
  • Massimo Zedda (personal seat) - 1
-5 Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle) - 6
Government: Christian Solinas List

Links
 
Language and culture
Limba Sarda 2.0 salimbasarda.net
Ditzionàriu in Línia ditzionariu.nor-web.eu
Sardegna Cultura sardegnacultura.it
Media
La Nuova Sardegna lanuovasardegna.it
L'Unione Sarda unionesarda.it
Sardegna Oggi sardegnaoggi.it
Catalan TV youtube.com/channel/UCFQkTTAgxdBDF5_lhiP2bHg
Tempus Nostru tempusnostru.it

(Last updated November 2020.)