If your real Sardinia is its rugged interior still rife with ancient rural customs, a unique language and Bronze Age remains, as opposed to a spectacular, celebrity-studded coastline, then we have the B&B for you. An early-19th-century farmhouse in the village of Gergei, at the extreme southern tip of the Gennargentu mountains, Domu Antiga has been restored to period perfection along with all appurtenances and trimmings. Every mod con is present and correct (except for televisions – there’s a small library instead) but carefully integrated into a renovation that made scrupulous use of traditional materials and techniques, following principles of green architecture from a time that knew no other colour. So the domu antiga – Sardinian for ancient house – features bare or whitewashed stone, wood, cork and reeds. Furniture, fabrics and objects are either antique or produced by traditional craft workshops.
Samuel and family let three superb, en suite rooms in the handsome complex, all with balconies overlooking cobbled streets. Breakfast, served in the farmhouse kitchen with a fire in the grate when it’s cold outside or out in the backyard in the warmer months, is as Sardinian custom decrees, including an egg so fresh-laid you can collect it from the henhouse yourself. Other meals, home-cooked to the same high standards, are available on request. Gergei, in an area of hills and wide uplands known as the Sarcidano, numbers just 1,300 inhabitants. It’s surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and pastures where sheep and goats graze. Samuel and/or family and friends can involve you in the grape or olive harvest and all they entail depending on the time of year, and offer cooking courses rooted in the local tradition. A little further afield are more stunning landscapes, some of the finest Bronze Age remains at Barumini (another UNESCO World Heritage site) and at Giara di Serri, the lakes and marshes and wild herds of diminutive horses at Giara di Gesturi, and much more. Domu Antiga can arrange a guide and mountain bikes or donkey trekking to visit some of these.