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Turning Green with Envy on Sardinia’s Costa Verde

This is a guest post by Suzy Guese. If you want to guest post on Go Backpacking, please read more here.


Temple of Anatas

Temple of Anatas

Set in southwestern Sardinia, Costa Verde or ” the Green Coast,” could be mistaken for the Emerald Isle rather than Italy for its land and sea shades of jade. As my toy-car sized rental car follows the coast, it feels as though this cobalt blue power engine with tires smaller than my head is the first car to cover this road.

I continue to drive, with no destination, no landmark I heard I must see, because frankly not many people know about Sardinia's Costa Verde. To the right, lush green hills surround, so green they might make a leprechaun jealous. I notice a sign with a small temple image pointing to the right, almost beckoning me to follow. Without a plan, my wheels crunch against some gravel and I head east.

I reach Tempio di Anatas, about 20km north of the city of Iglesias. I guess this will be my plan for the next half hour. I follow a path out to a lone temple. Isolation surrounds. There are no hints at civilization or people. A simple temple merely blends into the scenery of the Mountain of Conca ‘e s'Omu.

The ruined temple spans 2,000 years. It was the Romans though in 3 A.D. that attempted to glorify the structure. The temple was dedicated to Sardus Pater, considered the son of Hercules and colonizer of the island.

These ruins allow me to rest my feet on their limestone blocks, gazing east. No voices, cars, planes or trains can be heard. All I can hear are my own thoughts. I have found a destination when I thought I had no plan.

Seeing these ruins creates a sensation in me, a craving to explore more of this mystical, isolated and seemingly deserted Costa Verde. I begin to wonder, if Costa Verde‘s land lends such inspiration, I can only imagine how its waters must feel.

I jump back on the main road and my next destination calls my name with a little brown sign. An understated and simple brown marking says ” Scivu” with waves drawn next to its text. I just found the water element.


Traffic Jam along the road hugging Costa Verde

Traffic Jam along the road hugging Costa Verde

The road guides me west, narrow and curvy. At one point it looks as though the path will drop off into the sea. Once again my toy car takes on the persona of a covered wagon, pioneer in that no one follows me and no one appears in front of me. I can see the turquoise and green waters now, but several obstacles lie in front of me:  goats, hordes and hordes of goats. The clown horn honks and the goats disperse. I am, after all, impatient when a destination calls.

Finally, I reach what must be Scivu, as sand, sky and water meet the road's end. Sand dunes cover the way down to the Scivu beach. The decent is somewhat steep in flip-flops, but I march on with determination as though I am wearing big, burly hiking boots. A lone bright orange tent camps out below, just before a sandstone coral-colored cliff interrupts the continuation of water and sand. The sand is unbelievably fine and creamy, something I would imagine the sands of the Sahara to resemble.

I manage not to fall, and reach the main part of the beach. Aside from those bright campers, a handful of people take in the sun farther down the shoreline. However, for around 200 feet, I am completely alone.


Scivu Beach on Sardinia's Costa Verde

Scivu Beach on Sardinia's Costa Verde

The waves start to crash, hinting that swimming may be a little rough. Apparently Scivu's waters are ideal for surfing. If only I learned surfing at college in California instead of Italian. It is crystal clear what the rough waters are telling me. Clouds build and I think the fated weather calls me to leave my second destination.

I discover after visiting those solitary ruins and waters of Costa Verde why it is called ” the green coast.” Jealousy overwhelms when you realize you cannot take any of this home. Scivu and the Temple of Anatas belong to the Costa Verde and no one else. Everyone must leave, or face the green-eyed monster. That envy keeps solo travelers on its grounds only for moments, so that another traveler can experience that isolation next.


About the Author: Suzy Guese is a travel writer based in Denver, Colorado. Travel has always been an integral part of her life with family vacations at a young age and her year in college studying abroad in Florence, Sicily, and Sorrento.  Find out more about Suzy by following her on Twitter or reading, where she takes readers physically or mentally around the world with a red-headed temperament.

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