Aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer-Among the complimentary tours offered aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, I chose the Scenic Costa Smerelda option, which, I think, is a great way to see the stunning natural beauty of this extraordinary island.
Many people only know Sardinia because Prince Karim Aga Khan “discovered” it in the 1960s and, along with other investors, built a glamorous resort enclave at Porto Cervo. Among the very, very expensive hotels on the Costa Smerelda is the Cala di Volpe, which was featured in the James Bond Film, The Spa Who Loved Me. (Back in 2012, the presidential suite at the hotel was said to cost more than $30,000 a night.)
The fun fact of the day–this was according to my tour guide– was that it was legendary film star Rita Hayworth (who married Prince Aly Khan in 1948) and Robert Mitchum who were in Sardinia first, and that it was Hayworth who alerted Prince Karim that the island was worth “discovering.”
Today, there is no shortage of glamour and wealth all over Sardinia. According to my guide, flamboyant former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi had a luxurious 68-room villa in Porto Rotondo, reportedly worth over 300 million pounds.
But for me, the highlights on the island were the smaller, more intimate places, like San Pantaleo, a tiny village with a population of 300 which has become a kind of artists’ colony. Surrounded by soaring formations of granite, which tempt the imagination, it’s easy to see why the place has an artistic reputation.
Along the small town square is a small church, a statue of Pope John, cafes, wine bars and art galleries. In August, the dancers from iconic La Scala Opera House in Milan, come to dance in the Square. There is also a donkey race, though not at the same time.
My next discovery was the lovely Baja Sardinia resort, which was bursting with oleander and bougainvillea and other flowers, along with velvety green lawns, an inviting beach and beautiful blue water.
Of course, there were luxury boutiques and jewelry stores, along with the usual complement of resort restaurants and cafes.
After an eye-filling day of beauty and Nature, I was more than ready for dinner. Tonight, it will be at Regent Explorer’s steakhouse, aptly named Prime 7, where the menu includes everything a steak restaurant should, as well as a tempting surf-and-turf combination. Gluttony at its best.