What are the top souvenirs from Sardinia you should bring back home?
Whenever we visit another country, it’s only natural that we want to fill our suitcases with mementos from our trip— little memories captured in physical form that represent our travels. Traveling to the Italian island of Sardinia is truly a unique experience, one that you will want to remember forever. All souvenirs from Sardinia have a special significance. You won’t be buying a magnet or shot glass from Sardinia! Trust me; there are many more distinctive souvenir options.
Here are my top recommendations of what to buy as souvenirs from Sardinia. If you want to purchase souvenirs as memorable as your trip, read my list of the top 9 gifts to buy in Sardinia— whether you’re buying them for other people or keeping these treasures for yourself!
The Best Souvenirs From Sardinia To Take Home With You
The Sardinian word for basket is “cestino.” Sardinia’s weaving is a traditional art form that has been present on the island for generations. There is a Museum of Mediterranean Weaving located in Castelsardo that will blow your mind! The northern region of Sardinia around Castelsardo is known for basket weaving using dwarf palm fronds.
In contrast, the weavers in central Sardinia in the Barbagia hills use Mediterranean asphodel plants for their weaving. That being said, artisans weave everything from straw to willow to reeds and create vivid hues from natural flower and plant dyes.
While I mentioned baskets as the best souvenirs from Sardinia, there’s a wide spectrum of woven products that you could opt for instead. You can find woven mats, trays, and even vessels that can be used in all areas of your home! I use a beautiful basket I bought from Mostra Mercato dell’Artigianato in Castelsardo to hold magazines in my living room. People comment on it all the time!
While most Italian ceramics are classical in style, engendered in the Renaissance, and kept alive to this day, Sardinia’s ceramic traditions are quite different! Indigenous forms like birds and deer inspire the ceramics you’ll find in Sardinia. In fact, the decorative motifs look less Italian and more Moroccan or Turkish.
The two best places to go shopping for ceramics in Sardinia are Oristano in the central-western part of Sardinia (make sure to check out the CMS Cooperativa Ceramiche Maestri d’Arte), and Assemini, a small town in the south of Sardinia near Cagliari. Cagliari also has wonderful ceramics shops that you should stop by if you’re in the area; and you will find more ceramics shops literally in any village and town in Sardinia.
Whether you’re looking for a small decorative animal statue, a teapot, or a vase— the ceramics in Sardinia make dreamy souvenirs. Indeed, some of the best souvenirs from Sardinia.
Local Food Delicacies
Sardinia is cheese-lovers heaven. There are hundreds of different kinds of cheese to buy; some are soft and sweet while others are strong-flavored and smokey. One of the most famous types of Sardinia cheese is a braided cheese that is fairly mild-tasting.
Pecorino Sardo is probably the most celebrated Sardinian cheese on the market. It is a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk with a rich, savory, vivid flavor you won’t encounter anywhere else in the world. You can grate it on top of homemade pasta or melt it on bread. Since it’s a hard cheese that can be purchased in rounds, it travels very well in a suitcase!
I did just mention bread, didn’t I? The most unique type of Sardinian bread is called Carasau bread, also referred to as Carta da Musica — sheet music bread. This wafer-thin flatbread is as thin as a piece of paper. It is delicate, light, and crunchy. While it’s usually served hot out of the oven with olive oil, salt, and herbs, you can also buy it prepackaged. You might want to buy a couple of extra packets as you’ll likely want to munch on one while on the plane!
The last Sardinian food product that I want to highlight here is bottarga. Bottarga is a cured and air-dried mullet fish roe, a fish that is bountiful in Sardinia’s waters. Bottarga is lustrously amber-hued and often referred to as the golden caviar of Sardinia. Typically grated like cheese over pasta, bottarga is an essential ingredient in Sardinia’s cuisine. If you want to prepare a classic Sardinia dish for your friends once you return, you’re going to need some bottarga! It surely is one of the best souvenirs from Sardinia.
Check out these guided food tours – they offer great insights on local produce and will definitely come in handy when picking what to bring home:
- Cagliari historical walking tour with local markets
- Culurgiones cooking class
- Sardinian bread baking experience
- Cagliari market tour, home cooking demo and dinner
- Local market visit and private cooking class
Much of Sardinia is blanketed in dense forests, which promise visitors more than just hiking trails and breathtaking waterfalls: you also have the opportunity to buy locally sourced handmade cork products from the Sughero cork trees! These trees require harvesting the cork by hand and are crafted by artisans into beautiful cork souvenirs. You can find all kinds of cork products – from trivets and purses to necklaces.
Keep in mind that the main area in Sardinia where sughero cork trees are abundant is Calangianus in the Gallura region in the northeast of Sardinia. In fact, most of the cork is used by industrialized cork producers to create wine corks for fantastic Sardinian wines, which I’ll talk more about later!
If you want to learn more about cork, there is a Museum of Sughero in Calagianus that can be found on Via San Francesco, plus there is a fantastic gift shop inside! For the best cork souvenirs from Sardinia, head up to Calagianus. There are numerous local artisans that create innovative and ingenious cork goods and gifts. I want to mention two cork artisan stores – Artigianato Pasella and Anna Grindi Atelier. Expect to be dazzled by cork dresses, bags, jewelry, and other surprising cork creations!
In Sardinia, filigree jewelry is called filigrana. Gold and silver are abundant in Sardinia and have been mined here for thousands of years.
Since gold and silver are a natural bounty of Sardinia, jewelers have worked it into delicate filigree jewelry pieces using precious stones like rubies and sapphires, but more commonly, Sardinian jewelers favor the local jewels of the sea— pearls and coral. Artisan filigree jewelry is present all over Sardinia and is not centered on a particular town or region like the others on this list.
That being said, Cagliari is densely populated with jewelers and has more jewelry stores than any other city in Sardinia. If I had to recommend just one filigree jewelry store in Cagliari, I’d tell you to check out Oro Sardegna on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Soha Sardinia is also a popular filigree jewelry shop with locations in Cagliari and Porto Cervo, but their jewelry can be found throughout the island at various boutiques.
Alghero should be considered coral headquarters in Sardinia. In fact, the area around Alghero is actually known as the “Coral Riviera.” The underwater caves of Alghero are where the vivid red coral is harvested from. It has been handcrafted into gorgeous pieces of jewelry by local artisans and jewelers.
While you may find inexpensive pieces of coral at markets and souvenir shops, keep in mind that some coral has been imported from elsewhere and has been painted. To ensure you are purchasing genuine Sardinian coral, you can ask to see a certificate of authenticity.
Harvesting coral can devastate the marine ecosystem. Thus, each year, only 25 licenses are granted to fishermen, who can collect a maximum of 2.5kg of coral. They must harvest the coral by hand using an ax. The use of machines, or even robots, is prohibited.
That being said, when “red coral fever” really hit Sardinia around the year 1870, there were hundreds of coral fishing boats in Alghero who tore away these underwater treasures by the boatload. That’s why it is such an exclusive souvenir to purchase today. Sardinian red coral is as precious as gold!
While taking a knife home as a souvenir is only possible if you are checking a bag, the handmade knives in Sardinia are truly striking. Sardinia is world-renowned for crafting resolzas— a stainless steel knife attached to a carved animal horn as the handle. While resolzas is the local word for these particular type of unique knives, they are also referred to simply as “the Sardinian knife.” However, another Sardinian word for this kind of knife is pattada, which refers to the name of the village where they are crafted.
The animal horn most commonly used for the knife handle is mountain goat horn. If you’re in the market to buy some artisanal knives, the towns of Santu Lussurgiu and Pattada are where to go. If a town gives its name to a knife, it’s probably the best place to go for knife souvenir shopping, wouldn’t you think? Sometimes, life just makes sense.
There is a Knife Museum in Arbus on Via Roma. The museum is also called Museo del Coltello Sardo. The heaviest knife in the world can be seen there, weighing 295kg!
Textiles & Embroidery
As sheep are abundant in Sardinia, it comes as no surprise that wool is a key industry. Sheep’s wool has been hand-woven on giant wooden looms for centuries in Sardinia! As previously mentioned in the basket weaving section, the colors and dyes come from natural sources – Sardinia’s indigenous flowers and plants.
There are quite a few hubs for textiles in Sardinia; however, the key textile artisans and shops can be found in the towns of Dorgali, Ittiri, Nule, and Samugheo. Mainly, the Provinces of Oristano and Sassari are where to go when seeking local weaver’s cooperatives, and even the chance to sneak a peek into a local weaver’s home!
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Punt ‘e Nú Embroidery. Punt ‘e Nú is a knotted whitework geometric technique born in Teulada, a small town in the South of Sardinia on the coast. In the past (and today) Punt ‘e Nú is used to decorate men’s traditional clothing, particularly on the cuffs and collars. When visiting Teulada, the town’s cultural association is called Associazione Culturale Is Sinnus. It is a fantastic place to learn the ins and outs of this Sardinian embroidery style.
In terms of souvenirs, you don’t just have to consider buying table linens; there are a wide variety of embroidery items, including rugs, pillowcases, and jewelry!
Sardinia’s wine is one of my absolute favorite things about being Sardinian myself! I’m proud of this island’s long-standing history of wine and the unique varietals we produce. The most lauded Sardinian wine is the red Cannonau, while the most popular white wine is the Vermentino. There are also delectable sweet dessert wines like the Malvasia di Bosa. While you have well over a dozen local Sardinian varieties of wine to choose from, all are the perfect souvenir to bring home from your trip!
There are plenty of wineries sprinkled throughout the island of Sardinia that offer tours and tastings. Not only will you make memories visiting the dignified and captivating local wineries, but you can take home a few bottles to share with family and friends at home. What better way to spread the love of Sardinia?
I’ve written an entire post dedicated to Sardinia’s wine, click here to check it out.
Further readings about Sardinia
Make sure to check out my other posts about Sardinia:
- The Best Places To Go Shopping In Sardinia
- 5 Markets In Cagliari For Your Shopping Needs
- Where Is Sardinia?
- How To Get To Sardinia: Routes From Italy And Europe
- 10 Absolutely Unmissable Things To Do In Sardinia
- 15 Great Things To Do In Cagliari, Sardinia
- What To See And Do In Alghero Sardinia
- A Complete Guide To Costa Smeralda
- The Nicest Small Towns And Cities In Sardinia