The Island of stories – Sardinia surprises with its literary festivals

Gavoi - Festival Isola delle Storie

The Island of stories – Sardinia surprises with its literary festivals

A series of high-profile cultural events held throughout the year enthuses the Sardinian public and communities. One that stands out is the celebrated international competition in Gavoi, a fairy-tale village deep in the Gennargentu park
An unusual and fascinating side of Sardinia, on the coast and also inland

A fascinating cross section of Sardinia, reflected in literary events with dates sprinkled across spring, summer and autumn. Unmissable occasions that will go with relaxation during a holiday spent on the coast or inland. The Island of Stories Festival (Isola delle storie) in Gavoi in the Nuorese area is the standard banner for the festivals, and is held in high summer, but in a pleasant environment, with the cool air that comes from being at altitude. Its prestige has done nothing but grow over its thirteen editions, and it is now a point of reference at a national and international level, together with other Sardinian literary festivals like Leggendo Metropolitano, Sulla terra leggeri, Éntula, Marina Café Noir.

Gavoi - Festival Isola delle Storie
Gavoi - Festival Isola delle Storie
Let yourself be carried away by tales and imaginative fairy-tale scenes

At Gavoi, in the heart of the Gennargentu park, you get the feeling of having entered a fairy-tale village. It is an unspoilt picture, and an unusual one where the silence is a pleasurable fellow traveller amongst the narrow, windy cobbled streets and welcoming piazzas. Since 2004 writers, actors, journalists, musicians and thousands of avid readers have met up in the weekend between the end of June and the beginning of July. They are drawn by the warm welcome given by the people of Gavoi, who are happy to share their traditions and their good life with them. Houses are opened up to guests, and the colourful wooden balconies of the stone dwellings become stages for reading stories and accounts, while the piazzas are arenas for the audience.

Gavoi - Festival Isola delle Storie
Gavoi - Festival Isola delle Storie
You will become a star of the events and a participant in the Sardinian sense of community

You won’t be just a spectator: you will meet and talk with the authors, you will take part in participatory shows and art exhibitions. Your weekend will be spent between a series of events and emotions. In the Isola delle storie, adults, teenagers and children let themselves be transported by words and imagination, by tales of life and opera songs, read by the authors themselves. The curiosity of those who listen gives life to dialogues and exchanges of ideas. The festival continues until dusk, the colours of the countryside change and the atmosphere becomes more and more intimate and captivating. Don’t miss the after dinner talks in which you can share a drink of local Mirto with the authors in the village gardens.

Gavoi - Festival Isola delle Storie
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cities and villages are enlivened by presentations, readings and meetings with authors

The ‘half-point of summer’ prelude to the Gavoi festival is held on 11th June. The festival itself opens on Thursday 29th June. The schedule is for a weekend full of debates and readings with exceptional participants: in the morning there are meetings on the balconies, and ‘noontime in the heat’, and in the afternoon ‘everyone down on the ground’ and ‘other views’. In the evening, as well as a drink with the authors, there is ‘no-man’s land’. At the beginning of June there is another event that has warmed up the first burst of summer in Cagliari: it is Leggendo Metropolitano (Metropolitan Reading). The theme of the 2017 edition is ‘between memory and oblivion’: 50 events and 70 personalities from the scientific and cultural world talk about the big questions posed by research, literature, journalism, the digital revolution and the economy.

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Festival letterario
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from spring to autumn, literature is the star in dozens of events

Literary events will continue all summer and in autumn. In the second half of July there is the itinerant Sulla terra leggeri festival, which is in part in the Sassarese area, and at the beginning of August two theatre festivals: festival dei Tacchi - Ogliastra teatro and, in Santu Lussurgiu in the Montiferru, Percorsi Teatrali. A few kilometres away, in the fascinating village of Seneghe, there are four days of poetry in Cabudanne de sos poetas. Just afterwards comes the turn of Marina Café Noir in piazzas, shops and workshops of Cagliari’s Marina quarter: meetings, presentations, readings, shows, exhibitions and workshops, all following the ‘thinking outside the box’ spirit. At the end of September, don’t miss the international travel literature festival at Mandas, which is named after D.H. Lawrence. In October, there is something especially for younger people: Tuttestorie. From April to November the calendar includes sessions of the Éntula, a festival which spreads entertainment across piazzas, libraries and theatres in thirty Sardinian centres.