Sardinia

Sardinia

Sardinia

“Lost between Africa and Europe“ is how the English writer D. H. Lawrence described Sardinia in 1921 in his book “Sea and Sardinia“. Throughout its 2500-year history the island was invaded and occupied by foreign conquerors from all corners of the Mediterranean Sea. The Carthaginians, the Romans and the Vandals as well as the Byzantines, the Arabs and the Spaniards invaded and left their mark upon Sardinia and the character of its inhabitants. In 1861 it became part of the Italian Kingdom.
Sardinia locations map
With its 9,309 sq. miles (24,090 sq. km) Sardinia is more than half the size of Switzerland. After Sicily it is the second largest island of the Mediterranean Sea. The coastline is about 1,150 miles (1,850 km) long. It is divided from the French isle of Corsica by the 6.5 mile (12 km) wide Straits of Bonifacio. The seat of administration for the 1.7 million inhabitants is in the capital Cagliari. Agriculture and sheep-rearing used to be the main source of income of the Sardinians. Increasing tourism today, however, brought a new influx of money into the island.

One of its more recent visitors was James Bond, who came here accompanied by Soviet agent Triple-X Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me (TSWLM) in 1977. In the plot of this film their mission is to investigate the arch villain Karl Stromberg’s headquarters Atlantis, a huge amphibian structure located off the coast of Sardinia. After leaving Egypt and fighting Stromberg’s gigantic henchman Jaws in a fierce train fight, the couple arrives at the little port-town of Palau at the northern tip of Sardinia. From here regular ferry services operate to Genova and Naples on the Italian mainland as well as to the nearby island of La Maddalena. A rock shaped like a big bear (Capa d’Orso) is the only modest tourist attraction Palau has to offer. Bond and Anya drive along the coastal road in an open carriage backdropped by the beautiful Isola Santo Stefano. On reaching Palau’s jetty they observe Q driving the white Lotus Esprit sports car from a ferry, which lies at the outermost left moorings. He parks the car beside a sort of lamp-post and then the usual banter between 007 and his gadget master ensues. Bond’s reckless handling of the precious vehicle is obviously a “kick in the teeth“ for Q. All of Bond’s following adventures take place at the Costa Smeralda, a region in the northeast of Sardinia that defies easy description. A wonderful, untouched area, without any roads, electricity, water or telephones: that was how Costa Smeralda appeared at the beginning of the sixties.

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In 1960 His Highness Karim Aga Khan IV visited this place where Sardinia is at its most beautiful and realized the potential of this undiscovered, unspoiled paradise at the very heart of Europe’s already overcrowded Mediterranean region. In collaboration with some of his wealthy friends he founded the Consorzio Costa Smeralda, a non-profit organization, which set itself the task of protecting and planning with care and taste this untouched part of Sardinia.

Over the next 20 years the Aga Khan’s plans for a Shangri-La unfolded and one of the most expensive, prestigious and best-cared-for holiday destinations in the world took shape. The project was entrusted to architects and urban planners of international fame, the master plan had to respect nature applying so many precautions so as not to destroy (as it happened in so many other parts of the Mediterranean) this earthly paradise. The result is a harmonious combination of the work of man with nature, so that buildings are not imposed on the landscape but rather blend in with it and enhance it.
Chopper chase location, along the SP94
While most of the chase sequence was filmed on the East side, this part was filmed on the West side of Sardinia
Most parts of the following wild car chase were filmed on the country roads around San Pantaleo, the National Road n. 125 and the Panoramica Cugnana SP 94 along the Costa Smeralda. The most outstanding spot of the hot pursuit is the piece of concrete wall, where the chopper pops up and which is circled twice by the Lotus later in the race. To get to this location you have to drive south from Cala di Volpe on the coastal road. After one odd mile you will notice a blue signpost with the inscription “per bivio S. PANTALEO km 6“ on the left side of the road. Directly behind that is the piece of wall which divides a little parking lot and a view point from the pavement. From here you have a marvellous vista over the shore. In the peak season try to be there before 10 am, because later it gets very crowded.

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This and much more can be found in the chapter 'Heart of the Mediterranean' in ON THE TRACKS OF 007

Connected hotels:

Cala di Volpe

Porto Cervo, Sardinia
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