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.