Setting foot in the village of San Pantaleo forms a sense of escapism. It takes a 25-minute drive from Costa Smeralda to arrive at this hidden gem that nestles in the Gallura region of Sardinia, Italy. The still-unspoiled territory treasures a den of natural wonders, from its surrounding granite mountains, rustic-stone architecture, and emerald sea to its abundance of local artistry and produce. To simply put it, San Pantaleo offers the authenticity of slow and simple living to those who truly yearn for it.
The journey begins at the main square of the village, the heart of San Pantaleo. Witness the community come to life as locals, artists, and guests fill the Thursday market scene. Stalls and boutiques of local goods and harvest range from homemade cheeses, sausages, wine, and honey to handmade clothing, art, and sculptures. At times, street performers croon the public with traditional Sardinian music.
Local craftsmanship retains its roots as artisans carry on to produce their sought-after ceramics, wrought iron, metal, and woodwork. Low-level traditional structures called Stazzu adorn the cobblestone streets, the home to antique shops, art galleries, cafes, and restaurants. Their soft, earthy tones may tell their age, and some owners prefer to retain the faded-patina look on the exterior.
Spare some time to visit Nuraghe la Prisgiona, an archeological site of the Nuragic civilization whose history dates back to 800 BC. Here, a circular, central tower made of piled-up stones is accompanied by two side towers, forming a fortification around the village. If one seeks more festivities, San Pantaleo celebrates the Folklore Festival at the beginning of September where musicians and artists collude to perform folk songs and exhibit their crafts.
We had the pleasure to visit San Pantaleo with Spanish photographer Ana Cuba to capture the tranquil state of the village. Looking through her lens, we first see a cluster of cacti whose thorns brush against a roster of pink flowers, an alluring juxtaposition. Drawing our eyes to the skyline, the bell tower of the church rises from the terracotta roof tiles. In its background, the jagged, rocky mountains and hazy, cerulean sky appear.
For R+D.LAB, Ana spotlights our glassware collection in shades of Sand, Jade Green, Cameo Pink, and Slat Green that are very much in tune with the colors and the textures of San Pantaleo and its surroundings. She drew inspiration from the spaces where the natural environment and raw materials underline the products.
With its nature-filled surroundings and elegantly simple lifestyle, it is no wonder creatives call the village their home. Somehow, San Pantaleo starts where Sardinia ends.
PHOTOS: Ana Cuba (IG: @ana__cuba)
WORDS: Matthew Burgos