The rich and often fiercely independent cultures of Corsica and Sardinia are the result of many invasions over the last 2000 years.
From the Roman Empire, to the Teutonic Vandals of Northern Europe, to the Moors of North Africa, each invading civilisation has left their own distinctive mark on the islands.
One reason for these multiple invasions is Corsica and Sardinia’s vulnerable position in the Western Mediterranean. Close enough to North Africa, Italy, France and Spain for them each to pose a threat.
The striking Moor’s head symbol which appears on the Corsican and Sardinian regional flags is typical of the distinct culture of the two islands and is testament to their Moorish heritage
The Moor’s Head was first used as a symbol of regional identity after independence from the Genoese Republic in 1755.
The flag is still flown throughout Corsica, and is most notably used by separatist groups who want political independence from the French mainland.
Throughout Sardinia there is a strong Catalan influence from when the island was invaded by the people of Northern Spain.
Catalan is even spoken in the north of the Italian owned island.
In the centre of Sardinia is one of the island’s most unique carnivals; the Mamoiada carnival.
During this festival ancient Latin and mythological history is relived as people dress like animals and wear grotesque masks or paint their faces black with soot.
The carnival celebrates the dramatic relationship between human, beast, religion and the seasons.