The Sunday Times

Where to buy property right now in France, Spain and Italy

Cathy Hawker Sunday August 27 2023, 12.01am BST, The Sunday Times

Rebecca Lewis came to Sardinia from the UK in 1995

Italy: Sardinia

The second-largest island in the Med (after Sicily), where residents are easily outnumbered by sheep, Sardinia has a rugged, mountainous interior encircled by bleached sand beaches and turquoise sea. The high-gloss international playground of Costa Smeralda and Porto Cervo in the northeast is matched by sleepy villages, historic towns and national parks.

‘I planned to stay for six months. I’m still here 28 years later’

“I came to Sardinia from the UK in 1995 planning to stay for six months and learn Italian. I’m still here 28 years later,” says Rebecca Lewis Lalatta, 51. She married and raised her two sons William and Thomas, 24 and 22, living in Castello, Cagliari’s old town in the south of the island. In 2018 she set up Rebecca in Sardinia, a bespoke rental business with 150 properties, most of which were around Porto Cervo and Costa Smeralda.

“There’s something magical about Sardinia,” she says. “The size of the island with just over 1.5 million inhabitants means there’s so much extra space here. We don’t sit in traffic jams and if you want nature you can easily travel to the most extraordinary places and not see a soul.”

Leisure activities include horse riding, walking with her dog Remy in the Sette Fratelli nature reserve, about an hour from Cagliari, and days out at her favourite beaches, Cala Sinzias and Cala Pira to the east and Chia and Tuerredda to the west.