Nuoro

The somewhat shabby provincial capital of Nuoro is on the edge of a gorge in the harsh mountainous area that culminates in Gennargentu, the island's highest massif (6,000 feet). Not much happens here; you can do some (relatively inexpensive) shopping amid strolling locals, or try the local Barbagia sausage, which is great. Just 40 km (25 miles) east of Nuoro is the coastal town of Cala Gonone. Cradled on Orosei Bay, this popular holiday destination has white-sand beaches, mountain views, and the mysterious water caves of Bue Marino.

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