If you like to seek out the esoteric, explore the rugged, inland hills and town of Carbonia, about an hour by car or train from Cagliari. Built in 1938 by Mussolini to serve as an administrative center of a once booming coal mining area, its time-frozen architecture—ordered rows of workers' houses around a core of monumental public buildings on the broad Piazza Roma— has been called an urban UFO set down in the Sardinian landscape. The Dopolavoro, on the piazza, was
a fascist institution that organized coal workers' free time for them. Managers lived closest to the city center, while laborers lived in the shantytowns on the outskirts. Carbonia's coal industry was short-lived, and the enormous mines are long since abandoned; just outside of town you can hear the wind whistle through their ghostly shells among rows of still-inhabited public housing projects. You can also tour the underground tunnels of the Grande Miniera di Serbariu.