Ghost Villages (5/5): Social and Medical Services, focus on the elderly

If Sardinian authorities centralise everything in three of four cities for the entire island, it would make life even harder for those who would like to remain in the rural communities dotted around,specifically inland.

Previously I mentioned technology as an instrument to bring services into people’s houses and make them accessible using a PC or even a smartphone, which is really important when considering bureaucratic affairs but also the health service. A non emergency helpline, chat service and extensive websites with information in Italian, Sardinian and English on different medical symptoms and first stance remedies could be of great help for the local population as a first step to take before going to the GP or a medical centre in a bigger municipality. The British NHS is a good example that offers this high standard digital/remote service. Obviously many of the elderly would not be able to navigate the system, so to complement the digital portal there should be a hotline where nurses provide initial screening and arrange for the local GP to call them and possibly book an appointment or arrange further care plans.

Another very good thing that Sardinia could learn from the NHS is the way in which Scotland distributes resources on providing localised healthcare. For some aspects parallels can be drawn between Scotland and Sardinia, both in terms of economy, historically agricultural and farming of sheep especially; victims of a failed industrial plan; trying to invest resources in tourism and services; remote communities which are difficult to access; an ageing population. Also historically they are ironically connected as the king of Scotland became king of a united Britain in the same way as the king of Sardinia became king of a united Italy nearly 300 years later.

The strong families and the admirable culture of caring for the elderly within the ‘clan’ (the network extended family plus close friends) allowed the health system to sort of take advantage of the spirit of solidarity found in these rural communities and never really developed a system designed for them.

An improved series of social services and a medical system need to be obviously accompanied by an improved public transport network, as elderly people should not be forced to drive when they do not feel comfortable in doing so and it is also dangerous for some as the golden years have slow reflexes which is not ideal for driving down country lanes.The alternative to driving would be relying on a relative to take you to the bigger centre but why should one have to do that?

With the amount of tax the average Italian citizen pays, it is outstanding to see how public services are lacking. Perhaps government believe there should be a relation tax- in order for Italy to provide a similar standard to Scandinavia or at least Britain, but this is clearly not the case.

More information about ghost villages in Sardinia and Campus Omodeo.

Ghost Villages (4/5): Incentives for Startups and Businesses to Open or Relocate

Many small industries and service based companies could easily move to more rural locations. Disused buildings and farms are abundant ,so opportunities to reconvert those spaces into office space or disused warehouses into small production centres are plenty.


A friend of mine who is a great believer in local and fair trade production, daydreamed about a Sardinian made clothing brand and at first I dismissed him as even I believed he was way too utopian. After thinking it over, I started to reconsider it as a viable option due to the readily available wool produced from a strong sheep herding tradition and also the ideal climate for the growth of cotton plants. Even if it is a bit utopian, I think it fits in perfectly in this series of articles as some are so utopian that they could be considered borderline science fiction. But why should it be impossible to open this business or any other one in Sardinia?


There is a lot of land, many people are unemployed, the island is independent energetically and located in the heart of the Mediterranean, so any sort of production could easily be shipped anywhere. Tunis for Africa, Valencia for the Iberian peninsular, Nice for France and the rest of continental Europe and Izmir or Istanbul for Turkey and the east.


There are some great stories of entrepreneurial genius and resilience that started big businesses on the island. An example of one in a rural setting is SardEx based in Serramanna. It is now a credit circuit with thousands of businesses which trade €31.3 million and is a business centred around promoting businesses and commerce within the island itself. Another example is telecommunications giant Tiscali, based in Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital, the most technologically advanced broadband company in Italy in the late 90s early 2000s. Tiscali was the biggest provider in Italy of internet services and had branches in several other European countries such as UK, Holland and Czech Republic.


The lack of creativity and energy of younger generations of Sardinians is not the problem as, on the contrary, there are a lot of very good ideas on an ‘entrance level’ . The problem is that it is hard to do anything, as new ideas and entrepreneurship is frowned upon by many locals. It is a sort of innate envy towards fellow islanders which prevents cooperation and working together for common goals. The family tradition is strong and trying to change that is not an easy process. The political situation with the main political actors who currently rule the semi-independent regional governments all being descendants or connected to the old barons who controlled the land on a local level for the last 400 years,maintain the status quo. A personal example? The regional minister for tourism, cousin of a former local Sardinian president  and connected to a big wine producing family business, has not replied to her work emails concerning these matters, in nearly 3 months.

It is not all doom and gloom, the University of Cagliari has started a course called ‘Contamination lab’ which is a place in which young university students from different study backgrounds get given the opportunity of growing professionally and learning new skills such as how to develop an entrepreneurial idea,  pitching it, finding funding (from private investors, foundations and public grants) .

These start ups could choose a location in a remote area if there were good transport connections and the technological basis of having fast broadband. After all buying housing and office space is really cheap, food is of very good quality and of local production and the community atmosphere within the villages is very strong. If you add the beautiful nature surrounding them and the strong traditions and identity which these remote communities preserve it would be a great place to work and grow a family.

If you wish to read more ideas on how to solve the ever increasing phenomena problem of ‘Ghost Villages’ in Sardinia check out the start page.

External Link:

More information on Contamination Lab (available in Italian and English) can be found on their official website.

Ghost Villages in Sardinia (2/5): Transport Connections

This part of the series on ideas to counter the increasing ‘Ghost Village’ phenomenon in many rural areas in central Sardinia, is dedicated to transport connections. As you might have figured out from many other posts on this website such as #BusNotturniCagliari campaign, I am a massive believer in public transport. For me this is the most fundamental part in countering this phenomenon and also making the roads safer and less clogged up with traffic and hence this is the longest post in this series. 
When talking about small communities the importance of good transport connections is vital. This can be the ‘make it or break it’ factor when choosing whether to stay or leave the village you grew up in. Whilst in the past the communities rarely needed to move much,now times have changed and so there is the need and wish to be in contact with the rest of the world. 
Whether to go to school, work, see a doctor or to hang out in the cool bar in the neighbouring village, it is important to provide safe roads and reliable, frequent and affordable public transport connections. 
Sardinia has two railway systems: Trenitalia and Ferrovie della Sardegna. Trenitalia is owned by the Italian state whilst Ferrovie della Sardegna is owned by the Sardinian regional authority which also is the owner of ARST, the biggest bus company on the island. The problem is that amongst the many illogical things on the island, there is no cooperation whatsoever between the two transport systems which are still ultimately subsidised by the Sardinian tax payer.
What is my idea?
The network
Well, first of all Trenitalia should run frequent express services between the big cities with very few intermediate stops. Simutaneously there should also be local ‘slow trains’ that run between the two larger stations where the express train stops,connecting those two centres to all the minor communities by stopping at every station.
Ferrovie della Sardegna should also do a similar operation and this must come with a modernisation of its fleet which is still mostly based on the ‘Litorina’ model, originally introduced under Mussolini’s regime with the most recent up-dates in 1970s/80s to most parts of the network. These modern trains with air conditioning, step free access, wifi could also potentially reach higher speeds than the current average of 50 Km/h. Most of these routes are only used in Summer for tourism purposes as the single track route offers beautiful views over the undiscovered inland heart of Sardinia. The modernisation of the fleet would also require a certain amount of maintenance to the tracks and stations adding, for example, information screens with train timetables and ticket machines (possibly available in several languages). Same as Trenitalia, there should be local trains and longer distance ones.
As most of the island ,however,is not connected by the railway network there needs to be a good bus service to integrate with the railway connections ensuring the bus arrives at the station a few minutes before the arrival of the train,and also leaving a few minutes after it departs in order to take the railway passengers onto their final destination with minimal delay. The bus fleet is modern yet really uncomfortable, has no wifi, no card readers to sell tickets onboard and very few cater for handicapped people. As if this wasn’t bad enough the buses are also large which makes it really hard for them to be driven up narrow and winding mountain or coastal roads which characterise more than 80% of the country roads in Sardinia.
To sell the entire fleet and invest in a new one is a must in my view. The waste of public money for these very good looking and modern luxury* buses seen from the outside is sickening (* ‘luxury’ by definition as they all have an espresso machine incorporated on board which has never have been used but is there just to tick the box in order to comply with the definition, this is how low Sardinian politics can get). The new buses beyond being modern (card reader, air conditioning, comfortable seating and Wifi) together with a step free access should be of two types: long and short distance. The long distance ones, which should be used only in areas that are not covered by the railway network, should have a greater capacity maybe even double deckers to maximise the number of people that can be transported by one driver, hence controlling the price of the individual ticket. These buses should run an express service, similar to the one previously mentioned for trains. The local buses should be smaller or even perhaps mini-vans which can move with fewer difficulties, more engine power and faster along the winding roads compared to the current large buses (which in most cases travel half empty). These buses would pick up passengers even from non designated bus stops like a sort of taxi service along the route and do the same for dropping people off. The local drivers, with good road knowledge of the area covered, could even offer to make small detours to accompany people to their door which could be really good for people with reduced mobility and the elderly. This sort of bus system is very popular in Eastern Europe. 
Finally it is important that the bus system must be perfectly integrated with both railway systems. This means an efficient website in several languages where tickets can be purchased online from A to B which would include local buses, trains, coaches and if necessary ferries to the smaller islands. These combined tickets should also be available for purchase via an App and in newsagents, tobacconists and supermarkets across the island. The option to buy tickets on board with a surcharge should also always be guaranteed. 
Offering free travel to all the residents of these communities over the age of 65, handicapped people, children under 16 and reduced fares for students would encourage a more proficient use of these transport networks. 
Throughout this post I have stressed the availability of free wifi but offering this service (when technically possible) would allow businessmen and students to work whilst commuting and other passengers to enjoy entertainment whilst being driven from their rural community to the bigger centres.
This may be a utopian dream but as Walt Disney said ‘all of our dreams can come true – if you have the courage to pursue them’.

Alitalia, 70 Anni di Storia tutta Italiana


Proprio come l’Italia, la Compagnia Aerea Italiana (Alitalia) tende ad avere un ricordo romantizzato del passato come i poeti neoclassicisti del 1800 o gli scellerati che acclamano che si stava bene in Italia nel periodo del fascio perché “quando c’era lui i treni passavano in orario”.

Bello vedere il cambio di divise degli assistenti di volo negli anni ma il regista si è dimenticato di citare qualche importante avvenimento nel corso della storia della ex compagnia di bandiera. Cerco di porre rimedio:

  • 1996 Prodi cede parte delle quote pubbliche alla borsa
  • 2006 Prodi tenta di privatizzare il resto della compagnia, buone trattative in corso col gruppo Air France – KLM
  • 2008 Air France – KLM si ritirano dalle trattative per via della quasi certa vittoria di Berlusconi alle elezioni che voleva ‘mantenere Italiana la ex compagnia di bandiera’.
  • 2008 Alitalia fallisce, il governo divide l’azienda in ‘good’ e ‘bad’ company. La ‘bad company’ se la tiene lo Stato (debituccio per lo Stato Italiano di 2 miliardi di euro). La ‘good company’ viene venduta a degli investitori Italiani che comprano un’azienda con ottimo personale, una nuova flotta e un marchio con reputazione internazionale non indifferente. – 8000 dipendenti Alitalia in meno, cassa integrazione pagata dallo Stato Italiano.
  • 2009 altri 2400 esuberi e tagli di stipendio del 20%. Mi meraviglia il fatto che una cordata di imprenditori Italiani di successo non riescano a far andare avanti una grande azienda essenziale per collegare un Paese abbastanza esteso geograficamente con una popolazione di 60 milioni abitanti con legami internazionali e intercontinentali non indifferenti (dovuti a generazioni di emigrazione nota come la ‘diaspora Italiana’ che tuttora continua).
  • 2014 Nuovamente lo Stato Italiano interviene per salvare l’azienda con l’acquisto di azioni Alitalia da parte di Poste Italiane (spa a capitale pubblico). Questo permette le condizioni necessarie per concludere la vendita di 49% delle azioni al gruppo Ethiad (nel 2008 molti sostenevano Berlusconi che non voleva un favorevole affare con Francesi e ora firmano un accordo con Emiri). Ulteriori tagli al personale.
  • 2017 Alitalia festeggia 70 anni di attività commerciale con un’ottima campagna marketing ed uno sconto del 25% per tutti i voli prenotati in questo periodo per volare su tratte in Italia entro Giugno. I vertici Alitalia sicuramente sono fortemente influenzati dal movimento indipendentista Sardo quindi questo sconto non viene applicato sui voli ‘nazionali’ da e per la Sardegna.


Tutta questa pagliacciata marketing per cercare di velare le grosse difficoltà finanziarie dell’azienda che, secondo una stima Reuters, sta perdendo mezzo milione di Euro al giorno. Nonostante 70 anni di aiuti dato dallo Stato Italiano continuano a non riuscire a decollare.

A questo punto qualcuno si potrebbe chiedere come tutto questo sia possibile, anche io me lo chiedo ma risposte non ne ho. Non voglio fare il ‘Capitan Ovvio’ della situazione ma sicuramente sono state fatte una serie di scelte scellerate nel corso degli anni da diverse persone dell’élite politica politica e del mondo finanziario. Il tutto sembra quasi indicare un intento volere a far fallire questa azienda. Io non voglio credere a queste teorie complottistiche ma ugualmente non mi sento in posizione di dare dell’incapace a onorevoli membri della politica Italiana e imprenditori di successo che hanno fatto carriera meravigliosa grazie al loro ingegno e alle loro capacità gestionali.



Massimo rispetto e solidarietà per il personale Alitalia, vittime di incertezze continue sul loro futuro lavorativo per via del crudele volere degli dei, che indubbiamente sono i soli responsabili della situazione attuale. Un’azienda Italiana con ottime potenzialità globali punita da anni dal volere degli dei.


Fonti date e dati  > Ansa:

Reuters (video – English):

La Continuità Territoriale e l’isolamento della Sardegna


La Sardegna é un’isola e per via dei scarsi collegamenti aerei si sente ancora più isolata nonostante la sua posizione strategica al centro del mediterraneo.

Prima pensavo che la continuità territoriale non servisse ma ora ne capisco i vantaggi che sono diversi:
-numero di voli garantiti, tutto l’anno
-tariffa a prezzo bloccato per i residenti
-flessibilità nel cambiare biglietto o cancellarlo anche all’ultimo
-23kg di bagaglio incluso nella tariffa

Ora l’attuale giunta regionale ha ridotto la continuità solo a Roma Fiumicino e Milano Linate. Molti si stanno lamentando ma a parer mio è stata fatta una cosa giusta. Le altre città possono essere raggiunte in treno o in corriera da Roma o Milano o alternativamente ci sono le compagnie in libero mercato che si fanno concorrenza.

Di recente i giornali hanno registrato la drastica riduzione del numero di voli Ryanair da e per l’isola. La notizia é molto grave ma pagare la compagnia per promuovere certe rotte come in continuità territoriale sarebbe, a parer mio, una spesa inutile.

Quel che servirebbe sarebbe un incentivo ad aumentare il numero di passeggeri in arrivo a gli aeroporti Sardi. Questo lo si potrebbe fare mettendo un target che tutte le compagnie possono aspirare a raggiungere in cui si incoraggiano le stesse a pubblicizzare i voli per la Sardegna e cercare di vendere più biglietti possibili per raggiungere il target annuale. Una volta raggiunto il target la regione potrebbe dare un contributo finanziario alla compagnia aerea sotto forma di rimborso spese per l’impegno della compagnia nel promuovere l’immagine della Sardegna.

Questa sarebbe una mossa che incentiva il libero mercato e anziché favorire una compagnia piuttosto che un’altra le mette tutte sullo stesso piano e le stimola a promuovere il turismo in Sardegna magari con l’utilizzo di campagne promozionali già studiate da Sardegna Turismo.

Vivo Sicuro su #BusNotturniCagliari

Il contributo di Chiara Boi, a nome dell’organizzazione ‘Vivo Sicuro’, sulla tematica di Bus Notturni a Cagliari.


La sicurezza sulla strada è molto più del rispetto di regole e limiti imposti, è la creazione di una coscienza collettiva basata sul rispetto di se stessi e degli altri. A volte è più giusto premere il freno, piuttosto che riprenderti in ‘pista’ quei minuti che hai perso; a volte è giusto rinunciare a quel bicchiere di troppo, per ritornare sicuro a casa; a volte è giusto lasciare a casa la propria vettura, per rendere le strade un po’ più sicure.

E’ difficile creare questo tipo di coscienza, ma è ancora più difficile se mancano gli strumenti. Per questo Vivo Sicuro sostiene iniziative che permettano di rendere gli spostamenti più sicuri ed efficienti.

Chiara Boi

Vivo Sicuro 2013-2014

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Michal su #BusNotturniCagliari

Michal (19 anni), volontario con lo schema dell’Unione Europea ‘Giovani in Azione’ esprime la sua opinione sulla mancanza di collegamenti di trasporto pubblico notturno a Cagliari.

Well, I find it very strange that a touristic city in the Mediterranean doesn’t have any public transport connections after midnight when most of the cultural events hardly ever start earlier than 11 pm and the fact that there are no night buses is one of the main reasons why drunk driving is so widespread (something most of us have experienced personally).

Michal T.

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Carlotta su #BusNotturniCagliari


La spiegazione alla volontà di avere i bus notturni e di ordine pratico: personalmente sarebbe fonte di risparmio, visto il prezzo della benzina e inoltre trovo comodo sedermi nel bus per raggiungere i posti piuttosto che prendere la macchina. è un momento in cui riesco a ritagliare uno spazio per ascoltare musica o leggere un libro. Inoltre credo che se l’obiettivo sia quello di rendere cagliari una città turistica a fronte delle numerose lamentele di alcuni turisti circa la mancanza dei mezzi pubblici la notte e visti i prezzi dei taxi, il Comune dovrebbe seriamente prendere in considerazione questa opzione. Va da se che sarebbe anche un obiettivo da raggiungere per ridurre il traffico cittadino quindi anche una questione di ordine ambientale…. inoltre voglio piste ciclabiliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Carlotta L.


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