One of the five regions with a special status in the Italian Republic and one of the two located on the islands (the other is Sicily). Sardinia occupies the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea; it is situated to the west of Italy's continental territory and separated from it by the Tyrrhenian Sea. Through the narrow strait to the north of the island lies Corsica (France). Sardinia's area is second largest in Italy after Sicily; its population size is three times less than Sicily's (about 1.639 thousand, 2.8% of the country total).
For statistical purposes, Sardinia, together with Sicily, is included in one of the five macroregions of the Italian state, often referred to as the cultural and geographical macroregion of Southern Italy (Italy - Mezzogiorno). However, economically, the island is more developed than Sicily and most of the other southern Italian regions. Likewise, Sardinia also differs from them historically and culturally, with ethnicity being a salient feature of regional identity.
Sardinia was part of the Sardinian Kingdom (with its capital in Turin), which was the basis for the establishment of a unified Italy in 1861. Consequently, the province has been part of the Italian state since its inception. The region gained special status in the process of Italian Republic formation due to its remote location, salient ethnic identity, and the presence of separatist movements. The autonomous status was enshrined in the Constitution and constitutional law in 1948.
The title group is Sardinians. The Sardinian language (of Roman origin) is officially a subject to protection and development; it is widespread, but inferior to Italian as a language of everyday communication and public service. Most inhabitants (52%) use national Italian language within the family circle (National Institute of Statistics of Italy data). At the same time, studies show that the Sardinian identity has a territorial-cultural nature, in which the linguistic heritage is only one of the elements. In addition to the Sardinian, the inhabitants speak the Catalan, Corsican, and other languages.
Autonomist and separatist issues are of relative significance in the regions' political sphere. There exists a spectrum of ethno-regional parties in Sardinia, both left and right. The high degree of electoral fragmentation, however, prevents them from playing an important role in political processes.