You’re looking for a brilliant Italian break without the noise and stress of the mainland. Sardinia has some of the Mediterranean’s most seductive beaches, yet within tootling distance of some great restaurants, agreeable bars and the soothing evening ritual of the passeggiata. Mention Sardinia and most people think of the glitz of the Costa Smeralda but there’s plenty more. The Costa Smeralda itself is a tiny strip of coast studded with elite hotels, five-star beaches and Beverly Hills-type shops, but if swish ain’t your thing you’ll also find acres of swimming spots to die for on every coast without the superstar pretensions. When you’ve had your fill of those, there’s plenty more to divert you: the magnificent rugged landscape of the granite interior, the fabulous seafood and, for history buffs, the strange and evocative remnants of Sardinia’s ancient nuraghic culture, not to mention a scattering of Carthaginian and Roman ruins, Pisan churches and Spanish Baroque.