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sheep,[123] almost half of the entire Italian assets and that makes the island one of the areas of the world with the highest density of sheep along with some parts of UK and New Zealand (135 sheep every square kilometer versus 129 in UK and 116 in New Zealand). Sardinia has been for thousands of years specializing in sheep breeding, and, to a lesser extent, goats and cattle that is less productive of agriculture in relation to land use. It is probably in breeding and cattle ownership the economic base of the early proto-historic and monumental Sardinian civilization from Neolithic to the Iron Age.

Campidano near Cagliari

Even agriculture has played a very important role in the economic history of the island, especially in the great plain of Campidano, particularly suitable for wheat farming. The Sardinian soils, even those plains are slightly permeable, with aquifers of lacking and sometimes brackish water and very small natural reserves. Water scarcity was the first problem that was faced for the modernization of the sector, with the construction of a great barrier system of dams, which today contains nearly 2 billion cubic meters of water.[124] The Sardinian agriculture is now linked to specific products such as cheese, wine, olive oil, artichoke, tomato for a growing product export. The reclamations have helped to extend the crops and to introduce other ones such as vegetables and fruit, next to the historical ones, olive and grap

Even agriculture has played a very important role in the economic history of the island, especially in the great plain of Campidano, particularly suitable for wheat farming. The Sardinian soils, even those plains are slightly permeable, with aquifers of lacking and sometimes brackish water and very small natural reserves. Water scarcity was the first problem that was faced for the modernization of the sector, with the construction of a great barrier system of dams, which today contains nearly 2 billion cubic meters of water.[124] The Sardinian agriculture is now linked to specific products such as cheese, wine, olive oil, artichoke, tomato for a growing product export. The reclamations have helped to extend the crops and to introduce other ones such as vegetables and fruit, next to the historical ones, olive and grapes that are present in the hilly areas. The Campidano plain, the largest lowland Sardinian produces oats, barley and durum, of which is one of the most important Italian producers. Among the vegetables, as well as artichokes, has a certain weight the production of oranges, and, before the reform of the sugar sector from the European Union, the cultivation of sugar beet.

Peeled trunks of cork oaks in In the forests there is the cork oak, which grows naturally; Sardinia produces about 80% of Italian cork. The cork district, in the northern part of the Gallura region, around Calangianus and Tempio Pausania, is composed of 130 companies. Every year in Sardinia 200,000 quintals (20,000 tonnes) of cork are carved, and 40% of the end products are exported.

In fresh food, as well as artichokes, the production of tomatoes (including Camoni tomato) and citrus fruit are of a certain weight. Sardinia is the 5th Italian region for rice production, the main paddy fields are located in the Arborea Plain.[125]

In addition to meat, Sardinia produces a wide variety of cheese, considering that half of the sheep milk produced in Italy is produced in Sardinia, and is largely worked by the cooperatives of the shepherds and small industries.[126] Sardinia also produces most of the pecorino romano, a non-original product of the

In fresh food, as well as artichokes, the production of tomatoes (including Camoni tomato) and citrus fruit are of a certain weight. Sardinia is the 5th Italian region for rice production, the main paddy fields are located in the Arborea Plain.[125]

In addition to meat, Sardinia produces a wide variety of cheese, considering that half of the sheep milk produced in Italy is produced in Sardinia, and is largely worked by the cooperatives of the shepherds and small industries.[126] Sardinia also produces most of the pecorino romano, a non-original product of the island, much of which is traditionally addressed to the Italian overseas communities. Sardinia boasts a centuries-old tradition of horse breeding since the Aragonese domination, whose cavalry drew from equine heritage of the island to strengthen their own army or to make a gift to the other sovereigns of Europe.[127] Today the island boasts the highest number of horse herds in Italy.[128]

There is little fishing (and no real maritime tradition), Portoscuso tunas are exported worldwide, but primarily to Japan.

The once prosperous mining industry is still active though restricted to coal (Nuraxi Figus, hamlet of Gonnesa),[129] antimony (Villasalto), gold (Furtei), bauxite (Olmedo) and lead and zinc (Iglesiente, Nurra). The granite extraction represents one of the most flourishing industries in the northern part of the island. The Gallura granite district is composed of 260 companies that work in 60 quarries, where 75% of the Italian granite is extracted. The principal industries are chemicals (Porto Torres, Cagliari, Villacidro, Ottana), petrochemicals (Porto Torres, Sarroch), metalworking (Portoscuso, Portovesme, Villacidro), cement (Cagliari), pharmaceutical (Sassari), shipbuilding (Arbatax, Olbia, Porto Torres), oil rig construction (Arbatax), rail industry (Villacidro),[130][131] arms industries at Domusnovas[132][133] and food (sugar refineries at Villasor and Oristano, dairy at Arborea, Macomer and Thiesi, fish factory at Olbia).

In Sardinia is located the DASS (Distretto Aerospaziale della Sardegna), a consortium of companies, research centers and universities focused on aerospace industry and research.[134][135][136] The aerospace manufacturer Vitrociset, in Villaputzu, is involved in the production of the stealth multirole fighter Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[137][138]

Plans related to industrial conversion are in progress in the main industrial sites, like in Porto Torres, where seven research centres are developing the transformation from traditional fossil fuel related industry to an integrated production ch

In Sardinia is located the DASS (Distretto Aerospaziale della Sardegna), a consortium of companies, research centers and universities focused on aerospace industry and research.[134][135][136] The aerospace manufacturer Vitrociset, in Villaputzu, is involved in the production of the stealth multirole fighter Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[137][138]

Plans related to industrial conversion are in progress in the main industrial sites, like in Porto Torres, where seven research centres are developing the transformation from traditional fossil fuel related industry to an integrated production chain from vegetable oil using oleaginous seeds to bio-plastics.matrica green chemicals[139][140]

Sardinia is involved in the industrial production of the AIRPod, an innovative car powered by compressed air, with the first factory being built in Bolotana.[141][142][143][144]

Craft industries include rugs, jewelry, textile, lacework, basket making and coral.

The Sardinian economy is today focused on the overdeveloped tertiary sector (67.8% of employment), with commerce, services, information technology, public administration and especially on tourism (mainly seaside tourism), which represents the main industry of the island with 2,721 active companies and 189,239 rooms. In 2008 there were 2,363,496 arrivals (up 1.4% on 2007). In the same year, the airports of the island registered 11,896,674 passengers (up 1.24% on 2007).[145]

Due to its isolated and insular location, Sardinia focused part of its economy on the development of digital technologies since the dawn of internet era: the first Italian website, one of the first webmail system and one of the first and largest internet providers (Video On Line) were realised by the CRS4,[146][147] the first European online newspaper was developed by L'Unione Sarda[148][149] and also the first Italian UMTS company was founded on the island. Today Sardinia is the second Italian region, after Lombardy, for investments in startups (owning the 20% of the Italian venture capital).[150]CRS4,[146][147] the first European online newspaper was developed by L'Unione Sarda[148][149] and also the first Italian UMTS company was founded on the island. Today Sardinia is the second Italian region, after Lombardy, for investments in startups (owning the 20% of the Italian venture capital).[150][151]

On the island are headquartered some telecommunication companies and internet service providers, such as Tiscali and the Mediterranean Skylogic Teleport, a ground station controlled by satellite provider Eutelsat.[152] Sardinia is the Italian region with the highest e-intensity index after the Aosta Valley[153][154] (index measuring the relative maturity of Internet economies on the basis of three factors: enablement, engagement, and expenditure) and the region with the highest internet performances, such as fastest broadband connection in Italy.[155] Sardinia is also the Italian region with the highest percentage (41%) of 4G LTE users.[156] The Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems companies ZTE and Huawei have development centers and innovation labs in Sardinia.[157]

Sardinia has become Europe's first region to fully adopt the new Digital Terrestrial Television broadcasting standard. From 1 November 2008 TV channels are broadcast only in digital.[158]

Transport

Airports

Sardinia has three international airports (Alghero-Fertilia/Riviera del Corallo Airport, Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport and Cagliari-

Sardinia has become Europe's first region to fully adopt the new Digital Terrestrial Television broadcasting standard. From 1 November 2008 TV channels are broadcast only in digital.[158]

Sardinia has three international airports (Alghero-Fertilia/Riviera del Corallo Airport, Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport and Cagliari-Elmas Airport) connected with the principal Italian cities and many European destinations, mainly in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Spain and Germany, and two regional airports (Oristano-Fenosu Airport and Tortolì-Arbatax Airport). Internal air connections between Sardinian airports are limited to a daily Cagliari-Olbia flight. Sardinian citizens benefit from special sales on plane tickets, and several low-cost air companies operate on the island.

Air Italy (formerly known as Meridiana) was an airline headquartered in the airport of Olbia; it was founded as Alisarda in 1963 by the Aga Khan IV. The development of Alisarda followed the development of Costa Smeralda in the northeast part of the island, a we

Air Italy (formerly known as Meridiana) was an airline headquartered in the airport of Olbia; it was founded as Alisarda in 1963 by the Aga Khan IV. The development of Alisarda followed the development of Costa Smeralda in the northeast part of the island, a well known vacation spot among billionaires and film actors worldwide.

The ferry companies operating on the island are Tirrenia di Navigazione, Moby Lines, Corsica Ferries - Sardinia Ferries, Grandi Navi Veloci, SNAV, SNCM and CMN; they link the Sardinian seaports of Porto Torres, Olbia, Golfo Aranci, Arbatax, Santa Teresa Gallura, Palau and Cagliari with Civitavecchia, Genoa, Livorno, Naples, Palermo, Trapani, Piombino in Italy, Marseille, Toulon, Bonifacio, Propriano and Ajaccio in France and Barcelona in Spain.

A regional ferry company, the Saremar, links the main island to the islands of La Maddalena and San Pietro, and from 2011, also the port of Olbia with Civitavecchia and Porto Torres with Savona.

About 40 tourist harbours are located along the Sardinian coasts.

Roads

Saremar, links the main island to the islands of La Maddalena and San Pietro, and from 2011, also the port of Olbia with Civitavecchia and Porto Torres with Savona.

About 40 tourist harbours are located along the Sardinian coasts.