On the central-western coast of Sardinia we find a small island of about 2km, uninhabited. Its nature and its landscapes make it an enchanting oasis and a unique place to spend a different day. Originally it was called “Malu Entu” in Sardinian that translated would be "bad wind", today is “Mal di Ventre”, in English “stomach ache”. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding or misinterpretation in fact the name was attributed to the persistent winds, mainly mistral, which often make navigation on its side dangerous.
Yet, we find remains of a nuraghe, other ruins and wells for the collection of water of Roman origin that show that the island was once inhabited. It is five miles from Capo Mannu and is part of the protected marine area of the Sinis peninsula, in the territory of Cabras, which also includes the nearby rock called “il Catalano”.
The west coast of the island is predominantly high and rocky and does not offer safe landing as it is exposed to the mistral wind, which in this part of the island is particularly intense. On the eastern coast, instead, we find enchanting coves with sandy beaches or quartz sand, such as Cala Valdaro, very similar to Mari Ermi, which is opposite to it, Punta Libeccio and Cala dei Pastori, all easily accessible.
The seabed is ideal for diving, habitat of crustaceans, mollusks and numerous fish: barracuda, groupers, corvine, sea bream. Dolphins often appear. It is not by chance that the site is of community interest and a special protected area. Fishing is strictly prohibited.
The unpredictability of the sea has produced in the near depths a cemetery of wrecks: Roman ships, Spanish ships, of the twentieth century and many boats. In the “Denti di Libeccio”, to the west, at 27 meters depth, an amazing discovery was made: a 36 meter Roman wreck sunk between 80 and 50 BC with two thousand lead ingots. In “Cala dei Pastori” there is the wreck of a ferry, while in the north, in the “Formiche di Maestrale”, appears Joyce, a boat from Cagliari who sank in 1973.
For birdwatchers, the island is a strategic passage where various birds nest, in fact we find the queen's hawk, tuft, berte and seagulls.
The island of Mal di Ventre is easily reachable every day from 1 June until 30 September (sea permitting), thanks to the marine taxi service, consisting of boats with about 15 seats. The departures take place in the long sea of Putzu Idu in the marina of San Vero Milis.