Sardinia,(Italian:Sardegna), a political division of Italy and the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is 150 miles (240 km) west of mainland Italy and just south of the French island of Corsica. Sardinia is largely mountainous except in the west and southwest. Its area is 9,301 square miles (24,090 km2), including offshore islands. The climate is Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters; annual rainfall is about 24 inches (610 mm).

Despite Italian government efforts to improve agriculture and develop industry, Sardinia is one of Italy's poorest regions. The economy is agricultural, with heavy dependence on the raising of sheep, goats, and wheat; grapes, olives, and cork are also of some importance. There is some commercial fishing, food processing, and light manufacturing, but most goods must be imported from mainland Italy.

Compared to all of Italy, Sardinia is thinly populated, with a population density only slightly higher than one-third the national average. The population in 1991 was 1,648,248; Cagliari, the capital and chief seaport, had 203,254 inhabitants. The people speak Sardinian, a Romance language similar to Italian. Nearly all are Roman Catholic.

Sardinia's history is one of successive foreign conquests. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines in turn had control, followed by Pisa and Genoa, until Aragon gained supremacy in the 15th century. In 1713 the island passed to Austria, but it was soon transferred to the Duke of Savoy, who made it part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In 1861 Sardinia became part of a unified Italy.