Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus) and an autonomous region of Italy. The nearest land masses are (clockwise from north) the island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia, the Balearic Islands and Provence.
The region has its capital in its largest city, Cagliari, and is divided into eight provinces. All local languages (Sardinian, Sassarese, Gallurese, Catalan Algherese and Tabarchino) enjoy "equal dignity" with Italian each in the concerned territory by a regional law.
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 23,821 square kilometres (9,197 sq mi). It is situated between 38° 51' and 41° 15' latitude north and 8° 8' and 9° 50' east longitude. To the west of Sardinia is the Sea of Sardinia, a unit of the Mediterranean Sea; to Sardinia's east is the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is also an element of the Mediterranean Sea.
The coasts of Sardinia (1,849 kilometres (1,149 miles) long) are generally high and rocky, with long, relatively straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, rias, many inlets and with various smaller islands off the coast.
The island has an ancient geoformation and, unlike Sicily and the mainland of Italy, is not earthquake-prone. Its rocks date from the Palaeozoic Era (up to 500 million years old). Due to long erosion processes the island's highlands, formed of granite, schist, trachyte, basalt (called jaras or gollei), sandstone and dolomite limestone (called tonneri or "heels"), average at between 300 to 1,000 metres (984 to 3,281 feet). The highest peak is Punta La Marmora (1,834 m (6,017 ft)), part of the Gennargentu Ranges in the centre of the island. Other mountain chains are Monte Limbara (1,362 m (4,469 ft)) in the northeast, the Chain of Marghine and Goceano (1,259 m (4,131 ft)) running crosswise for 40 kilometres (25 miles) towards the north, the Monte Albo (1,057 m (3,468 ft)), the Sette Fratelli Range in the southeast, and the Sulcis Mountains and the Monte Linas (1,236 m (4,055 ft)). The island's ranges and plateaux are separated by wide alluvial valleys and flatlands, the main ones being the Campidano in the southwest between Oristano and Cagliari and the Nurra in the northwest.
Sardinia has few major rivers, the largest being the Tirso, 151 km (94 mi) long, which flows into the Sea of Sardinia, the Coghinas (115 km) and the Flumendosa (127 km). There are 54 artificial lakes and dams which supply water and electricity. The main ones are Lake Omodeo and Lake Coghinas. The only natural freshwater lake is Lago di Baratz. A number of large, shallow, salt-water lagoons and pools are located along the 1,850 km (1,150 mi) of the coastline.