Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and before Cyprus) and an autonomous region of Italy. It is located in the Western Mediterranean, just south of the French island of Corsica.
The region's official name is Regione Autonoma della Sardegna / Regione Autònoma de Sardigna (Autonomous Region of Sardinia), and its capital and largest city is Cagliari. It is divided into four provinces and a metropolitan city. Its indigenous language and the other minority languages (Sassarese, Corsican Gallurese, Algherese Catalan and Ligurian Tabarchino) spoken by the Sardinians enjoy "equal dignity" with Italian under regional law.
The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *s(a)rd-, later romanised as sardus (feminine sarda). It makes its first appearance on the Nora Stone, where the word Šrdn testifies to the name's existence when the Phoenician merchants first arrived. According to Timaeus, one of Plato's dialogues, Sardinia and its people as well might have been named after Sardò, a legendary woman born in Sardis, capital of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia.There has also been speculation that identifies the ancient Nuragic Sards with the Sherden, one of the Sea Peoples. It is suggested that the name had a religious connotation from its use also as the adjective for the ancient Sardinian mythological hero-god Sardus Pater "Sardinian Father" (in modern times misunderstood as being "Father Sardus"), as well as being the stem of the adjective "sardonic".