One of the characteristic carnivals of central Sardinia is that of Ottana with the masks of the Boes (animals) and the Merdules (shepherds). It is one of the oldest traditional carnivals of Sardinia.
Every year, fifteen days after Easter, the celebrations in honour of Saint Antiochus, the patron saint of Sant'Antioco, are held. The first time the festivities were organized in 1615 and they span several days. On monday evening there is a procession with men on horseback, carts drawn by oxen and many folkloristic groups showing their traditional clothes and at the end the statue of the saint.
Santa Giusta (OR)
The regatta of Is Fassois is held with traditional boats made of reed used for centuries in the marshes and lagoons of Santa Giusta. The regatta is held once a year on the last weekend of august
The Corsa degli Scalzi is an event held on the first Saturday and Sunday of september. The statue of San Salvatore is carried first from Cabras to San Salvatore and the next day back again, accompanied by hundreds of men in white cloths and barefooted. They run all the way carrying the statue and banner exchanging along the road the bearers of the heavy load.
Every year during the carnival week the event of the Sartiglia is organised at Oristano. This traditional event, that according to history had been organised since 1547-48 in this town, is one of the highlights of carnival in Sardinia.
The Sartiglia of 2014, the Gremio dei Contadini, we attended the first part of the Sartiglia of the sunday
This famous church has been built in 1116 in tuscan-pisan style, around the church the remains of the monastery of the order of Camaldolese. Inside the church in the apse a fresco painting with saints.
The castle of Acquafredda was built in the Middle Ages as a stronghold to control the valley of the Cixerri and the town of Villa di Chiesa, now Iglesias. It once belonged to Ugolino Della Gherardesca count of Donoratico, the pisan count also mentioned in the works of Dante Alighieri.
Medieval churches of Sardinia. Sardinia has many small village or countryside churches dedicated to saints or that have been once part of a convent or monastery, sometimes abandoned, often still used on special occasions.
The church of San Pietro di Sorres was built between 1170 and 1200 as a cathedral for the medieval town of Sorres. The church has a bichrome facade with dark basalt and light limestone. In the fifteenth century the town of Sorres was abandoned and the church would remain in disuse until in 1950 Benedictine monks rebuilt the church and built a monastery. The church can be visited.
Santa Giusta (OR)
Santa Giusta is a fisherman's village on the shore of the lagoon. In the Bronze Age there was a nuraghe of which the remains have been found under the church of Santa Giusta. In punic-roman times it was an important town called Othoca, testified by important archaeological finds. Just outside the village the remains of a roman bridge can be seen. During the Middle Ages, between 1135 and 1145, the basilica of Santa Giusta was built with a particularity namely that several roman columns have been reused. Furthermore every year a regatta is held in the lagoon with Is Fassois, small reed boats typical of the wetlands.
Roman and medieval bridges have been used well into the 20th century in Sardinia before being replaced by more modern constructions. These old bridges can still be found in the landscape of the island.
The prehistorical altar of Monte d'Accoddi was built in two phases at the time of the Culture of Ozieri (4000-3200 BC) and the culture of Filigosa and Abealzu (3200-2700 BC). It has the aspect of a piramid or ziqqurath with an access ramp. Around it there is a large village (not excavated). Interesting features are the menhir, the large stone table and the perfectly oval stone.
San Salvatore is a small hamlet around a church. Each year around august an event takes place where the statue of the saint is brought from San Salvatore to Cabras, the Corsa degli Scalzi. The small church itself is built on top of a prehistoric underground sanctuary, a hypogeum. The sanctuary can be visited and on the walls there are several drawings and paintings left behind in the course of the centuries. Next to the village are the remains of roman baths called Domu 'e Cubas
The archaeological site of Santa Sabina (or Santa Sarbana) consists of a nuraghe with next to it a church, Tombe di Giganti and a nuragic well. The site is very picturesque.
Serra Orrios is a Bronze age settlement with a large number of huts, simple and complex, and two particular structures identified as megaron temples or temples in antis with vestibule. The site was excavated in the thirties of the previous century.
To defend Sardinia against frequent raids and attacks from the Arabs the Spanish built numerous towers along the coasts. Whenever ships were spotted they could warn the population in advance. Many of these towers are still landmarks along the coast and have given their name to the nearby beaches or villages.
The Antiquarium Arborense is the archaeological and historical museum of Oristano. The museum is housed in the Palazzo Parpaglia in the hart of the town. The collection, obtained in the thirties of the previous century from private collections, contains archaeological finds from Tharros and other sites in the province of Oristano, and paintings from the sixteenth and seventeenth century.
This archaeological museum is perhaps with that of Cagliari the most important in Sardinia. Here every important find in northern Sardinia has been gathered, from the earliest prehistory to the middle ages it shows the changes through time in pottery, metal and stone objects that have accompanied the Sardinians in their past.
The small but quite modern archaeological museum of Villasimius is situated in the centre of the town in a historical building. The museum has a collection of maritime archaeological finds from the seas around Villasimius and from prehistorical and historical sites like the punic settlement of Cuccureddus
This fine geological museum of the area of the Monte Arci is located at Masullas in an ex-monastery of the order of friars capuchins and displays the rich mineral resources of this old volcano
The Menhir museum at Laconi has a collection of extraordinary menhirs of 2700-2200 BC found in this part of Sardinia. The museum is located in Palazzo Aymerich, the former residence of an important family of Laconi.
Since prehistorical times mining has been one of the main industries in Sardinia. The Anglo-Sarda mine (Sant'Antonio) at Montevecchio has been transformed into a museum and the first level can be visited with an expert guide, one of the miners that worked there. It is the mine where my father in law has worked in his youth. At the heart of the district the building of the directors of the mines. There is also a small geological museum in the former hospital.
The archaeological museum of Sant'Antioco has a vast collection of artefacts that have been found during the many excavations at the ancient phoenician-punic-roman site of Sulki, presentday Sant'Antioco, and the island. The phoenician and punic collection is of a rare beauty, including fine earthenware and jewellery. Part of the museum is also the Phoenician-punic open air sanctuary, the tophet.
The archaeological museum of Cabras is named after Giovanni Marongiu. In the museum are on display the archaeologcal finds of Cuccuru Is Arrius, a prehistorical settlement, of Tharros, the phoenician-punic and roman town, and of the shipwreck found near the island of Mal di Ventre. Recently the museum has become the home of some of the giant statues of Mont'e Prama, with the most recent statues found during the excavations in 2015 on the site.
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Cagliari can be considered the most important archaeological museum of Sardinia. There is a vast collection of prehistoric and historic artefacts, in particular the many and diverse nuragic bronze statuettes. One of the highlights is a number of the lifesize statues in stone of nuragic warriors from the site of Mont'e Prama. Next to that there is a fine collection of phoenician and punic jewellery and pottery. The museum provides a good insight in all the periods of Sardinian prehistory up to the Middle Ages.
The Ethnographic museum of Sardinia in Nuoro has a fine exhibition of traditional Sardinian costumes, jewellery and typical Sardinian products ranging from knives to launeddas.
The Obsidian Museum is dedicated entirely to the volcanic glass and the use mankind has made of it for cutting tools, arrowheads and scrapers. The Monte Arci is one of the main sources for obsidian and was widely traded in the western Mediterranean in prehistoric times.
Nature and Environment
The island Sardinia has over 1800 kilometers of coast with more than 800 beaches with all different characteristics, either suitable for families with little children or adventurously hidden amidst the rocky coastline.
On the east coast of Sardinia, in a wild and uninhabited part of the island, you can find some of the most beautiful beaches, reachable only by foot or by boat. The most famous is Cala Luna with its white sandy beach against the background of immense natural caves and a canyon carved out by a seasonal river that finds it way to the sea.
The caves of Is Zuddas near Santadi are naturally formed and of the solutional type. The first 500 metres can be visited, with three large halls and many spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
The Giara of Gesturi is a highland plateau. The Giara is a protected natural resource, home to the cavallino of the Giara, the small horses that wander freely about. There is a particular flora due to the ponds in the rainy season. There are remains of numerous nuraghi and villages on the edge of the highland plateau, one of these is the famous protonuraghe of Brunku Madui.
The Gola di Gorropu is a deep canyon in the mountains of several kilometers. At the mouth of the canyon the steep walls tower over fourhundred meters high above. The canyon is considered to be the deepest of Europe. In the dry season the canyon can be entered.
The natural cave of San Giovanni near Domusnovas is one of three natural galleries in Europe with a road (now closed for traffic). The cave is 850 metres long from the southern entrance to the northern entrance.
The natural environment of Sardinia is varied, ranging from white beaches to seas with every shade of blue to rich green colours in the winter and predominantly yellow and brown in the summer, to the many colours of the Sardinian flora in spring.
The Monte Arci is an old volcano standing out as a mountain to the east of the Campidano and the Bay of Oristano. The Monte Arci offers many possibilities for hiking, walking and biking
Piscinas is the name of the natural environment of Sardinia, on the Costa Verde, with the largest dune formation of western Europe. The dunes reach 60 meters in height and extend several kilometers inland.
Su Gologone is an important source where the water surfaces from under the mountain. The source is over 135 meters deep with clear water. The water reverses in the river Cedrino at a few hundred meters from the source. The source and the park around it are declared natural monument.
The Tomba di Giganti of Coddu Vecchju is located near Arzachena, not far from nuraghe Prisgiona. It is a classic example of a Tomba di Giganti with central stele, hemicircle and corridor grave.
The prehistoric necropolis of Anghelu Ruju is one of the largest in northern Sardinia. There are about 38 prehistoric graves similar to Domus de Janas, artifical rock cut chambers. The necropolis is situated near the airport of Alghero in the middle of the historic and fertile region of the Nurra.
The necropolis of Filigosa just outside Macomer has given it's name to the culture of Abealzu-Filigosa (2480-1855 BC). The necropolis consists of a number of Domus de Janas with a long shaft cut out of the rock of a hillside. On top of the hill stands the remains of a single tower nuraghe.
San Giovanni Suergiu (CI)
The necropolis of Is Loccis Santus lies just outside San Giovanni Suergiu and consists of a number of Domus de Janas. At the time we visited the necropolis there had not been any maintenance.
The necropolis of Montessu lies on a hill north of Villaperuccio. The tombs are of the type Domus de Janas, prehistoric chambers cut in the rock. All main types of grave chambers can be found there, in use since 3000 BC up to the bronze age, which makes this necropolis unique in its kind. In more recent times the largest graves have also been used as shelters by shepherds and their families.
The punic necropolis of Cagliari is located on the hill of Tuvixeddu. The necropolis has disappeared largely due to quarrying of the stone in previous centuries, the part that is left is now visitable as a park.
The necropolis of Sant'Andrea Priu consists of a number of Domus de Janas, houses of the fairies. These are articifial caves for burials ranging from small spaces to manhigh complex tombs with a central room and lateral rooms. The most important tomb that can be visited contained also graves of roman times and roman frescoes and it was transformed in an early christian church in the byzantine period with byzantine style frescoes. Unfortunately it is not permitted to take pictures in this magnificent tombe.
Prehistoric burials can be found scattered in the Sardinian landscape. There are artificial caves, called Domus de Janas, and Giants Tombs. Most of the tombs have been emptied since long but sometimes these graves reveal surprising information on prehistoric societies.
The Tomba di Giganti (Giants Tomb) s'Ena de Thomes is a fine example of a bronze age tomb with a central placed arched slab.
Nuraghe Brunku Madui or Brunku Madagui is an archaic or protonuraghe built as a platform with on top a hut. It is situated on the edge of the Giara of Gesturi
Dues Nuraghes or Duos Nuraghes is the site of two nuraghi with remains of a settlement on the north side of Borore. The site has been extensively excavated by the archaeologist G. Webster.
Villanova Tulo (CA)
Nuraghe Adoni, built at a height of 811 meters above sea level, is a complex nuraghe with a main tower and four additional towers, around the nuraghe the remains of a village.
Nuraghe Aiga is a complex nuraghe with bastions and three or four additional towers. The nuraghe can be accessed through a doorway on the second floor as the first floor is still completely interred. The main chamber on the first floor has three niches. Nearby there is also a Tomba di Giganti.
Nuraghe Arrubiu can be considered the largest of the existing nuraghi with about nineteen towers. Because of the lichen the nuraghe is also called the red giant, arrubiu meaning red in the sardic language.
San Vito (CA)
Nuraghe Basoru is a complex nuraghe built in porphyry stone. The central tower is rises 7,5 metres high above the bastions. The access to the central room with a tholos vault 7 metres high is very narrow.
Nuraghe Cobulas is a complex nuraghe with a central main tower and secondary tower separated by a courtyard, around it bastions with five towers. Next to the nuraghe lies the archaeological area of an early medieval settlement, subject to excavations in 2014 and 2015 under the guidance of the archaeologist Maisola.
Nuraghe Cuccurada is a complex nuraghe near Mogoro overlooking the Campidano. The archaeological site with the nuraghe, remains of a village and a megalithic wall, is since 2013 open for public after years of excavations.
Casa Zapata is a sixteenth century residence of a noble family of Aragonese origin. The house is built on a bronze age complex nuraghe brought to light by excavations inside. It is now a museum where you can see the remains of the nuraghe.
Nuraghe Genna Maria is a fine example of a complex nuraghe built in marlstone. The nuraghe is located on a hilltop near Villanovaforru with a splendid view towards the Bay of Oristano and the mountains of the Iglesiente. Around the nuraghe are the remains of a settlement to be seen. In the punic period the nuraghe was used as a sanctuary, many votive statuettes of Kore, the greek divinity of agriculture, have been found during excavations. The archaeological site is also part of the archaeological museum of Villanovaforru.
The archeological site of Nuraghe Iloi near Sedilo consists of a complex nuraghe, a nuragic village, a number of Tombe di Giganti, several Domus de Janas and a Dolmen. The entrance is free, but it is maintained only during the summer months.
Nuraghe Is Paras at Isili is a complex nuraghe built in limestone. The central chamber is 9,9 meters high with a tholos vault, one of the highest chambers known.
The complex nuraghe La Prisgiona (the Prison) is situated near Arzachena. The nuraghe is surrounded by a settlement and has been the object of several recent excavations. The Tomba di Giganti of Coddu Vecchju lies at the foot of the hill. The site is visitable and very well managed.
Nuraghe Losa is an impressive complex nuraghe on the highland plateau of Abbasanta. The structure consists of a central tower and bastions with three additional towers forming a rounded triangle. The nuraghe is situated in a strategic position along the ancient road from the Bay of Oristano to the highlands behind Macomer. Around the nuraghe there are remains of the village that was protected by a wall with gates, and that was inhabited well into the Middle Ages. There is also a small museum that tells the history of the monument with a small exhibition of archaeologcal
The complex nuraghe Lugherras is located in the countryside near Paulilatino. It was one of the nuraghi transformed in a sanctuary for Kore and Demeter. Excavations have been performed in 2006 and 2007.
Nuraghe Mannu is a bronze age nuraghe with a roman settlement. The Nuraghe is situated on the east coast with a wide view of the coast from Calagonone down to the beautiful beaches of Cala Luna and Cala Mariolu
Meana Sardo (NU)
Nuraghe Nolza is a complex nuraghe on the top of a mountain with a splendid view on the surrounding countryside.
Nuraghe Palmavera is a complex nuraghe surrounded by a nuragic village. It is located at the foot of the mountain, near the sea along the road from Alghero to Porto Conte. It is one of the famous nuraghi of Sardinia where extensive archaeological research has been performed.
San Vero Milis (OR)
Nuraghe s'Uraki (or s'Urachi) is a complex nuraghe near San Vero Milis. Archaeological excavations have revealed important finds that established connections with the eastern Mediterranean and with nearby Tharros. Recent excavations have been done by the archaeologists Alfonso Tiglitz and Peter van Dommelen.
Villanova Truschedu (OR)
Nuraghe Santa Barbara is a complex nuraghe near Villanova Truschedu. The nuraghe is reachable by car as long as you close the fences behind you.
Nuraghe Santu Antine can be considered one of the most fascinating bronze age constructions of Nuragic Sardinia. The nuraghe consists of one central tower and three additional towers, long corridors and a central courtyard with a waterwell. Around the nuraghe the remains of a nuragic village can be seen, occupied well into the roman period.
Nuraghe Scalas is a single tower nuraghe near the Costa Rei. Opposite the nuraghe there is a field with menhirs probably from the end of the Neolithic period that would have been used as an astronomical calendar.
Nuraghe Su Mulinu is a complex nuraghe built around an initial protonuraghe situated in a fertile countryside. Central to the nuraghe is the main ellips shaped chamber with a model nuraghe as altar. Around this protonuraghe the additional structures with courtyard, classic nuraghe towers and bastions have been developed. In the punic-roman periode the nuraghe was transformed in sanctuary.
The bronze age towers in Sardinia are called Nuraghi, derived from the root nur which means a hollow heap of stones. That is what most of these towers have been reduced to through thousands of years, but some have remained more or less intact as a witness of this extraordinary period in prehistoric Sardinia. The constructions can be classified as protonuraghe, single tower nuraghe or complex nuraghe of two or more towers.
The archaeological site of Su Nuraxi at Barumini is one of the most famous bronze age costructions of Sardinia largely thanks to the work of the archaeologist Lilliu. The nuraghe is on the list of world heritage of the UNESCO as a representative of all the nuraghi of the island. The archaeological site consists of the nuraghe itself, a complex building with a main tower and bastions with four additional towers that enclose a courtyard with a waterwell, and the settlement with simple and complex huts that was inhabited from the bronze age until well into the roman period.
The archaeological site of Tamuli is situated on the highland plateau near Macomer, an area with a high density of Bronze Age nuraghi. The site itself consists of a nuraghe, the remains of a settlement and three Tombe di Giganti, and six menhirs.
In the middle of the town of Sardara lies the archaeological site of Sant'Anastasia, named after the small church that is part of the site. There is a Bronze Age water sanctuary, a waterwell with a tholos cupola and staircase. Part of the site are also several huts, one a hut of the assemblies, other huts are present under the modern houses around the site. There is also a small archaeological museum at Sardara with a permanent exhibition of the objects found here.
Near Paulilatino along the ss131 lies the archaeological site of Santa Cristina. The site consists of a nuragic sanctuary near a christian church dedicated to Santa Cristina and a nuraghe with settlement. Central to the nuragic sanctuary is the waterwell with a staircase that has been built with smooth walls and mathematical precision unseen elsewhere. The continuity of the sacred character of the place is clear from the presence of the small church and houses, only in use a few days during religious festivities. Nearby there are the remains of the nuragic settlement with a nuraghe and several huts built by shepherds in more recent times.
The site of Santa Vittoria di Serri lies on the edge of one of the highland plateaus, called giara. It is a rich archaeological site with many remains of huts, a sanctuary with a waterwell and a large structure where religious festivities were held. In written sources it is mentioned that the romans surprised the Sards during the festivities and killed many of them burning down their sanctuary. On the edge of the plateau stands the small church of Santa Vittoria.
The town of Aleria (Alalia) on Corsica was first founded by the Phoceans, but right after the battle in the Sea of Sardinia between the Carthaginians and the Greeks in the sixth century BC it was abandoned by them. The Etruscans, allied with the Carthaginians at the time of the battle, refounded Aleria.
Santa Caterina di Pittinuri (OR)
Cornus is the site of a punic-roman town founded in the sixth century BC and that was inhabited until the Middle Ages. Near the town an early christian church was built, called the Columbaris. Of this early christian church remains have been excavated and are visitable as an archaeological site. The site is reachable from the village of s'Archittu, near Santa Caterina di Pittinuri.
Monte Sirai is a punic-roman settlement on the top of the mount Sirai near Carbonia. The site is strategically situated in the middle of the mining districts of the Sulcis and the Iglesiente. The archaeological site consists of the remains of the town and acropolis, a punic and a phoenician necropolis and a tophet. The view from the mountain top is breathtaking.
Nora is the site of a punic-roman town, situated on a peninsula in the south of Sardinia, near Pula. Interesting are the many mosaic floors of the roman period and the small theatre. There are also remains of immens roman baths, a number of tempels and the typical north-african style quarters of the town. Nora is the site where the oldest known inscription of Sardinia was found, with phoenician characters.
In antiquity Sant'Antioco was known under the name of Sulky, originally a phoenician tradepost founded in the eighth century BC near a Bronze Age complex nuraghe. In the town the remains are visible of the punic necropolis, later turned into early christian catacombs under the church of Sant'Antioco. There is an important archaeological museum next to the phoenician-punic open air sanctuary called tophet. In the Middle Ages the name of the town was changed to Sant'Antioco, the early christian martyr. Each year festivities and a procession are held in honour of the saint.
Not far from Fluminimaggiore, in the middle of a green valley in the mountains, lies the temple of Antas. Initially erected in the punic period it was restructured in roman times. The temple is located in the mining area and would have been dedicated to Sardus Pater, according to mythology assimilated with Hercules. The temple has been partly restored and there are nuragic graves and a settlement nearby.
Tharros is the site of a punic-roman town founded in the eighth century BC by the Phoenicians near a Bronze Age settlement and nuraghe. The remains of the town are situated on a peninsula on the north side of the Bay of Oristano. The remains of the town include foundations of temples, roman baths, a roman Castellum Acquae, a phoenician-punic tophet and a artisan quarter. The town became the capital of the Judicate of Arborea until around 1070 AD it was abandoned in favour of Oristano under the pressure of the arab incursions.
Places and towns
Alghero is called Alguer in the local catalan dialect which is still spoken in that part of Sardinia. It has preserved much of the historic walls, the narrow streets and the fishermans port, retaining much of it's characteristics and attractiveness as a mediterranean town.
Bosa is a town on the river Temo, the only navigable river, for about 6 kilometers, of Sardinia. Here you can see the famous castle of the Malaspina. The origins of Bosa was in punic-roman times near the church of San Pietro, on the leftbank of the river Temo, but in the Middle Ages the population moved near the protective walls of the castle. At the mouth of the river Temo lies Bosa Marina where a large Spanish tower watches over the beach.
Cagliari lies in the south of Sardinia and is the capital of the autonomous region Sardegna. There is an important university, the largest airport of Sardinia and the largest port. In antiquity the town was called Karales and even now there are still remains of the punic and roman period, like the punic graves on the hill of Tuvixeddu and the roman amphitheatre. The upper town with its towngates was built in the Middle Ages under Pisan rule but the most characteristic quarter near the port was built in the nineteenth century, the times of the Kongdom of Sardinia with Piedmont.
La Maddalena (OT)
The archipel of La Maddalena lies to the northeast of Sardinia. The main islands are that of La Maddalena and Caprera, reachable by ferry from Palau. The islands are famous for the extraordinary beauty of the beaches and the sea and ofcourse because Garibaldi choose to live there after he had helped unite Italy.
Oristano is the capital of the province of Oristano since 1974. In medieval times it played an important role in the history of the Judicates as the capital of the Judicate of Arborea. It has a picturesque historical center and during Carnival the characteristic event called the Sartiglia takes place in the streets of the town.
San Giovanni di Sinis used to be a fishermens village near the archaeological site of Tharros and the Cape of San Marco. Nowadays it has become a seaside village with bars and restaurants and with a visitors centre of the Area Marina Protetta Penisola del Sinis Isola Mal di Ventre. Of particular interest is the sixth century church built in sandstone and the punic necropolis in the midst of the new houses on the coast. There is a beautiful beach that is also used a lot by kite surfers when there is enough wind.
The archaeological site of Forum Traiani at Fordongianus is situated on the border of the river Tirso. Here a warm water source springs from the volcanic rock and this has been used by the romans to build their baths. Originally the name of the town was Acquae Hypsitanae until under emperor Trajan it was promoted to Forum. The town became an important military center in the late-roman and byzantine period to keep control of inland Sardinia. Just outside Fordongianus as it came to be called in modern times, lies the site of the church of one of the early christian martyrs San Lussorio.
Remains of roman and early medieval Cagliari have been excavated under the church of Sant'Eulalia. After the excavation a new floor has been placed in the church and underneath the remains have been transformed in a visitable excavation.
A roman praetorium along the road from Karales to Turris Libisonis near Marrubiu, a rest place for travellers with roman baths that have given the name to the area, Is Bangius, the baths.
The Villa di Tigellio is an excavated area of roman Cagliari with domus and parts of a thermal complex.It was called Villa di Tigellio after the famous roman poet Tigellio.
Impressions of traditions, folklore, characteristical places of Sardinia from north to south and from east to west.
Flowers on the archaeological site of Tharros, Sardinia, in the month of may 2008.
Li Punti (SS)
Exhibition of the statues of Sardinian warriors found at the site of Mont'e Prama near Cabras after 8 years of restoration to reconstruct the 28 statues and 16 models of nuraghi from over 5000 fragments. The exhibition was first held in december 2011 at Li Punti near Sassari.