The third route described here passes through the Marmilla and the province of Medio-Campidano. The Marmilla is an accidented and fertile countryside with many orchards, vineyards and in the valleys and plains arable lands. It is therefore not surprising that right here some of the most important prehistorical sites can be found, not in the least that of Barumini, listed by the UNESCO as world heritage. But worth mentioning is also the pan-Sardic sanctuary of Santa Vittoria di Serri that had more than just a local significance for the Sards. The itinerary touches on another important nuraghe, that of Genna Maria, and a water sanctuary at Sardara. There are ofcourse many more sites, museums and a medieval castle, at Sanluri, that can be visited in this part of Sardinia, these may not be included in the current description but there are many signs and indications pointing to the different sites and there is a specific itinerary indicated to visit all the important nuraghi of the territory.
The first part of the itinerary begins in Oristano and, following the ss131 "Carlo Felice" south, runs past the Monte Arci to Sardara. Leaving the ss131 at the exit for Sardara follow the roadsigns for the town centre and do not follow those of the Terme di Sardara because that is a modern healthcenter. The archaeological site of Sardara is located in the middle of the town next to the small church of Sant'Anastasia. It comprises part of a nuragic village and a water sanctuary. Because of it's location only part of the nuragic village could be excavated. Half an hour should be enough to visit the site and the small church.
The second part of the itinerary goes from Sardara to the nuraghe Genna Maria near the town of Villanovaforru. The nuraghe lies on the top of a hill and belongs to the type of complex nuraghi with several towers. Because it was built with a kind of rock (marl) that is subject to erosion the nuraghe has been largely destroyed in the course of time. Already in ancient times the people had to repair the nuraghe. The plan of structure can be clearly seen and also the later roman houses around it are clearly visible. From the hilltop there is a splendid view of the surroundings and you can see the Bay of Oristano and the mountains of the Iglesiente on the other side of the Campidano.
The third part of this itinerary goes from Villanovaforru to Barumini, through the hills and the plains of the Marmilla until it reaches the foot of the Giara di Gesturi, a highland plateau on the east side of the Marmilla. Su Nuraxi, literally "the Nuraghe" in Sardinian, is listed by the UNESCO as world heritage. This has been largely the work of the most important archaeologist of the Sardinian Bronze Age, Giovanni Lilliu, who not only excavated this nuraghe but has also been the author of numerous works on the Sardinian prehistory in the past decades.
A visit, with a guide, will take more than an hour. The guide will lead you to the darkest corners and the highest points of the nuraghe. It is very impressive to enter the nuraghe, but almost as impressive is the view of the surrounding countryside and it' geological formations.
The fourth part of the itinerary goes to the main sanctuary of the Sards on top of another highland plateau (giara), that of Serri. The secondary road from Barumini to Gerrei was in 2007 part of the Giro d'Italia, and it runs through fertile hills to the foot of the giara itself. To access the giara there is only one road that starts in Serri and finishes on the edge of the plateau.
The site of Santa Vittoria di Serri consists of a number of structures spread across the furthermost part of the Giara. The most important are the waterwell itself and the Recinto delle Feste, the enclosed oval structure with huts and booths and a porticus, used during religious feasts which would span several days. There are remains of a proto-nuraghe and huts near the small church of Santa Vittoria and a hut of the assemblies, like the ones found at Barumini and Santa Cristina. To see all of the site will take an hour and a half and it is advisable not to visit the site under the burning sun, even though some parts are shaded.
Serri is the last site in this route description. From here it is about 90 kilometers back to Oristano. You can take the same road back to Barumini for the last stage, or decide to go to Sanluri to reach the ss131.
Circumstances in reality can be different due to specific situations or changes on the roads. See also the disclaimer
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 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.
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.
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.
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.