The itinerary from Alghero to Oristano can be considered one of the most picturesque in the true sense of the word. This itinerary follows virtually the westernmost ancient roman road that crossed Sardinia from north to south, from Turris Libisonis (presentday Porto Torres) to Othoca (Santa Giusta), although the exact route between Alghero and Bosa has not yet been confirmed. There is a second road passing more inland through the mountainrange and the town of Villanova Monteleone, which can be an alternative itinerary and is very panoramic as well.
In and around Alghero there are many interesting places to visit which would take more than just a day to see them all. The Grotte di Nettuno which you can visit by boat, the Nuraghe Palmavera or the necropolis of Anghelu Ruju not far from Alghero, the beaches and the small town of Fertilia built in the twenties and thirties of the previous century are just a few of the many possibilities. For those that want to explore the island of Sardinia further the itinerary to the south described here is a must.
The first stage of this itinerary goes from Alghero to Bosa along the westcoast. The environment is wild and desolate, the coastline is determined by the mountainslopes and virtually uninhabited. The sea and coast offer wide panoramic views but there are hardly any beaches. When in spring the macchia is in flower and the slopes are all green it is a real paradise. Only passed Torre Argentina, when the road starts descending to the valley of the Temo and the town of Bosa, there is again more human activity to be seen.
The town of Bosa lies a little upstream of the river Temo and is dominated by the great castle of the Malaspina, the rulers of the town for some time in history. The medieval town lies at the foot of the castle, the oldest quarters with the narrow streets and steep stairs are at the highest point. Along the main street you can see the tall houses of the merchants and the rich of the town, Bosa was the main port for the hinterland and an important tannery center. In fact on the opposite bank of the river the old warehouses and abandoned tanneries are still visible. In the past the stench of the ammonia must have been really unbearable here.
Further upstream of Bosa lies the church of San Pietro Extramuros, which was near the location of the ancient punic and roman town of Bosa. The church dates back to 1075 AD and is built in roman style. Around Bosa there are many vineyards, in fact this is region of the Malvasia, a strong liquorous white wine that is usually served as an appetizer.
At the mouth of the river Temo, the only navigable river of Sardinia, lies Bosa Marina. This seaside resort is dominated by the great spanish tower, the largest known on the coasts of Sardinia, that protected the estuary against the attacks of the Arabs in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The tower has now become the domain of the many sparrows that roam the beaches in search of breadcrumbs left by the bathers. Bosa Marina is also the end of the line of the trenino verde that runs to Macomer and it is possible to go on excursions in boat up the river to the church of San Pietro Extramuros, out on sea to the island of Mal di Ventre or along the coast.
The second stage of the itinerary goes from Bosa to Cuglieri and Santa Caterina di Pitinuri, passing through the village of Tinnura with it's characteristic murales on the life and crafts of rural Sardinia. In their doorstep old ladies sit on characteristic low chairs twining baskets in the old fashioned way. Inside they will show you all kinds of baskets, from small to large containers, all originally designed for the many tasks in the household and the work in the fields.
Cuglieri is a particular nice town, high up on the slopes of the Monti Ferru. From the main square in front of the cathedral, at the highest point of Cuglieri, the view is breathtaking when looking out over the peninsula of Sinis and beyond to the island of Mal di Ventre to the south and all the way back to Bosa in the north. From Cuglieri the road descends rapidly to the coast in an almost straight line.
The village of Santa Caterina di Pittinuri, with the hamlets s'Archittu and Torre su Puttu (one of the many locations of spanish guard towers), lies along the coast and is very much in vogue for a day at the beach. The white chalkstone coast contrasts beautifully with the blue-green of the sea, the blue of the sky or the green of the mountains behind. Inbetween the chalkstone promontories are small bays with beaches of sand and rock. S'Archittu is a natural arch cut out in the chalkstone by the erosion of the seawater and lies at ten minutes walk from the hamlet s'Archittu.
Less clear are the indications for Cornus, the ancient punic town with the early christian church, as there is not a maintained and visitable archaeological site. It lies at the end of a sandy road that winds up the hills inland, but the road is difficult to spot without a good map. Of the Punic town there are no remains that can be seen, it is limited to the foundations of the baptismal church, once the seat of one of the bishops of Sardinia.
The last stage of this itinerary goes from Santa Caterina di Pittinuri to Oristano. On the left lie the woods of pinetrees that mark the northside of the peninsula of Sinis at Is Arenas. The road continues through rural villages like Riola Sardo and Nurachi to the bridge that crosses the river Tirso. It is all very fertile countryside with a variety of agricultural products like artichoke. At the other side of the Tirso lies Oristano, the capital of the province of Oristano.
Circumstances in reality can be different due to specific situations or changes on the roads. See also the disclaimer
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.
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.
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.