Sites and events Nuraghe Genna Maria

Nuraghe Genna Maria

Nuraghe Genna Maria

Villanovaforru (VS)

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.

Nuraghe Genna Maria

The complex nuraghe Genna Maria is built on the top of the highest hill in the historical region of the Marmilla, on the road from Collinas to Villanovaforru. From this hilltop there is a magnificent view of the whole Bay of Oristano, which explains also the name of the nuraghe: gateway to the sea. The nuraghe is one of the bronze age complexes that in punic-roman times was transformed into a sanctuary dedicated to Kore and Demeter. This and the fact that is was built with blocks of marl stone makes it a special site.
This archaeological site and the museum of Villanovaforru are managed by a cooperation.

In order to visit the nuraghe a scaffolding has been placed on top of the building which makes it possible to view the rooms and corridors from above. The various phases in building the complex nuraghe are similar to that of the nuraghe Su Nuraxi at Barumini. The central tower was built in the secobnd millennium BC and the three secondary towers around it were added by the end of the millennium. After that the whole complex was reinforced with thick walls that closed the openings until then visible from the outside, the so-called loopholes. In the ninth century BC a secondary wall with smaller towers was built around the complex nuraghe as an extra defense system. The village remains date back to the punic-roman period.

Because of the use of marl as a building material which is subject to erosion in a very early stage the nuraghe had to be repaired and restructured. Archaeological research revealed furthermore that the complex nuraghe was devastated by a fire and abandonded somewhere in the eight century BC, the cause has not been discovered. Only in punic and roman times the site was reoccupied again and the nuraghe was transformed into a rural sanctuary dedicated to Kore and Demeter. In fact in the central tower excavations revealed a large amount of votive lamps. All finds from excavations by archaeologists like Ubaldo Badas, Enrico Atzeni and Caterina Lilliu have been put on display at the museum of Villanovaforru.

The rectangular structures belong to houses of punic and roman times, or even from later periods. It is known that until well into the 6th and the 7th century AD the site continued to be used as a pagan shrine, even though christianity had long been introduced as the main religion.


1. Lilliu,G. 2003: La civiltà dei Sardi dal paleolitico all'età dei nuraghi, Nuoro
2. Lilliu, G. 2006, Sardegna Nuragica, Nuoro
3. Spanu, P.G. 1998, La Sardegna bizantina tra VI e VII secolo, Oristano
4. Van Dommelen, P. 1998, On Colonial Grounds, Leiden

Address: Viale dei Lecci, Villanovaforru

Tel: 070 9300050/48

Openingtimes: In the morning 9.30-13.00 and in the afternoon in the summer 15.30-19.00 and in the winter 15.30-17:00/18:00; closed on Monday

Prices: Euro 2,50 Nuraghe Genna Maria, Euro 3,50 museum (Euro 5,00 nuraghe + museum); reduced Euro 2,00 Nuraghe, Euro 2,50 museum (Euro 4,00 nuraghe + museum)

Website: Nuraghe and museum Genna Maria

Maintained by Turismo in Marmilla cooperativa a r.l. Also guided tours

The information has been updated for 2019 but prices and opening hours may vary.

Last updated 26/04/2016

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