Discovering the heart of Sardinia

YiS Team: Carolina Morelli


Friday, October 14th, 2022


Discovering the heart of Sardinia

Skilled hands embroider clothes and rugs on frames, make su filendeu and other traditional pasta and decorate su pani pintau, those of sos maistos carefully craft ceramic vases, add intarsia to arresolzas and create filigree jewelsIn the kitchen of the cortes su carasau are slipped into the oven and pan’e saba, pistiddu and durchicheddos are stuffed. Woodworkers cut the wood to build sas cascias, ironmongers skilfully hammer their wares, farmers crush freshly harvested grapes and shepherds make ricotta cheese. Meanwhile, guests leaning out over the belvedere sample tasty nibbles with full-bodied wine. And they chat to craftsmen, learning about the traditions of the past. Autumn in Barbagia is a trip into the “heart” of Sardinia, an itinerant exhibition of authentic traditions of the Barbagia area. For four months, weekends will see cultural, artisanal traditions and local food and wine showcased. All within the houses “a corte” in villages and towns. Each community with its own speciality.

One starts at Bitti, the homeland of canto a Tenore, a UNESCO heritage. Here the Nuragic civilisation built a unique monument: the sanctuary-village Romanzesu. One then moves onto Oliena: its warm hospitality will take you to discover places that are preserved in time and old churches, textiles and filigree jewellery, pecorino and Nepente. Then Sarule, famous for its fine colourful rugs. The sanctuary of Abini and the village s’Urbale are the Nuragic monuments that have made Teti famous. It was here that the ‘sleeping Venus’ was found, one of the oldest Sardinian works of art. The following weekend there is Austis, a town where the skills and traditions of neighbouring areas meet. During the same days Orani is also on show, the land of skilled artisans, great artists and intellectuals. Closing one month and opening another, there are three towns. Lula, lying at the feet of the huge chalky Monte Albo, the site of prehistoric treasures, industrial archaeology and ancient churches; Orotelli, the land of sos cambales, traditional handmade leather boots, and Dorgali, where the mountains of the Supramonte meet the crystal-clear water of the coastal village of Cala Gonone: you will discover an exceptional variety of landscapes and attractions.

October continues with Tonara, the village of nougat and cowbells (sonaggias), a place to enjoy walks in age-old woods, and Gavoi, a village nestled between mountains and the lake of Gusana. Writers and artists perform on the balconies of its stone houses during the Island of Stories festival. An aura of mystery and surreal silence hover over Lollove, which has inspired many great writers. From mid-October, it is the turn of Onanì, where, next to the Santu Pretu nuraghe, the church of San Pietro was built in the 11th century, Meana Sardo, a village full of legends on the janas, with arched front doors and Spanish-style window frames, and the natural wonders of Orgosolo: the su Suercone chasm and the canyon GorropuMurales decorate its houses, creating an open-air museum. At Sorgono, you will discover the extraordinary line of menhirs of Biru e’ ConcasIn Ottanaanother place that is famous for its artisanal traditions, the carnival masks of Boes and MerdulesThe immense natural heritage of Belvì unfolds between chalky tacchi and Gennargentu. It is the town of is caschettes, delicious cakes for brides. October ends with the fairy-tale landscapes of Aritzo, with woods of chestnuts and carapigna (a delicious sorbet), and with the architectural jewels of the village of graduates, Olzai.

Desulo inaugurates the month of November, that excels in textile craftsmanship, especially finely embroidered shawls. At Mamoiada you will enjoy the intense scent of the vines: it is the land of wine, that will share with you the ancestral rites of Mamuthones and Issohadores. On foot, riding bicycles or on horseback, you will discover the paths of the shepherds. At Ovodda untouched nature, clean air and a healthy climate make this the “village of centenarians”. A Roman road and the paths of transhumance tell of a place that has always seen populations travel. A town symbolising culture and tradition, Nuoro is the Athens of Sardinia. You will enjoy a cultural itinerary around the town’s museums, overlooked by mount Ortobene. At Tiana, genuine products and a sense of community contribute to a healthy and lengthy life. It is famous for its mills and fulling-mills where orbace, Sardinian coarse woollen cloth, is made. In mid-November it is the turn of the colours and light of Atzara. Hiding in a labyrinth of alleys, you will find medieval houses with façades sculpted by sos picapedres. You gaze onto endless vineyards and cherry trees that have inspired many artists. To finish November, Lodine, the new entry of this year’s edition, land of woods, springs and natural monuments, and Ollolai, that according to legend was the abode of Hospito, the king of Barbagia (6th century). Admire its asphodel baskets woven by local women, and s’istrumpa, a form of wrestling perhaps of Nuragic origin.

The wealth of Funtana Raminosa lies behind the history of Gadoni: the Nuragic civilisation extracted copper here, the Cartaginians and the Romans created mines that were re-used in modern times. Following the paths, surrounded by mountains and forests, you will discover magical sights such as the small s’Istiddiosa waterfall. At Oniferi you will be impressed by the popular tradition of canto a tenore that ranges from religious solemnity to romantic melancholy. For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, it is time to turn to the highest village on the island, Fonni, a ski resort where each season has a distinctive colour: peonies, dog roses and purple foxglove frame autumn. The hydraulic engineering of Gremanu and the necropolis of Madau are the main Nuragic sites. Over the same period the Mui Muscas park, the kingdom of the Sardinian ass, shines in Ortueri, and the very tall bell tower of the church of San Nicolò. The tour ends at Orune, with its cork harvest and an extraordinary concentration of prehistoric sites, including the spectacular Nuragic sacred well su Tempiesu.

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