5 - The nuragic complex of Barumini 39.706124, 8.990645 in West Sardinia, is the most important and complete archaeological site in Sardinia. It is composed by some central megalithic towers which bring to mind in the appearance and in the functions the medieval castles. Around there is an extended stone village with wooden covers, similar to the present “pinnetas”( old pastoral conical buildings) of the pastoral settlements. It has been built in the 17th century BC and inhabited till the Punic-Roman period (V°- I° secolo a.c.). The distinctive trait of this site is that village and Nuraghe are entirely visitable.
6 - Las Plassas castle, 39.684592, 8.980783 built in 1172 and permanently abandoned in 1500 was a strategical fortified town controlling between the Kingdom of Cagliari and the Kingdom of Arborea. Now it is a ruins but the finds discovered in a recent excavation campaign can be visited in the local Museum where using multimedia and multisensorial supports you can immerse in the daily life of that time.
7 - At just three Km of distance we find Su Mulinu 39.636587, 8.994134 nuraghe at Villanovafranca ,the only one where a sacrificial altar particularly elaborated in its conical trunk shape has been discovered. The funds discovered are guarded in the Museum of the same name.
8 - A few Km from“Su mulinu” in Orroli there is Nuraghe Arrubiu, we are in the heart of South Western Sardinia, it’s the only known nuraghe with a central tower and five towers built around, at a short distance two defensive walls with five towers all-round each one and eventually an outer defensive wall with a barbican and other three defensive towers. Twenty-one towers in all, a big nuragic castle which dates back to the XVI° century BC. Not to be missed.
9 - Genna Maria , “the door of the sea” , in Villanovaforru. Today it’s a little more than a ruins, but it’s interesting to note how the defensive system in Marmilla, in south Western central Sardinia, had developed excellent strategic solutions. From its peak you can see to the naked eye the ports of Cagliari and Oristano, the entrance doors of Peoples of the Sea invasions. The nuraghe is surrounded by a beautiful park and in the museum of the same name you can admire unique funds of the ceramic art of a rather wide period of the Sardinian history, including an original Pintadera Nuragica, a sort of certificate of origin of the community products.
10 - There is a time when human activity changes places and their economic and consequently strategic importance.Sanluri Giudicale Castle 39.562993, 8.897793 is a little more than 3 km of airline far from Genna Maria Nuraghe. 17 centuries passed, Sardinia has four independent kingdoms . The small town of Sanluri, still important centre of South Western Sardinia, is on the border between Cagliari and Arborea Kingdoms.Very important administrative and customs centre in the Middle Ages, provides itself with a castle and strong walls around the village . It’s the only one still in use of the 88 built in the whole Sardinia and the ruins of the walls (Sa muralla) and one of the city door, still entire,are still visible from it. After 10 centuries of continuous use it’s still habitable and inhabited. The current owner, the last Count of Sanluri, realized a Museum of Risorgimento putting the Duke of Aosta’s relics inside. Besides there is a precious collections of waxes of famous international artists. The collection of letters between the Duke and Gabriele d’Annunzio is valuable.
11 - If from Genna Maria we take the connection old road we’ll reach Giara di Siddi in few tens of minutes by foot. You haven’t seen Sardinia if you don’t visit Omu de S’Orcu( Ogres’house) , 39.669289, 8.864548 the tomb of the giants, one of the most extraordinary examples of nuragic funerary architecture in Sardinia. This stands out for the exceptional state of conservation and the monumentality of the building, resulting so the ideal place to understand how these graves are made. It was a common burial place. It’s noteworthy for sizes and for lithic furniture. The presence at the side of the entrance of a big semicircular seat of the building’s same size and of several votive chapels make think about a very important place of worship of the dead for the whole surrounding territory.
1 - With the word GIARA ( sa Jara) in Sardinia we define the basaltic plateau present in the whole Sardinia.In South Western Sardinia the most spectacular and uncontaminated one is surely the plateau which extends for 45 km² from Gesturi,to the slopes of Mount Arci in the province of Oristano. The GIARA DI GESTURI 39.736799, 8.998971 known also with the name of SA JARA MANNA is the part of plateau which has kept its wildest and most amazing aspect thanks to the centuries-old respect from the Community. The plateau is characterized by a particularly stony soil, covered by sugherete( cork oak woods) and Mediterranean scrub. The hollow of the land allow the formation of small stretches of water covered that in spring are covered by a very coloured flora, composed by endemic species impossible to find elsewhere. A world on its own for the multiple plant varieties. Different and multi-coloured varieties of wild orchids.350 are the plant species examined, some rare like the Morisia Monantha,”the golden grass”.For its peculiarity it’s considered Regional Park. Hunting is prohibited, at the it’s populated by wild boars, foxes, martens, hedgehogs, rabbits, hares, wildcats etc. at free-living state. Rare birds in Sardinia have found an ideal habitat in the plateau, there are many hawks, ravens and buzzards and sometimes some couples of eagles, the great spotted woodpicker, bee eaters, wild ducks, storks and black-winged stilts. In the nice springy days you can admire the “lepidurus apus Lubbocki”, an archaic crustacean, unchanged for 200 millions of years, that lives in the small lakes (paulis) of the plateau. The ideal season for an excursion is in spring from March to June and in fall from September onwards. Winter, except few days, doesn’t exist.
2 - The GIARA DI TUILI 39.731890, 8.974656 (Sa Zeppara Manna) deserves special mention. The presence of the CAVALLINI DELLA GIARA ( Giara horses), "Equus caballus jarae", the horses with almond-shaped eyes. A native breed without equal. Typical for their small body size, black or bay coat , almond-shaped eyes, very long manes and tails, they adapted to the Giara particular environment and survive to periods of shortage using grazings and shrubs which are uneatable for other species. They live in a big herd divided in small groups, each one dominated by a dominant stallion.The births are in February-May period. It’s surely a breath-taking experience when you meet small horses families, composed by the dominant stallion, the mares and the colts along the paths or hidden amongst the bushes. The whole park is easily accessible and visitable by foot along paths traced by the horses.To make the most of the visit, which can be done also without escorts, we suggest you to go with the guides who know the most particular places.
17 - Many villages in South Western Sardinia have kept or renovated the typical aspect of our territory in their historical centres in the urban pattern and in the characteristic way of building. We have chosen these ones that aren’t mere reconstructions and we’ll visit just the original well kept and cured buildings, still inhabited by their owners. TUILI 39.715067, 8.959205 has been a baronial town since the first infeudation (15th century). Unlike in the nearby centres in Tuili you can notice a clear distinction among the house of the rich landowners, the houses with courtyards and the simple rural houses. Here, more than elsewhere, the differences among manor houses of Spanish noblemen of the past and the houses of notarial or mercantile middle class are visible: the first ones have the same typical features like the other buildings in the area but they show much more attention to the details to clearly express the social status of the resident family.The houses repeat, in little or luxuriously according to the status, the classic arrangement of the dwellings with a double courtyard. A front courtyard, with direct access from the public street from a blind arched gate. The front courtyard is the parlor of the entire building, at the centre the house with a loggia overlooking on which the doors of the first floor rooms open.In the rear part there is a rustic area for draught cattle and for farm works. Placed against the fence there are buildings of several sizes: storages, warehouses etc. and at the bottom beasts of burden’s stable with the related work tools. The richest people have a calash to make light works while the peasant have a saddle horse. These animals and related trappings are usually lodged in a building at the gate’s side. At the entrance a big stone is put next to the wall and is useful like a help to mount horse .Fixed at the wall there are still some iron tools where to hang the horse’s reins while fast works are made. First among everything we recommend casa Pitzalis , Villa Asquer, Casa Lugas. to you but there are at least other twenty beautiful old houses to visit, so touring the whole historical centre is worthwhile and if you find its inhabitants they will accompany you in the visit. The other reason for which we suggest you to visit this town is the paintings in the patronal church: the Master of Castelsardo’s RETABLO ( devotional painting) , an altarpiece divided in compartments with episodes of the life of the Saints the church is consecrated to. Opposite the church there are the Museo dell’olio ( Museum of the olive tree and olive oil) and the Museo degli strumenti musicali sardi ( Museum of Sardinian musical instruments) but we’ll talk a lot about them in the related page.
18 - Villamar is mentioned in the document that signs the peace of Sanluri (a. 1355 AD) with at least 20 jurors. A big town, old capital of curatoria( administrative division). Even today you can see in the historical centre palaces that show this status. At least three notaries, a big municipal house, four churches in addition to the parish church , two rural cumbessias ( small houses for the accommodation of pilgrims). They are signs of a great political and economic vitality. Already before the Aragonese conquest some Majorca’s families, have settled in the historical centre occupying an entire neighbourhood and dedicating to the commerce and export of wheat to Spain. The main core of this settlement is used as warehouse and is still visible in its original structure although today it’s renovated and used as public structure. They are about 4000 square meters of warehouses. The size reveals the site’s importance. In the parish church many artworks of great historical and artistic value are conserved. Surely the most important artifact is the magnificent, wonderful retablo on the high altar, realized in 1518 by the painter Pietro Cavaro. In the seventies tens of huge MURALES . ( wall paintings) have been made in the whole town, the unique murales in Sardinia in addition to Orgosolo ones.They have a social background and kept in perfect conditions by a specific Association. Some are valuable and works of some international artists of this particular kind of art considered the participation at the beginning of some painters of Central America, cradle of this type of art.A town to visit with no hurry and with attention considered the assortment of attractions.
19 - BARESSA is another typical village. You know that urban patterns are planned considering inhabitants’ needs, in particular the activities to make and the main economic activity.Baressa is a land boundary.Marmilla’s fertile and extended plains become hill and in some cases, like Giara di Siddi’s western offshoots, almost mountain.The number of sheep farmers increases, the sweet hills are more suitable for grapevine plantation and for the almond tree in the case of Baressa. There are few cereals and leguminous plants for human consumption an so there is the necessity of exchange, of commerce. This is Baressa’s historical centre, almost entirely intact or wiith precious salvage material, an agglomeration of big houses with spacious warehouses for almonds and wine storage and making, loggias for carthorses and big wagons for the commerce with the Regional Capital. A big manor house at the centre of the town is particularly interesting; it’s accurately recovered and renoved, used as rural life museum, where the activities of this hard-working community are summarized. Besides the trail that leads to the mount for an excursion is beautiful. Starting from the town you can gradually observe all kinds of plantations climbing to several heights, to grazings on high and valuable holm oak woods and Mediterranean scrub.
3 - "Full of celandines and thorny plants, the rocks stand up in front of me, like a strange nation of athletes……. And still large wild myrtle woods and waving oleanders, green plebs of dwarfs". So GABRIELE D’ANNUNZIO sang, enraptured in front of Mount LINAS steep faces. It’s the highest mountain in south Western Sardinia. In Villacidro there is human presence since very ancient times. And love for nature and mountain is innate. The whole territory is littered with enchanting places both for trekking on foot and trekking by mountain bike.At least five trails, with medium to high difficulty, signaled by adequate informative panels allow to reach the most beautiful and interesting places: Muru Mannu, laveria di Canale Serci, Camp’ ‘e Isca, Cantina Ferraris, Magusu, Monte Lisone etc. PISCINA IRGAS 39°24'05,76”N – 008°38'49,85”E, at 361 meters above sea level, from a wide parking lot you walk for about 1700 meters, this first stretch is little more than a walk. Arrived at the end of the trail you have to walk through 600 -700 meters of very steep rise in the middle of the wood that leads us on Rio d’Oridda right ridge. We are at the highest spot of this portion of territory. The landscape is really amazing. The plateau from which the waterfall flows, covered by sugherete( cork oak woods) and Mediterranean scrub extends as far as you can see. Sitting down and admiring this beauty, listening to the silence and the song of millions of birds, broken only from the pouring of water that dives in a beautiful emerald-green small lake is the most relaxing thing you can do. In the many basins downstream, of all sizes , formed in millions of years by this extremely pure water you can bathe and enjoy the sun in shelter from airstreams, always present at these altitudes. The whole 39.4168337, 8.6771393 is interesting for climbing and famous among climbers for the variety of sites with several levels of difficulty and so suitable both for beginners and for experts . We mention for example Magusu Genna Magusu and Maguseddu Punta Acqua Zinnigas Corongius Longus and la Valle dei Tassi on the Linas slope in Gonnosfanadiga .
4 - Mount ARCI 39.757852, 8.747859 is an interesting massif in central South Western Sardinia. Its western slopes brush against the sea of Sinis in Oristano.With its very ancient formation it has been a centre of exchange between cultures in the whole Mediterranean basin from the high Neolithic to the Bronze Age. The reason for so much interest is the OBSIDIAN, a lavic rock very very similar to the glass. Its particular structure allows a making by “chipping” obtaining from all the chips of the blades of several sizes some small blades for scalpels or arrowheads and lances or knifes. The storage in prehistory for the supply of cutting tools. The first valid reason for an excursion to Mount Arci is a visit to the Museo - Laboratorio dell’Ossidiana (Museum of Obsidian) 39.792450, 8.802891 where valuable jewels and necklaces are made.From here along the paths you can reach places of particular naturalistic interest. The place is rich in waters and natural springs, oak woods and thousand-year sugherete. Besides the special shape of the massif , protected from Tramontane and mistral, has allowed the development of particular endemic flora species impossible to find elsewhere. These are, in addition to obsidian laboratories, the main reasons for interest of this area. Copses and woods of tall trees, often in association with other essences like oak ("Is arrobis a Pau"), cork oak (Serra 'e Ortigu, Monimenta, Corongiu Onnari and “Su Laccu 'e S’Acqua a Morgongiori, “Su landiri drucci, su pittixi” in Usellus, Roia menta in Villaverde and “Sennixeddu e Sa paba senti” in Pau). 39.802352, 8.744767 interesting and unique are the flora pabular species that grow in the least wooded sides. One of the best places for excursions by foot or by mountain bike. Natural paths and roads allow to choose the level of difficulty of the excursion. Eventually a visit to the town of Ales, the most ancient and important episcopal seat in Southern Sardinia, is worthwhile. The bishop of Ales was in fact a sort of prime Minister of the Kingdom of Arborea. 39.769583, 8.818800 The Museum of Sacred Art and the Cathedral are valuable.
12 - Sardinia is famous above all for northern beaches all over the world: La Costa Smeralda ,Alghero . In these last years the most careful travelers, who aren’t satisfied with these places of slick magazines of this “domesticated” tourism,are discovering Central South Western Sardinia beaches. An uncontaminated area where luxuriant mountains suddenly brush very long beaches of very fine sand, mirroring in a sea with indescribable pureness and colours. We divide the LA COSTA VERDE, (Green Coast) in two parts, for its shape and access ways. The first part is from PISTIS promontory to PORTU MAGA. You can easily access from S.ANTONIO DI SANTADI and immediately an inlet of some kilometres, an enchanting beach of golden sand with low cliffs that form protected small beaches at the far end. They are suitable places for families with kids:very clear water and a very shallow and consequently safe seabed.The sea is teeming with fish and this is an indication of healthy and clean waters. Ideal also for who loves admiring the seascape in its most natural beauty.We recommend the huge sand dunes that stand out from the beach to over hundred metres high in TORRE DEI CORSARI.
13 - PISCINAS AND SCIVU beaches are the most precious gems in these wonderful places. In Piscinas an only big beach of very fine white sand extends for over 1 kilometre, and in depth sand dunes towards inland for over 3 kilometres. Sand dunes are an extraordinary sight in the whole Sardinia – not for nothing, the area is known as the Sahara Sardo ( Sardinian Sahara desert). The sea daily changes the beach shape with its intense activity and forms small natural pools that are suitable for kids games. It’s not rare that you are the only guests of the huge beach at the beginning of June and at the end of September . Immediatey after a rivulet that falls from nearby mountains there is SCIVUbeach.We mention it apart also if under many aspects it’s the continuation of the previous one because it’s called the beach with the “talking “ sand, because of the pleasant sound you can hear when you walk on it and that recalls the name of the beach with its noise. The motion picture industry and advertising agencies have often chosen this enchanting place as set. In all the coast there are rescue service and of food kiosks. Wide stretches of parking lot near the beach are free.
14 - Lately I GIGANTI DI MONTI PRAMA ( the Giants of Monte Prama) have made these places famous. But for lovers of “ real” holidays these places have always been known. IS ARUTASbeach, hit the headlines some years ago for some thefts of quartz that form its beaches. A unique and beautiful place.It’s known as the beach of grains of rice, being composed of small quartz grains, which show shades from pink , to green, to pure white. Its seabed is deep from the shore and for this reason it’s considered a perfect place for surfers in winter months too.Despite this it’s not a treacherous sea and is particularly suitable for families too.
15 - near there MAIMMONI and MARI ERMI, another two beaches of wild beauty, insomuch as they have been put under production as SITE OF COMMUNITY INTEREST . In MAIMMONE the very clear sand is mixed in balance with small pebbles of pink and white quartz, with the most various shades, that embellish it and make it unique, very pleasant, extremely clean. Shallow water and the sea never rough make it a suitable place for families with small children. MARI ERMI beach is a long foreshore with always less bright white quartz, and with very fine ochre coloured sand parts. The beach extends between the sea and the pond , dry in summer, which bears the same name. Its shape shows a greater chromatic variety, between the clear and deep blue sea,brilliant white and golden ochre sand.New roads realized in the last years allow to reach these places quickly avoiding ORISTANO’s city traffic.In both places there are large parking lots and typical kiosks with sedge roofs where you can taste seafood typical dishes, first of all the renowned BOTTARGA DI MUGGINE( mullet roe). For art lovers we recommend the Museo Antiquarium Arborense ( Archaeological Museum Antiquarium Arborense) in Oristano.
20 - Villa Asquer, today Museo dell’olio ( Museum of the olive tree and olive oil), is built when the feudal aristocracy, remained without the income of the fiefs after their abolition, need to start economically relevant activities. In a town like Tuili there is a huge complex of houses, warehouses, places used for the most various agribusiness activities at the beginning of the 1900s. The villa is at the centre of the valuable building lot ( Cima project) and it’s clear that it’s the point of arrival for a new way of living.It’s and remains the almost extraneous heart of the industrious world that revolves around it. Asquer family is of ancient Ligurian origins, with oil and olive growing in the blood. It’s Gavino Asquer, student in Tuscany when he was young, curious about everything is innovation in agricultural industry, in particular food processing, to introduce a modern and efficient olive-press in the mansion. Next to the nineteenth-century olive-press the most recent machineries of the second half of 1900s are exposed. But Gavino is also an art lover and in a time in which the cinema is only itinerant he realizes a cinema projection room next to the cheese factory, not yet industry but already more than an enterprise of mere subsistence.Visiting this place is intriguing. It seems to see not the real world, but what the world would have become, or at any rate what Gavino born owner of a large estate, hard-working and modern, learned, imagined it would have become. On the second floor of the villa there is a valuable collection of Sardinian musical instruments.
21 - Today defining this structure “Museo naturalistico Sa Corona Arrubia“ ( naturalistic Museum Sa Corona Arrubia) is surely reductive. Over the years this laboratory of culture of the area has been something that includes all possible artistic and museologic forms in the territory In the course of time the permanent “ naturalistic” main core has been supported by tens of temporary exhibtions that include all expressive forms of the territory: painting, photography, ceramics etc. with local, regional, international artists. There are also dates dedicated to the latest books in Sardinia but also emergent national writers, first among everything Fabio Volo’s last work. The naturalistic section is divided in three pavilions, dedicated to fauna, botanics and anthropology. The wildlife pavilion, eight big dioramas, the wonderful life-size three-dimensional reconstructions of natural environments of the territory. The botanical pavilion is divided in three subsections: collection of fungi, xyloteque and herbarium. Three-dimensional drawings and botanic models offer a different approach to botanics’basic concepts. The third pavilion, the anthropic one, is developed in two parts: in the first section six suggestive reconstructions of Marmilla’s most important archaeological monuments are exposed ; the second one exposes a collection of evidences of recent past rural culture. Next to it there is Is Giogus antigus , a collection of more than 200 handmade Sardinian ancient toys. Taking time up to primary activities to make “ useless” toys help us to evaluate the degree of civilization reached by a population. Every week 52 temporary exhibitions summarize, in thirty days each one, all the art forms of the Region.
22 - In Villanovafranca the MUSEO SU MULINU ( SU MULINU museum) has been realized to enhance finds coming from several archaeological sites of the municipal territory, the museum is hosted in the renoved rooms of the former Monte Granatico( Mount Granatico), a suggestive building of mid nineteenth century that rises in the centre of the built-up area , opposite to the town hall. Included in the period from Prehistory to the Dark Ages (III millennium BC – VII century AD), the finds are divided in two sections that illustrate the ancient and dense occupation of the territory and the excavation of the nuragic fortress Su Mulinu. A third section, designed for blind people, proposes a tactile shelf with the copies of the most important objects exposed and a board in Braille that narrates the nuraghe’s history.The life-size reconstruction of the nuraghe-shaped altar is surely interesting, it has been found in one of Su Mulinu towers. In front of the town hall there is the only municipal civic tower in Sardinia. In the town hall rooms you can admire some valuable office furniture that date back to the beginning of the last century made by local wood craftsmen.
23 - Marmilla’s cultural recovery begins from Villanovaforru, thanks to Giovanni Pusceddu in the far 1975. An extremely placid man but with great will and passion, he’s the first who bets on culture in a territory in irreversible depopulation. He starts the excavations in Genna Maria and an annex restoration laboratory for the finds discovered. The natural development of the idea is consequently dell’idea il Museo Archelogico ( Archaeological Museum) where to safeguard and show the finds recovered. The life phases of a nuragic village are recreated, you can appreciate the variety of ceramics and of the other tools,understand the evolution of beliefs and rites throughout the centuries, from the Nuragic age to the Byzantine Empire. The section dedicated to controlling fire tools such as portable stoves,ember carriers, andirons, cooking pots to replace oven is interesting. Askoid jugs are compared with similar finds discovered in the maritime Tuscany, in Crete. Therefore interesting per se but also precious collection that compares the local culture level with the other Mediterranean contemporary ones.