File | Italy | Adventure in Sardinia (3 articles)

Selected stops in Sardinia, from the south to the north of the island.


The capital Cagliari

After landing from Barcelona, ​​the trip begins with an exploration of Cagliari, the largest city in Sardinia, but still very human in scale. No need for expert advice to spend a lovely evening there, just take a random stroll through the medieval part, Il Castello, wander around the port and let yourself be guided by the crowd. Of course, Cagliari has several other attractions. We will come back to it!

The nuraghi of Barumini

PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

Nuraghe structures, icon of Sardinia

We get to the heart of the matter on the second day with the discovery of the most representative icon of Sardinia, the nuraghe. These conical stone towers, so intriguing because to this day we still do not know what their exact role was, could be reason enough to visit Sardinia, where there are 7,000 of them.

In many places the structure of the nuraghi has collapsed and we can only see the rocks that formed them, but in Barumini, an hour from Cagliari, they form a spectacular complex recognized as a world heritage site. UNESCO and we discover them in all their splendor. Several towers were built against each other and a stone village seems to have clustered on the sides of this fortress which can be seen from the inside with its staircases and underground passages.

Village festival in Ballao

PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

A “model” during a village festival in Ballao

The road through Ballao is blocked because a village festival is in full swing. During the day, locals set up kiosks selling torrone (which is reminiscent of nougat) and other culinary specialties. Mannequins mimicking traditional tasks were installed along the main road. One of them, seated on a terrace, shows us the direction of the large square where, in the evening, a crowd has gathered in front of the church. An accordionist makes people dance, we take a bite, we drink an Ichnusa, the beer of Sardinia. People explain to us that today they are celebrating the Flumendosa River – rather dry like many Sardinian rivers at this time of year. A woman takes us into her interior courtyard which she has decorated for the occasion and offers us some tiny and inedible apples.

In the footsteps of D. H. Lawrence

PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

The Green Trenino

Here we are in Mandas, where we take the Trenino Verde, a small vintage tourist train with a single carriage which travels like a caterpillar wandering through nature towards the village of Laconi. In the fall, only two trips are offered and the car quickly fills up with Italian and European tourists. The train sets off and two guides introduce us to the region in several languages ​​in a joyful cacophony. What appeared to be a romantic little cocoon is actually not so cozy. No matterwe do not travel for comfort, but for discovery!

  • Between Laconi and Mandas

    PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

    Between Laconi and Mandas

  • Sant'Ignazio is the pride of Laconi

    PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

    Sant’Ignazio is the pride of Laconi

  • Visit to the saint’s tiny house.

    PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

    Visit to the saint’s tiny house.

  • Back to Mandas

    PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

    Back to Mandas

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The little train leaves us for a few hours in the pretty village of Laconi, of which Sant’Ignazio is the pride. We cross the Aymerich park, in the heart of the village, where the ruins of a medieval palace are located. We then visit the saint’s tiny house, hoping for a miracle and praying that the train taking us back doesn’t break down. The return takes place at the same snail’s pace. A century before us, the English writer D. H. Lawrence also took this train, because he wanted to pay tribute to the Sardinian writer Grazia Deledda, Nobel Prize winner for literature in 1926. Lawrence went to Nuoro, further north , where we will also go, to visit the birthplace of Grazia Deledda, which has become a museum.

The most beautiful village

PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

The village of Baunei

Competition is fierce for the title of most beautiful village in Sardinia. There’s no way to stop for a cappuccino without coming across a perfectly preserved little gem. In addition, people have the unfortunate habit of being friendly and proud of their village, like that of Gavoi, where the historical center seems to encompass the whole village and where the view over the valley is superb, but not as much as in Baunei, where we arrived by accident.

The road along the precipice to reach this mountain village is terrifying – for drivers less courageous than us. Once we reach the village, the panoramic view of the valley and the sea that Baunei enjoys cannot be depicted, neither in words nor in photos. You have to be there to understand why people live so long in this region of the world: no one would want to deprive themselves of this spectacle! Maria Tosciri, a 90-year-old great-grandmother, makes us taste some sweet.

The village of wall works

PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

The village of Orgosolo

The road then takes us to Orgosolo, the least relaxing village in Sardinia! At the entrance to the town, people had fun shooting bullets into the poster reading the name Orgosolo. The most famous film filmed there, Banditi a Orgosolo (Bandits in Orgosolo), which won an award in Venice in 1962, tells the story of the metamorphosis of a shepherd into an outlaw, then his flight into the refuge of the mountains that surround the city.

  • In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

    PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

    In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

  • In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

    PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

    In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

  • In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

    PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

    In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

  • In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

    PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

    In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

  • In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

    PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

    In Orgosolo, wall works are legion.

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What makes Orgosolo’s reputation above all are its countless mural works, which denounce social injustices and call for an end to wars. There are hundreds of them and you can perfect your learning of Italian by translating their anarchist-flavored message. We must believe that strong emotions keep you young, because Orgosolo is part of one of these famous blue zones where people display exceptional longevity.

Gastronomy and traditions

PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

The black mask of the Mamuthones is everywhere in Mamoiada.

A few kilometers further, the village of Mamoiada (2500 inhabitants) offers something completely different. We are there during the Autunno in Barbagia festival and around a hundred food and wine stops spread out before us.

But Mamoiada is first and foremost the village of the Mamuthones and the Issohadores, fascinating folkloric characters who are a bit of the emblem of Sardinia. To get the full Mamuthones experience, go during St. Anthony’s Day in January or during Carnival in February. At other times of the year, the Museo delle Maschere (Museum of Masks) explains their meaning and draws parallels with other similar traditions in the Mediterranean. We leave the place after obtaining the disturbing black mask of Mamuthone, made by a local craftsman.

Sea beef

PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

The Cala Luna hike

We drive through a mountain landscape, take a short tunnel, then the blue of the sea explodes before our eyes. We’ve just gone behind the scenes. At the end of the road begins the Cala Luna hike which will allow us to see the Bue Marino (sea ox) cave. The North-East coast offers plenty of hikes and this one, near Dorgali, caught our attention. Memorable it was, apart from the fact that we never found the cave in question.

PHOTO SIMON GRAVEL, THE PRESS

There spiaggia Ziu Santoru

On the way, we let ourselves be tempted by a detour towards the spiaggia (beach) Ziu Santoru. The descent is quite athletic, even intimidating. It leads to a little-used cove, pierced with caves and covered with rocks. Hours of walking later, we have not solved the mystery of Bue Marino, accessible only in high season by sea, it seems. But we managed to come back from Ziu Santoru!


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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