Centre Sardinia

Barbagia and Ogliastra

Two of the most renowned historical subregions in central Sardinia are Ogliastra and Barbagia (the latter is further subdivided into several Barbagie, to be precise).

They stand out for their high concentration of natural beauty and monuments, as well as for their mountains. The Gennargentu Massif, Sardinia’s largest mountain range, and the Supramonte Plateau define the region. The limestone calcareous plateau, subject to continuous karst formation over the millennia, features a wide array of monumental caves, sinkholes, gorges, and karst springs of incomparable natural beauty.

The territory has enchanting valleys and mountain slopes covered by thick and lush vegetation fed by the numerous aquifers that originate in numerous springs and streams, enriched by evocative codulas that flow into the sea to form beaches of white sand set between steep cliffs and giant pinnacles.

Monumental “heels” (tacchi), dramatic rock formations that spring from the earth, suddenly come into sight as you travel along quiet mountain roads. Their heights are vertiginous, and the panoramas they offer are spectacular. They dot the Sardinian landscape, but the most dramatic are Tacco di Perda ‘e Liana in Gairo and Scala di San Giorgio in Osini, villages that were ravaged by a violent flood that reduced them to ghost towns. Only the ruins remain.

These landscapes have a deep connection to tradition, holy spaces where Christian and pagan rites fused and achieved their highest state of development. It is no coincidence that most of the villages that participate in the Cortes Apertas and Spring in the Heart of Sardinia can be found in this area.

Despite the seemingly harsh and hostile environment, both Barbagia and Ogliastra feature interesting archaeological evidence of human settlement from prehistory. In the territory of Dorgali, for example, the village of Serra Orrios hosts nearly 70 circular huts and two megaron temples.



A mountain town and an important cultural center, Nuoro was the hometown of Grazia Deledda, the 1926 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

A candidate for the 2020 Italian capital of culture, it hosts some of the most important museums in Sardinia, such as the Costume Museum and the Museo Ciusa.

Every summer, Nuoro celebrates the Feast of Christ the Redeemer, a religious and folkloric festival that takes place between the city and the lush Monte Ortobene.


What makes this village, located at the foot of the beautiful Supramonte, unique is the almost 200 political and illustrative murals that depict the problems of the world. Painted on the facades of the houses and along the streets of the village murals make Orgosolo a virtual open air art gallery.

From the majestic sinkhole Su Suercone to the Forest of Montes, a centuries-old holm oaks, to Mount Novo San Giovanni, a mountain with a spectacular 360o view, nature too is on display in this vivid village.


Nestled at the foot of Monte Corrasi, in the territory of Oliena human presence has been traced back since the Paleolithic era, following the surprising discovery of a hand phalanx dated 20,000 years ago. This artifact was found in the Corbeddu Cave and is now preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Nuoro.

From the Nuragic period, the most significant site is the complex Sa Sedda ‘e Sos Carros, an ancient forge where religious rituals linked to the cult of water were practiced.

The culinary and wine offerings are rich and varied, with the Nepente wine standing out, praised even by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio when he spent several days in Oliena.

However, the karst phenomena are the main attractions in this area: the Su Gologone Spring is just one astonishing example.


One of the most evocative sites on the whole island can be found in the territory of Dorgali: Tiscali, a massive sinkhole once settled by the Nuragic Culture. Showing how geology and archaeology interact, it is one of the most mysterious and magical places on Sardinia.

Other cultural attractions include the Nuragic complex of Serra Orrios and the Tomb of Giants of S’Ena ‘e Thomes.

Dorgali also boasts natural wealth and beauty: the Sea Oxen and the Ispinigoli caves, as well as some of the most enchanting coves (cales) of Sardinia.


A small town on the slopes of Mount Gonare, Orani not only enjoys outstanding views down the west all the way to the east coast, but also hosts the highest church in Sardinia, Our Lady of Gonare.

The town hosts several other churches which, despite their frugal appearance, are decorated with valuable frescoes.

Costantino Nivola, one of the greatest contemporary Italian sculptors, was born here in 1911 and a museum features work by Orani’s native son.

Marmilla e Sarcidano

Located in the southern central part of the island, Marmilla and Sarcidano share a hilly landscape cut by hills and plateaus, the most famous of which – the Giara – hosts an endemic breed of wild horses.

Monte Arci, a mountain massif, rises in the area. An extinct volcano, it was a valuable source of the volcanic material obsidian, a commodity that linked ancient Sardinian to trade routes that bisected the Mediterranean Sea.

Numerous imposing nuraghes dot the area, along with a hundred other archaeological sites, including tomb of giants and menhirs.


Laconi is a village that personifies the natural and archaeological heritage of the Marmilla and Sarcidano subregions. It hosts Aimerich Park, the largest city park in Sardinia, which features woods and waterfalls, as well as the ruins of a castle belonging to the noble Aimerich family.

In Laconi is the Menhir Museum, which contains dozens of menhir found in the surrounding area. Many more remain scattered across the countryside.

One of the most revered saints in Sardinia, Saint Ignazio, was from Laconi. At the end of August they celebrate his festival, during which thousands of pilgrims come from all over Sardinia to gather together and pray in the parish church dedicated to him.


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