You can, of course, spend your stay chilling in the yurt, taking some yoga or Mindfulness classes, relaxing with a massage or just enjoying the grounds and facilities, but if you fancy getting out and about, what is there in the local area to see?
The Ogliastra Region
A video of Ogliastra created by the Sardinian Tourism Association.
The Beaches of Ogliastra
Ogliastra is blessed with some of the most stunning beaches I have ever seen. The sea is a clear turquoise that reflects the colour of the sky. There is a complete range of types of beaches, from fine white sandy beaches to pebble beaches and everything in between! There are shallow beaches and those with a deeper shelf, beaches for snorkelling and beaches for water sports or swimming. So whatever your preference, if you are a beach lover, Ogliastra will have something you’ll love.
The Nature of Ogliastra
But, Sardinia is not all about the beaches! Most of my favourite places to visit are away from the sunny shores of the coast. Whether it’s the peace and fresh air of the mountains or the cold refreshing water of the pools and waterfalls, the internal areas of the island are even more beautiful and interesting to explore.
Ogliastra boasts the Gennargentu mountain range and National Park and offers some other stunning mountain areas such as the unique Perda Liana, Tacchi D’Ogliastra, Supramonte di Baunai & Pedra Lunga. I live in the shadows of the Tacchi and I am still stunned and awed by the views that I see every day in this awesome area of the world.
With mountains come waterfalls, and although Sardinia is hot, Ogliastra has some wonderful waterfalls and pools. My personal favourite is at Bau Mela which is situated near an old dam. The pools are big enough to swim in and it isn’t well known so it is generally pretty quiet and peaceful with few other people around. There are of course other pools, such as Rio e Forru, Coccorrocci near the Marina di Gairo and the waterfalls at Santa Barabara, Ulassai.
Ogliastra also has some spectacular caves for visiting. Nearby, at Ulassai you can visit the Grotta Su Marmuri, which has a guided tour and a guide who speaks English. The cave is a steady 10 degrees so make sure you go prepared with a jacket and warmer shoes, the first time I visited I wore flip-flops and a strappy T-shirt and I was totally freezing! There are also some very interesting caves at Gairo Tacquisara to visit.
In discovery the fauna of Sardinia, as well as the famous flamingo, you may find Red Kites, Eagles, Griffins, Mouflon, Wild horses and Donkeys, wild boar as well as lots of lizards and geckos! For you birdwatchers, here is a link to the key bird species in Sardinia. You can also find a handy visual reference (with text in Italian) to the nature of Ogliastra here.
History & Culture
The Nuragic civilization was a civilization on the island of Sardinia, which lasted from the 18th century BCE (Bronze Age) to 238 possibly even to the 6th century CE. No written records of this civilization have been discovered, apart from a few possible short epigraphic documents belonging to the last stages of the Nuragic civilization. The only written information there comes from classical literature of the Greeks and Romans, and may be considered more mythological than historical.
The Nuraghe, a tower type of construction the ancient Sardinians built in large numbers starting from about 1800 BCE, are the island’s most characteristic monuments. Sardinia has more than 700 known Nuraghe dotted all over the island. The purpose of these structures has been debated with suggestions such as grain silos or observatories to temples or fortresses, but artifacts discovered within some (including stone tools, loom weights, hearths, cooking vessels, spindle whorls, and animal bones, to name a few) lead many to the conclusion that the Nuraghi were used as homes or for predominantly household activities.
As well as Nuraghe there are ancient temple structure, Giant’s Tombs and Ancient wells to be discovered. The megalithic graves, referred to as “giants’ tombs”, were likely the resting place of dozens of persons, up to possibly hundreds at some locations. With such spacious, extended burial chambers of up to sixty feet and exterior enclosures of nearly ninety feet, it is believed that the Nuragic took great care to remain close to their dead, believing they transformed into gods or heroic figures. The nuragic wells are similar to the nuraghi’s architectural structure but they were built underground. The wells had many symbols engraved into the walls of the entrances which represented the female sexual organs (the womb) and are thought to signify rebirth into the afterworld.
For me, the Nuaghe sites have a mystical sacred energy and are such a peaceful and beautiful place to visit and spend some time reflecting on the ancient history.
But if you prefer your history a bit more recent, Gairo Vecchio is definitiely worth a trip, the town was abandoned after a landslide about 50 years ago and the haunting remains are a sight to see. And the road trip takes in the towns of Jerzu, Ulassai and Osini where you can stop on the outskirts and take a sip of the fresh water from the spring, and then enjoy some stunning views along the rest of the way around the valley.
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