The province dell'Ogliastra
Unknown to tourists until a few decades ago, l 'Ogliastra, recently became the province, is considered one of the most beautiful in the world for the beauty of its coasts and its mountainous interior.
Dell'Ogliastra The province is located along the east coast of Sardinia, just below the Gulf of Orosei, and stretches from the slopes of the Monti Gennargentu up the high and rocky coast around the Tyrrhenian Sea, bordered to the north-west by the Province of Nuoro and south-west by the Province of Cagliari. The name seems to derive from Ogliastra-old olive trees which is rich in land, such as those that overlook the beach of Santa Maria Navarrese, although other sources attribute the origin to 'huge monolith on an overhanging cliff that rises on the coast of Baunei, called Agugliastra (or Pedra Longa).
During the centuries the area has suffered from dell'Ogliastra a limited economic development because of difficulties in connection with other regions of the island, which led the region to isolate and close in on themselves, but thanks to this isolation has kept intact and its unspoiled natural beauty, which recently allowed the development the tourist industry.
The Ogliastra, state land and sea, offers visitors a huge variety of unspoiled natural landscapes: the most important centers of the region are Lanusei, in the mountains, and Tortolì along the coast, both symbols of dualism dell'affascinante ' Ogliastra that skillfully blends the two inland mountainous, pastoral, and the coastal, agricultural and tourism.
The Ogliastra region
Enclosed between the sea and high mountain ranges that surround it on three sides, the Ogliastra can be defined as an amphitheater by the sea: this particular conformation all'Ogliastra did earn the nickname of "island on the Island," which describes also the historic isolation which has been relegated.
The interior of the province is characterized by Gennargentu massif, whose name means "silver port", which includes the highest peaks of the island, such as Spina Bruncu (1,829 m.), the Punta Paulinu (1,792 m) and Punta La Marmora, the top highest (1834 m.). Together with the Gennargentu, Supramonte, the Heels and the limestone tower Perda 'e Liana Gairo to form the heart of the mountain.
Very impressive is the Gorge Gorroppu of Urzulei, dug a deep slit down the millennia by the waters of the rio Flumineddu, one of the most famous canyon in Europe because of its high walls that exceed the three hundred meters in altitude. Interesting the various caves scattered throughout the province: At a Marmuri Ulassai, a gallery nearly one kilometer long, Codula Moon, the third natural cavities longest in Italy, and the abyss of Su Sterru, which plunges 300 meters.
Other wealth of the area, besides the beauty of the inland areas, is the beautiful coastal landscape: an alternation of rocky cliffs overlooking the sea, inlets, bays and beaches of fine sand. Starting from the north meets the coast of Baunei, thirty miles of inaccessible cliffs of limestone covered with oaks, junipers and Mediterranean maquis, which open into small quiet coves, accessible only by sea or on foot: Sisine Cala, Cala Biriola, Mariolu Cala, Cala Goloritzè and particularly Cala Luna, surrounded by rocks clear, considered by many the most beautiful.
Further south, in the territories of Arbatax and Tortoli Gairo, find sandy beaches such as San Gemiliano, Orrì, Cea, Marina di Barisardo, and the expanse of perfectly smooth stones of a Coccorocci Gairo.
Tortolì is the country's most populous and economically most important dell'Ogliastra, and one of its capitals. The many facilities of the area are then Tortolì one of the most important tourist centers of the east coast of Sardinia, also thanks to the beauty of its landscape and its coasts, between the most beautiful beaches are Basauri, Cea and Lido di Orrì, sand fine and white.
Along the streets of the town, since 1996, you can admire the contemporary art museum in the open air called on Logu de S'Iscultura. Not far from the town are several archaeological sites, such as Monte Terli, in which there are some domus de Janas carved into the rock, and the remains of a nuraghe, a tomb and two giant menhirs at S'Ortali and Su Monti. At the rural church of San Lussorio, about 3 km from the town, there are the ruins of a village dating back to Roman times, and finally, you can visit the coastal Aragonese towers, the tower of St. Michael (XVI century) and the tower of St Gemiliano (XVI-XVII centuries).
Lanusei, capital of the province of Ogliastra Tortolì with, is a hilly center in a central location, just a few minutes drive from the beaches of Ogliastra, Gennargentu mountains, lakes, rivers and caves in the area. The territory includes both hilly areas that mountain, between 150 and 1300 meters of altitude above sea level to Monte Selene, Monte and Monte Armidda Tricoli, the site of an important astronomical observatory open to the public. Remarkable is the variety of wildlife such as wild boar, birds of prey, partridges, hares.
The village is spread around the seat of the diocese, the cathedral of Santa Maria Maddalena, dating back to 1860 but the foundation of seventeenth-century, in which there is a remarkable cycle of frescoes dedicated to the life of Mary Magdalene and Christ, made in 1927 by Mario Delitala. Of great interest also the Diocesan Museum dell'Ogliastra, located in the premises of the Episcopal Seminary. The most significant archaeological evidence are related to nuragica six nuraghi two tombs of giants and some fourteen likely areas of settlement. The archaeological site and nature is the most important Selene, a settlement perched on a spike of rock with some tombs of the giants in the short distance.
The green train
Green is the train name given to the tourist service sponsored by Railways of Sardinia which allows you to visit some of the most beautiful in the Ogliastra region, along the splendid routes that cross a wild and unspoiled landscape.
The moderate-speed train allows you to fully enjoy the scenery and the natural surroundings, along a route that follows the rugged mountains: from the station in Arbatax, train and touches Tortolì Lanusei, the ancient forest of Montarbu, one of the best preserved of the island, near the mountain village of Seui. Gairo around, stands solitary Perda Liana, a heel of limestone above the territory of Sadali, a village in the middle of a karst plateau dominated by a waterfall, and then one right in the village of Villanovatulo. The train finally Orroli touches the edge of a plateau basaltic surrounded by woods, and then stop Mandas, the most important agricultural center of the area.
Archaeological sites in the province dell'Ogliastra
Witness the origin of the remote territory is the great archaeological heritage: dolmens, menhirs, nuraghi graves of giants, domus de Janas, are the indelible marks left by ancient and diverse populations. The traces of early human settlements in Ogliastra probably go back to the Neolithic period and were found in the caves of Supramonte Baune i. At that prehistoric people lived mainly along the coast, feeding the natural vegetation, game and fishing, until the pirate raids, more and more frequent, forced them to move towards the hinterland, thus giving rise to the first settlements mountain, where they began to practice agriculture and herding.
On the Gennargentu Arzana are indeed different nuragici settlements, as the village of Ruinas, the highest of Sardinia with its 1,300 meters high, which has the remains of some 300 huts in the middle nuragiche with the strap still well preserved, the nuraghe Unturgiadore ( whose name recalls the vulture, in Sardinian s'unturgiu) and the tomb of the giants of Su Scusorgiu (hidden treasure). To Perdasdefogu was also found one of the first trefoil nuraghi made on the Island.
Handicrafts and typical products of the province dell'Ogliastra
Although it has become a major tourist destination, yet survive nell'Ogliastra traditional activities such as pastoralism, agriculture, viticulture and handicraft. In many shops in the province you can admire the derivatives by treating the coral, filigree jewelry of gold and silver made by hand, along with pitchers and pots in terracotta, made today with the ancient systems of cooking. But the activity that distinguishes Ogliastra from other areas of Sardinia is especially textiles, practiced, as before, exclusively by women. The raw material for excellence is wool produced from Sardinian sheep, but are also used cotton, linen and wool goat. Carpets, shawls, curtains and rugs are hand woven on antique looms oak, along with the traditional copricassa used to cover the chest that holds the dowry of the bride is decorated with motifs countryside.
The local food and wine products complement the tourist offer in this area: tasty and pecorino cheeses, such as cas'e dense and casu axeru, the culurgiones, ravioli of potato and cheese, and among the famous wines of Cannonau Jerzu, ruby red color and strong and full bodied dall'aroma.