Barbagia represents the most hidden and ancient part of Sardinia. The
vastness of the Gennargentu mountains, which occupies whole the centre-east
side of the island, with many difficulties of communication, because of its
geographic and cultural differences created some divisions in this zone
divided in four different Barbagies: from north to south, Barbagia of
Ollolai, Mandrolisai, Barbagia of Belvė and Barbagia of Seulo.
The landscape is that of high hills, which preserves the naturalistic
qualities with lollipop forests and rocky tops, populated by wild boars,
mouflons and predatories.
Barbagia is the heart of Sardinian tradition. It had an important part in
the story and in the civilization of the island. There are monuments of
every period, from the "domus de janas" and the Neolithic "menhir" to the
graves of giants; the Nuraghes and the gothic Catalan churches. The ancient
Sardinian civility is expressed by the ancient rites, in splendid customs,
by the pagan parties of the carnival like in the religious festivals and in
handcraft, which is the most active and refined of the island.
Leaving from Nuoro to Cagliari, you leave on the right the crossing for
Macomer to arrive at Oniferi. Here it is possible to admire the domus de
janas, which goes back to the Neolithic and numerous Nuraghes. You can
observe the talc and soapstone mine carrying on rising to Orani. The shorter
road to reach the sanctuary "Our lady of Gonare" leaves from Sarule, a faith
place frequented by all the people of Barbagia in occasion of the festival
of September 8th.
Continuing to Olzai, it is possible to see lollipops and oaks growing on the
steep slpes of the hills. The Tonara detour shows a rich zone of chestnuts
and cores woods.
Going on, you can cross towns with interesting traditions as Sorgono,
Atzara, Meana Sardo and Aritzo, place frequented in every season by those
loving woods, climate and mountain landscapes. And climbing to Desulo, you
meet the Gennargentu (the highest peak with its 1834 m). And still forward
at 1000 meters of altitude there is Fonni, the most important centre of
Barbagia. This territory was intensely populated by Nuraghic people.
Then we reach Mamoiada with its pastures and vineyards; this village is
well-known for its characteristic carnival, which attracts thousands of
people every year. Now we arrive at Orgosolo, known for its murales which
cover the walls of many houses.