The extraordinary concentration of archaeological sites makes the territory of Orune one of the most fascinating in the whole of Sardinia. The graves called “domus de janas”, in the town of Marreri, the dolmens of Istithi and the numerous menhir, called in Sardinian “perdas fittas”, testify the presence of ancient settlements in the Neolithic Era.
The numerous Nuraghi, date back to the Bronze age, some of which keep the ruins of the surrounding villages and the Tombs of the Giants. The area is characterized by the presence of sources and sacred wells dedicated to the cult of waters: Su Lidone, Scala Pradu, Lorana, and the extraordinary monument of Su Tempiesu, an obligatory stop for the lovers of archeology. The latter is the only copy of sacred source, known so far, that retains the original cover dating back to the Recent Bronze Age.
In the town of Sant’Efis was brought to light an important roman settlement, in part on top of the nuragic, attended between the VIII century A.D., while they may date back to the Seventeenth Century the ruins of the church of Sant'Efisio were discovered during the excavation of the site.
During the Middle Ages the “Villa of Oruni” was part of the District of Gallura. As a result of the Aragonese conquest, together with the nearby centers, showed hostility to the new sovereign that was granted in fief to Giovanni d'Arborea, traitor brother of Judge Mariano IV, who joined the invaders.
During the war between the Catalan - Aragonese and the Kingdom of Arborea the village became part of the territories led by the Sardinian sovereign. With the victory of Iberian troops the town became part of the marquisate of Oristano until its confiscation, in 1477, as a consequence of the rebellion led by the last marquis: Leonardo Alagon. In the following centuries Orune was given in fief to various nobles chosen by Aragonese Monarchs. With the passage of the island to the Savoy, in 1720, an Institution of feudalism was maintained until the first half of the Nineteenth Century.
The heavy taxes demanded by feudal lords brought in the eighteenth century to the outbreak of repeated revolts. A new wave of riots broke out following the promulgation of the Edict of the Chiudendes in 1820 that imposed the privatisation of public lands, undermining the economy of the center based predominantly on cattle. The fights for the use of the land between Bitti and Orune ended with the famous ceremony of “Paci” in December 1887, which took place in the church of San Giovanni.
A male school was instituted in the second half of the Nineteenth Century, and a few years later the town distinguished itself for the birth of the first Sardinian female school.
Environment and land
Massive granite rocks meet with gentle hills of shale in the area where the village of Orune arise. From its height (750 m a.s.l.) enjoys the beautiful view over the valley of the Rio Marreri, nestled between the highlands of the Gennargentu and Montalbo.
Between the ridges eroded by the wind and the water a spectacular rock formation can be encountered such as the one that dominates the Nuragic village of Nunnale: this is a large pinnacle formed by large boulders of granite balanced one above the other.
The mountainous region slopes toward the east in the deep valleys carved by water courses along which prosper the woods of tamarisks, willows, rushes and chaste trees. The whole area is rich in waters already exploited by the ancient Nuragic as testified by numerous wells and sacred wells constructed on the heights surrounding the town.
The dense woods of Oak trees that cover the hills and ridges are populated by different species of animals: wild boar, marten, foxes, wild cats but also eagles, buzzards, goshawks etc.
The undergrowth of the Ilex is formed mainly by erica, cyclamen,and holly while in the woods of cork oaks, letting through more light, there are numerous types of shrubs such as the strawberry tree, the lentisk, filiree and cysts.
The Cork trees represent an important landscape resource and economic basis for the country: the majestic old trees are the target of enthusiasts and object of study at the university. Moreover, the activity of extraction of the cork is at the base of the production of cork insulating panels and crafts.
The holm-oak woods and cork are the ideal habitat for the growth of the fungi. Expert mycologists can find hundreds of Mediterranean species including the sought after black porcini and the appreciated summer truffles.
Orune boasts a rich cultural heritage: A visitor can discover extraordinary archaeological sites that tell the life of the local population from the Neolithic period but also the beautiful handmade crafts, and witness ancient knowledge that has come down through the centuries.
In the valleys are the domus de janas of Sa Tuppa and Annantine: these are typical grave structures dug into the rock, made in the Neolithic period. Among the dry stone walls that divide the landowning it is not unusual to find menhir (in Sardinian perdas fittas) removed from their original position and re-used in past centuries for the construction of walls or country houses. Other types of prehistoric burials are documented in the dolmen of Istithi and the deepest tombs of the giants, built from the Middle Bronze age as that of Gorteddera.
Numerous Nuraghi are counted in the municipal territory which deserve special mention: those of Santa Lulla and Sant'Efis, both complex plans are formed by a central tower surrounded by a massive wall within which the other towers were built. The Nuraghe of Nunnale is characterised by its location: next to a unique rock formation consisting of three granite rocks stacked in balance. Scala Pradu belongs to the “corridor” type and represents a classic example of one of the oldest Nuraghi.
Among the most suggestive findings of the Nuragic Age are the sacred monuments dedicated to the cult of waters: Su Lidone,Su Pradu, Lorana, and a unique sacred source of Su Tempiesu built in the final stages of the Recent Bronze Age and frequented until the early Iron Age. Discovered in 1953 on one side of a hill of shale, in the area of Sa costa de sa binza, shows the only evidence of the cover of a sacred source.
In the important archaeological site of Sant’Efis in addition to the ancient Sardinian civilization there are the remains of a church, perhaps seventeenth century, dedicated to the saint. In addition, the latest excavation campaigns have brought to light a large roman trade center of the VIII century a.d.
Orune is part of the literary park entitled to Grazia Deledda: here you can recognize the places mentioned by the writer in Doves and Hawks, one of his famous novels. In the novel the town is called Oronou “with its reddish cottages fabricated on a gray hilltop of granite, with its little steep and rocky streets”. Among the buildings described, there is the parish church of Santa Maria della Neve: built in the Nineteenth Century preserving interesting tempera murals in the nave and in the arch made by Antonio Caboni. Other churches open to worship are Santa Punta Catirina, positioned in one of the oldest neighborhoods of the town, and the rural church on Cussolu (dedicated to the Madonna della Consolata) which, in August, holds a very popular feast rich of traditions.
Casa Murgia is kept in the historical center, a typical example of a noble palace of the Twentieth Century. From the internal courtyard you can still access the room where the old power plant used to provide electricity to the whole town.