Primavera nel Cuore della Sardegna 2019

Ancient sources confirm that Girasole, formerly known as Sulci or Sulsi, was born about a thousand years before the twelfth century, when it was renamed Gelisoi, a name that later led to its current name. The Phoenicians and the Carthaginians made ancient Sulci an important seasonal stopover on the routes to the western Italian coasts, becoming a permanent stopover over time thanks to the favorable conditions of the port, situated in the ancient area of the pond. The importance of the airport is also confirmed by the presence of defensive buildings such as the Castle of Agugliastra, which hint at the need to protect the site from the assaults of enemies. The development of the airport continued even under Roman rule, which made it an important starting point for shipments against continuous raids.

In medieval times, the town was part of the curatoria of Ogliastra, in the Judicial kingdom of Calari. In 1258, with the tripartite division of the Giudicato, Girasole became part of the Kingdom of Gallura and in 1288 it became a overseas colonial possession of the Republic of Pisa. During the High Middle Ages the ancient Sulci had to go through a very sad period, a common fate of the major inhabited centers of the time because of the malaria that had decimated the population. The Pisan domination in the territory was so opposed by the Ogliastra inhabitants that, when in 1323 the Crown of Aragon began the conquest of the Island, the population immediately surrendered by opening its doors and helping the invader. It was thanks to this support that the Ogliastra area was able to preserve almost all its inhabited centers.

From 1324 Girasole became a town of the Catalan-Aragonese Kingdom of Sardinia and, together with the other towns of Ogliastra, it was granted in fief to the Count of Quirra, Berengario Carroz. Last heir was Violante, who died in 1511, who in 1604 left him to the Centelles, which in the meantime became the Marquises of Quirra. In 1674, when the Centelles died out, the fiefdom passed to the designated heir Francesco Pasquale Borgia. After a long judicial dispute, in 1726 the Català took possession of it until 1801, when it passed to the Osorio de la Cueva from which it was redeemed on 1 April 1840. In 1928 the municipalities of Girasole and Lotzorai were annexed to that of Tortolì, regaining administrative autonomy only in 1946. Girasole is now part of the Diocese of Ogliastra and of the Union of Northern Ogliastra Municipalities, which also houses its headquarters.

Girasole now has over 1300 inhabitants and is among the countries with the highest population growth and the lowest average age in Sardinia. It is located 8 meters above sea level on the northwestern shore of the pond, once called San Giovanni. Thanks to its position along the Eastern Sardinian, Girasole can be easily reached, not only from every part of Sardinia, but also from the peninsula from the port of Arbatax to 3 Km. The village borders to the north-east with the municipality of Lotzorai, from which it is separated from the Rio Girasole and from a strip of land that extends from the mouth, in the area of Iscrixedda, to the dam of Santa Lucia in the town of Birdesu; to the northwest it borders with Villagrande, while the southern border with Tortolì is marked by the pond.

The pond is an area of great naturalistic interest, since it is the habitat of numerous species of birds and marsh plants, which constitute a sure point of interest for nature lovers and birdwatchers. The vegetation in the territory is typical of the Mediterranean scrub, with a massive prevalence of shrubs such as heather, olive trees, cysts and fragrant aromatic herbs. The central location of Girasole in the fascinating area of Ogliastra makes it possible to stay in accommodations in the country, both to learn about its history and traditions and to visit the wild places of great natural interest in the surroundings.

Archaeological excavations carried out in 1966 in the hill north of the town have brought to light remains of buildings that repeat the typology of the Punic buildings of Sant'Antioco and that can be attributed to a Carthaginian domination, datable between the IV and III century a. C. Numerous finds were also found in the 1980s, with the reclamation of the pond, confirming what emerged from the excavations.

Until a few centuries in Girasole there were at least seven churches: that of S. Antonio, of S. Alessandro, of S. Vittoria, of S. Costantino, of S. Sebastiano, of S. Antioco and, the only one to date remained standing and recently restored, dedicated to the Madonna del Monserrato, patron saint of Girasole, which was built in Gothic-Aragonese style around the fifteenth century. It has a simple rectangular plan with a single nave overlooked by the side chapels. The imposing and asymmetrical white façade houses a modest entrance portal at the bottom, between two massive pillars; in the upper part, the large bell tower dominates with three ogival openings equipped with bells placed on two different levels and decorated laterally and at the top by decorative cuspidate elements. The restoration completed in 2014 brought to light some recent frescoes in a nave, while others made over 300 years ago emerged on the altar. Inside the church, in addition to an ancient and prized altar piece, there are the interesting statues of St. Sebastian, St. Antiochus and St. Francis.

The most important religious festivals are that of the Monserrata which is celebrated in September with a large procession and shows that take place at the Municipal Amphitheater, but also that of St. Antioco, traditionally celebrated two Sundays after Easter, and that of St. Anthony in January with the lighting of the fire (Su Fogoroni) and the distribution of the broad beans with lard as per established tradition. The Proloco organizes instead in July the "Sagra de is Culurgionis" stuffed pasta typical of Ogliastra with PGI and main gastronomic specialty of Girasole. In August, for more than 10 years now, the "International Folklore Festival and Hospitality Festival" has taken place: the first day is dedicated to the "Fried Fish Festival" and to the performance of Sardinian groups, while on the second day is dedicated to the "Sagra della pecora" and the exhibition of international groups.