The history of Gadoni tells the story of a land of passage and a meeting place for ancient peoples that exploited the mineral resources of Funtana Raminosa: here the Nuragic people melted the copper to obtain the ancient sculpture symbol of the Bronze age in Sardinia. To extract the precious metal Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans dug several galleries then reused them in the twentieth century.
According to a popular legend the name of the city center and its origin would come from a fugitive, a shepherd of Arzana called Cadoni, who moved in the XV century with his family and his flock to Mammatulu, the locality on which stands the oldest part of the country. There is also a theory that would trace the origins of its name to the nuraghe Adoni, included in its territories until the fifteenth century when, as a result of the division of land between the feudal lords, was allocated to the town of Villanovatulo.
In the Middle Ages, the villa was part of the Giudicato of Arborea and belonged to the “curatoria” of the Barbagia di Belvì. At that time, the giudical army also recruited its warriors from among its inhabitants that benefited from special facilities.
After 1420, with the fall of the giudicato, and the annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia, the village was made into a feud by the noble families of Pardo and later the Pages that demanded heavy taxes. Immediately began the conflict and the rebellion against the feudal regime: the people of Gadoni did not accepted the loss of autonomy and refused to pay taxes that would have seriously undermined their survival. Both families were forced to return the feud for the impossibility of obtaining the subjugation of the population.
So at the beginning of the XVI century Gadoni obtained the privilege to be administrated by a representative, elected annually by the heads of families.
With the passage of the kingdom to the House of Savoy the long period of peace was interrupted and in the second half of the Eighteenth Century, the village was subjected to the Lordship of Lostia from which it would be free in 1838.
At the beginning of the XX century with the concession to a franco-italian company of the mine of Funtana Raminosa, started an industrial production with promising economic prospects. Still today the mining village is a great wealth for the country: the site is part of the Parco Geominerario, Historical and Environmental of Sardinia recognized by UNESCO.
Secured between the mountains of Sa Scova and Arzanadolu and crossed by the fascinating cliffs of the valley of Flumendosa river, the territory of Gadoni offers a unique nature of wild charm.
An interesting half is the mine of Funtana Raminosa, an industrial archaeological site where the visitor will make a journey in time immersed in an environmental oasis.
In the nearby town of Bau Laddei flows the riu Saraxinus that converges into Flumendosa creating particularly suggestive scenarios.
A lush forest of oaks, within the chestnut forest complex, covers the vast limestone plateau of Corongia where one can admire impressive cliffs, and the exceptional rocky crests of isbreccas, where there are towering spectacular pinnacles of limestone eroded from atmospheric factors and time.
Enclosed by the forest are remarkably preserved specimens of yew, junipers in addition to the beautiful peonies and wild orchids. There are shafts of chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and cherry trees that in the Twentieth Century have made the town famous for its large-scale production. This is the kingdom of the wild boar, the pine marten and the wild cat but also of the eagle and the goshawk.
In the surroundings you can easily explore the beautiful caves of Is Gruttas de Peldu while descending toward the valley. The view opens onto the walls that drop into the valley of Su Laltinazzu. To the east it reaches the vantage point from which to observe the gorge of the Flumendosa River and the impressive rock of Campalini, a spire about 100 meters high.
To the south opens the chasm of Su Disterru de Luritta of a classic circular shape with, in the center, a slit that engulfs the rainwater.
Between uncontaminated paths and breathtaking landscapes you can discover almost magical corners of the delicate waterfall of S’Istiddiosa formed by the small rio Bauzzoni: numerous droplets, precipitating from the rocks, makes a myriad of threads of water descending from the walls covered with moss.
Symbol of the country and its history, the mining village of Funtana Raminosa preserves numerous relics of the ancient civilizations that lived in the lands of Gadoni. From the age of metals, the site was visited before by indigenous people and later by the Phoenicians and Romans.
The prehistoric monuments remains are witnessed in the ruins of the Arcu Nuraxi nuraghi and Piscia Quaddu in addition to the burials along the course of the Flumendosa river, while numerous discoveries (kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Sassari) are concentrated near the urban center where it has been discovered one late roman necropolis-medieval.
The more ancient town neighborhood develops in a semicircle on the hill in which rises Gadoni buttressed by the cliffs that lead to the valley. The gracious homes of the historic city center overlooking the streets are covered with red and black stones from the surrounding mountains on which intersect features of stairways and the embankments. In the area occupied by the old town hall, erected in the fifteenth century was the first church dedicated to Saint Peter the Apostle that was destroyed in 1870.
The second is the church of Santa Marta consecrated in 1512. Built in late gothic style, it had to endure different interventions of restoration which have amended the original structure. Made entirely of stone, it has an elegant facade on which stands out the frame of red bricks which also encloses the door and the rose.
In 1560 the parish church dedicated to the Assunta was built, enlarged and modified in the Nineteenth Century that preserves, behind the altar, a beautiful seventeenth century Polyptych. The facade is embellished by a pointed arched portal surmounted by a rose window. On the back there is the pretty bell tower covered by a golden dome.
When visiting the town you cannot miss an excursion to the fascinating funtana raminosa mine. The site, as already said was frequented since the nuraghic age, and in the first decades of the Twentieth Century was transformed into a real mining village with the granting to the exploitation of its resources to a franco-italian company created by lawyer Paul Guinebertière. The excellent yield of mineral took from a progressive increase in the production up to a crisis and the suspension of the activities in the years ’80 of the Twentieth Century.
Thanks to recovery actions and enhancement, the mining village with its systems and tunnels, can be visited today and are part of the Historical and Environmental Parco Geominerario of Sardinia, recognized by UNESCO.