Autunno in Barbagia 2022

Just a few kilometers from Nuoro rises the small and charming village of Lollove where the visitor is immersed in an era without time, suspended in a romantic past which resists the passing of the centuries.

The first news of the village date back to the Middle Ages: in the Thirteenth Century belonged to the Judge of Gallura and was included in the diocesi of Galtelli, while Nuoro was part of the Marquisate.

During the next century with the Aragonese conquest also the small barbaricino town was reckoned among the possessions granted to John d’Arborea, brother of Judge Mariano IV, past the part of the  Iberian enemy.

When Mariano launched its offensive attack, conquering almost all of Sardinia and imprisoning his brother who betrayed him, Lollove was no exception and followed the faith of the Giudicato of Arborea. The War with the Catalan-Aragoneses continued for several years and ended in the Fifteenth Century with the defeat of the Sardinian Kings and the subjugation of the island to the feudal regime. In the years ’70, ’400, the village was part of the marquisate of Oristano governed by Leonardo Alagon who tried to re-rise the Sardinians against foreigners. In 1478, with the defeat of the marquis, all its territorial possessions were confiscated and granted to its opponents. Since then the country fell under different families until the redemption of the fief in 1838.

In the second half of the Nineteenth Century, the town became a fraction of Nuoro. A terrible small pox epidemic in 1860, followed by a dramatic famine, caused a rapid depopulationThe insulation that has led to the gradual abandonment of its inhabitants (only a few families reside there today) has however allowed Lollove to perfectly preserve the typical urban structure of historical villages. Its charm has enchanted several artists and writers including the Nobel Prize winner Grazia Deledda who used it as set for her novel ‘The Mother’ in 1920.

The village of Lollove is enclosed in a delightful valley bathed by some streams and surrounded by green hills. The village is visible to the visitor after a few kilometers on a narrow side street that begins immediately after the junction for Orune from state road 131.

Between the streets of the towns ancient ruins are fascinatingly covered by a wild vegetation that allows us to glimpse the old courtyards around the houses enclosed by dry-stone walls. Here were cured the small vegetable gardens next to which is still possible to find some fruit trees.

The few inhabitants that still populate the areas’ fates are dedicated to agriculture and, mainly, to the breeding of animals: not far from the houses you may encounter sheep, donkeys, horses, pigs and chickens.

About 500 meters to the South-West, along the dirt road that until the last century was the only way of connecting with Nuoro (15 km away), lies the historic natural source of Lollove around which are arranged some stone benches. Continue along the trail and you can enjoy a panoramic view over the hills to the east slope down toward the valley of Marreri on which flows the river of the same name that more to the east takes the name of Isalle. In the plain Olive groves and Vineyards alternate with stretches of cultivated fields limited to the South-East from the region of Santu Tederu, where stood the ancient church dedicated to San Teodoro, at the foot of the hills of granite covered by lush forest of Jacu Piu.

Thick Oak trees leave space for a few elements of the undergrowth as the Holly, the Rubia and Guelder rose while the areas most rade which allow for greater penetration of the sun's rays meet the Erica, Juniper, the Arbutus and Lentisk.

In the area there are many different animal species: wild boar, wild cats, hares, rabbits, weasels, numerous birds (jay, chaffinch, owl, owl) and also large prey such as the Eagle and the Sparrowhawk.

The landscape is characterized by spectacular rock formations: Towers, Spires but also basins and Tafoni carved on huge boulders.

Large granite monoliths called Nodos (sets) are also encountered on the plateau to the west of the village where, at about 3 km in line with the area, you can visit the nuragic settlement of Costiolu immersed in an uncontaminated nature between beautiful old trees.

Lollove as a esser chei s’abba ’e su mare: no as a crèschere ne apparèschere mai! With these words a curse was launched on the village. Since then it has been enchanted and wrapped in a suggestive atmosphere where there is a silence almost unreal.

Legend has it that some of the nuns of the monastery, perhaps Franciscan Penitents, were accused of having had carnal relations with the pastors of the place and were forced to leave the village. They were ruled away in terrible condemnation: ‘Lollove will become as water from the sea, not grow nor will be (grow) never!’

The story seems to have become reality for the small town that has resisted the disappearance thanks to the tenacity of the few inhabitants that still today hand down the ancient stories and local customs.

The exceptional state of conservation of traditional architectures has delivered fame on their fates throughout the island. Hidden by lush vegetation, the town is composed of beautiful houses in granite on one or two floors, surrounded by a small portion of land, enclosed by typical drywalls over a meter and a half high, within which are overlooked by the windows, and where at a time fostered the abundantly clear herding of a few farm-animals (pig, chickens etc.). This arrangement of spaces guaranteed confidentiality and made every stable self-sufficient for the needs of the family.

An aura of mystery and poetry is hovering on the ruins that evoke stories of a past life. Most homes are covered by gable roofs covered with tiles of clay while the walls are made with cantons of granite in some cases with plaster to mortar. All accommodations are equipped with the fireplace on the ground floor while some also maintain an oven for baking bread with an opening in the kitchen and the outer body. The windows, embellished by the vases of flowers, and the doors of the oldest buildings retain the characteristic lintel on which rest two stone blocks arranged in such a way as to form an inverted V.

Traveling along the narrow winding streets covered with the characteristic impredau, paved with local stone, you come to the lovely church of Santa Maria Maddalena which was built between the end of the XVI Century and the first years of the Seventeenth Century in late Gothic style. The beautiful rose window on the facade, the portals and pointed arches that divide the naves are made with pink trachyte. Inside, they have preserved two splendid statues dated to 1601. The monument is in an  elevated position with respect to the cottages in granite that makes it even more impressive the panorama of the district.

In the surroundings you can visit several archaeological sites of great interest as the nuragical installation of Costiolu, at about 3 km in line with the plateau to the east, in which there are a nuraghe with its village and some burials of the era.