Autunno in Barbagia 2022

The uninterrupted passage of peoples who have crossed the territory of Ovodda has left behind many stories to tell: as that of via Oviante, track of the transhumance on which they moved their flocks from the mountains to the plains, or that of the roman road that passed through the Barbagie along the western slope of the Gennargentu.

The numerous domus de janas and menhirs survived near the Rio Aratu testify the presence of indigenous civilization that inhabited the area in Prehistoric times. 4 Giants’ Tombs and about 10 Nuraghi, construction symbols of the ancient Sardinian civilization date back to the Bronze age. During the Roman era along the strada ab Ulbia Caralis (road from Olbia to Cagliari) was built a village in the town of Domus Novas of which today can still be seen the ruins.

With the end of the Roman Empire traces were lost of the people who lived in these lands until the Giudicale when the villa of Ovolla was part of the Giudicato of Arborea (Arborea district) and was included in the district of the Barbagia di Ollolai. Following the war between the Sardinian King and the crown of Aragon that ended with the defeat of the Giudicato. In 1420 the island came under direct government catalan-aragonian.

The Ovoddesi (Ovodda citizens), as well as many of the inhabitants of the neighboring villages, did not abandon the hostility against the invaders who had to entrust the fief to the descendants of the ancestral house d’Arborea under which the people maintained a certain degree of autonomy. The abandonment of the town of Oleri (perhaps due to the plague in the Fifteenth Century that collapsed the Island) provoked the contention on the part of neighboring villas Ovodda is Gavoi.

The issue was resolved with the act that had the division of land between the two towns, signed May 23, 1473 in the presence of the Marquis of Oristano Leonardo Alagon. The latter conducted the battle against the Iberians in an attempt to restore the independent government of the Island in continuity with the Giudicato of Arborea. The additional forces arranged by the Viceroy Carroz obtained the victory to which followed the confiscation of land, imprisonment, and the death of the Marquis.

As a result the feud to which belonged Ofolla (so called in a document of 1499) came under the dominion of several noble families that imposed heavy taxes. With the passage of the Kingdom of Sardinia to the Savoy, in 1720, were confirmed feudal privileges. The last house was that of Téllez Girón with which the conditions of poverty of the population worsened, until paying the ransom of the feud they got rid of the Signoria in 1839. In 1927, the village became part of the province of Nuoro.

Starting in the sixties a new economic perspective was affirmed with the construction of the dams on the river Taloro, for the exploitation of hydro-electric energy, which brought about the construction of the artificial Lake of Cuchinadorza, as an important territrorial resource.

The uncontaminated nature, clean air, and the goodness of the climate are among the factors that have contributed to the happy name of “town of centurion” for the number of elderly people who have exceeded a hundred years old or who are about to.

Ovodda is a mountain village on the border between the historical regions of the Barbagia and Mandrolisai. Its territories, within the National Park of the Gennargentu massif, range from southern ridges to the valleys formed by the rivers Tino (west), Taloro (north) and Aratu (east). The latter flows in the vicinity of the location in which are preserved some menhir, where it is called rio Pedras fittas, the Sardinian name of these monuments.

The beauties of its natural heritage make it the ideal destination for the lovers of hiking that can choose between several paths to explore, natural oasis’ and important archaeological ruins refreshing themselves along the way  in the abundant sources and the streams throughout the area.

An enchanting landscape is offered to the visitors that climb to the top of Bruncu Muncinale (1266 m) on the south-east (near the border with Desulo). From here you can admire the green mantle of broadleaved woodland covering a large part of the territory: the holm oak forests are near the trees of oak, chestnut and oak between which is growing the typical shrubs from the Mediterranean vegetation.

To the south Monte Orovole, with its peaks punta Concosu e Bruncu Mealeddu, overlooks the town crossed by the rio Funtanedda (more to the north it takes the name of rio Sapuna Peddes) that a little more than 1 km south-east of the town, forms the beautiful Cascata s’Istracca (waterfall s’ Istracca).

Watercourses are the habitat of the Sardinian Trout (Salmo cettii) while the mountains accommodate  deermoufflons and many birds of prey such as the Sardinian Astore and Golden Eagle. There are foxes, dormice, marten, wild boar, partridges and red peaks while the sardinian deer, for a long time vanished, were re-introduced.

Carp and Tench abound in the lake Cuchinadorza, one of the artificial ponds created in the sixties with the construction of the dams along the course of the river Taloro for the production of hydroelectric power. The surrounding landscape is characterized by the spectacular valley of the Taloro that joins to those formed by the torrente Tino and the rio Sapuna Peddes. To the east of the Cuchinadorza lies a vast granite area characterized by fascinating rocks sculpted by time and by the nature like the peaks of Monte Pizzuri (883 m).

Ovodda is known as the town of centenarians who knew how to guard their own secular traditions including the most famous Mercuris de lessia (‘Ashes Wednesday’). Unlike the rest of the island where the carnival festivities end on the so-called Fat Tuesday, the climax of Carnival Ovoddese takes place right on the first day of Lent. In this feast of transgression the sos Intintos, men with the face covered by soot, and Intinghidores that, with black powder, dirty the face of all those that meet in the path, roam the streets of the town center. The masks lead in lap Don Conte Forru and Su Stabi, symbol of the religious and political power, that is mocked and at sundown is executed and in flames.

The most ancient monuments that are encountered in the territory are the numerous domus de janas (easily reachable to S'Abba Bogada near the fountain), spectacular prehistoric burials excavated in the rock, which, in the more complex types, extend across multiple rooms (e.g. , those of Domus Novas and Serrindedda) and in some cases have decorations that mimic architectural elements of the houses (like that of Sos forreddos de Ghiliddoe). Two menhirs retain their original position near the Rio Aratu that, for the presence of the monuments, is called in this stretch, rio perdas fittas (Sardinian name of the menhirs).

Dating back to the Nuragic Age are the 4 Giants’ Tombs (Donnovegoro, Govolo Sa Heresia, Nieddio) and a dozen of nuraghi of which the best-preserved are the Campus (or Biddusai) with a tower of 5 meters, Finonele south-east of the town, and Osseli around which are distinguished the walls of the huts of the nuragic village that emerge from the vegetation.

The ruins of the Roman town of Domus Novas, which stood on the penetration route ab Ulbiam Caralis, remains of the road, mentioned in the III century from the itinerary antonino, that crossed the island for about 254 km. Narrow cobblestone streets intersect in the beautiful historic center characterized by the typical houses in granite equipped with inner courtyards. The traditional houses were carried out at one or two floors: on the ground floor there was the kitchen with, in the center, the classic hearth used for both heat and cooking. The bedroom was next to the kitchen or on the top floor made with wooden beams and was accessed via a wooden staircase.

The most ancient buildings are concentrated around the so-called domo de sos cavalleris ('house of the knights'), mansion of the Eighteenth Century that is preserved pretty well in the private courtyard. Nearby is the church of Martyr San Giorgio of which is written in the Middle Ages. The current structure was built in the XVII century in late gothic style to which the granite bell tower was added in 1798. Inside is preserved precious sacred furnishings and an interesting wooden statue of St. Peter in the chair which dates from the second half of the Seventeenth Century.

Among the most felt popular feasts there is the one that the Ovoddesi celebrate June 28 and 29 in the rural church of San Pietro keeping the  promise made to Leonardo Alagón. The building originally belonged to the villa of Oleri, uninhabited due to the plague.

In 1473, in the presence of the Marquis of Oristano, his territories were divided between Gavoi and Ovodda and the act was signed in the church which at the time was in ruin, that the two countries pledged to recover.