Autunno in Barbagia 2022

In the geographic center of Sardinia was discovered one of the most striking and significant alignments of Menhir of the Mediterranean: Sorgono arises in this ancient and magical territory.

The 200 menhirs in the locality Biru ‘e Concas have been dated between the late Neolithic (3200-2800 BC) and the Eneolithic (2800-1800 BC), demonstrating the first human presence in the area. The typical tombs carved into the rock called Domus de Janas in addition to the numerous gigantic tombs and Nuraghi are still part of the prehistory and are the main characters of ancient Sardinian civilization.

The Roman presence in the area is visible in several sites including Donnigaggia, about a kilometer from the town where was found a diploma of  honestamissio, basically a realease certificate from 88 AD given to a soldier of the Roman army who had completed military service.

In the historical period we have information of the town starting from 1180: the documents of the Giudicato d’Arborea reveal that Donnu Barisone de Serra, counselor of Peter I, Judge of Arborea, became curator of Barbagia Mandrolisai and the capital was Sorgono.

From 1463 it became part of the Marquise of Oristano to which it belonged until 1478 when he was defeated in the Battle of Macomer. The Marque  Leonardo Alagon, heir to the Judicial dynasty and the village was included in the territories administered by the Spanish monarchy.

In 1507 Sorgono was recognized as “lordship useful” by the Spanish Crown getting the privilege to be administered by a local authority and not by a feudal lord imposed by Spain. The first to be appointed was Gemiliano Serra, a descendant of the Judicial family.

The town experienced the yoke of feudalism in 1708 when it was granted by Charles III of Austria to the Count Giovanni Antonio Valentino Manca di Tempio. The feudal bond lasted with the domination of the House of Savoy who in 1718 took over the Habsburgs in the government of the  Kingdom of Sardinia. In the thirties of the nineteenth century, feudalism was abolished but in order to redeem the feuds the population was required to pay expensive tributes. This caused a long period of resistance and struggles throughout the island. Since 1927, it has been a part of the Province of Nuoro since.

The town of Sorgono was born in an area rich of sources on the western side of the Gennargentu surrounded by extraordinary granite landscapes sculpted by the wind and uncontaminated forests.

The territory is mostly mountainous: Sa Serra de su Lampu reaches up to 1039 m.

In the upland of Iscalas you can enjoy a unique show created by nature: the erosion caused by the elements have shaped the granitic complex creating a particularly beautiful view.

The mountain relief alternates with the soft contours of the hills covered by the vineyards of Cannonau, Monica, Muristellu from which it produces the famous DOC wine Mandrolisai. The presence of numerous rivers, which flows into the Tirso, favors crops in a landscape that was once characterized by the domain of cereal crop.

The water stored in the subsurface flows from about 50 fresh and light sources among which the Perda ‘e Mantza e Erriu de Sauccu are known for their diuretic properties.

The collections of fresh water are the natural habitat of two endemic amphibians: the Sardinian euprotto and the Sardinian discoglosso.

More than half of the territory is covered by forests of Cork Trees, Oaks, Holm Oaks, Olive Trees and there are also Chestnut and Hazelnut Trees, Pear Trees, Prune Trees and the typical essences of the Mediterranean scrub (gorse, heather, strawberry).

There is no shortage of secular examples: a few kilometers from the town on a hill there are beautiful trees surrounding the important monumental country church of San Mauro from the sixteenth century.

The forests and the natural surroundings are the natural habitat of Foxes, Wild Boars, Weasels, Dormice, Red Woodpeckers, and flying over them there are Ringdoves and the Sardinian GoshawkSparrow Hawks and Buzzards.

Since 2002 the hunting reserve of S. Luisu has reintroduced the Sardinian Deer from the WWF reserve of Monte Arcosu and the Fallow Deer from the reserve Assai Much of the reserve.

Numerous signs of ancient civilizations are scattered along paths rich in natural attractions. In the geographic center of Sardinia, about two hundred standing Menhir were erected from the Final Neolithic (3200-2800 BC) to the Middle Eneolithic (2800-1800 BC). This exceptional site in the town of  Biru e Concas, preserves spectacular alignments, among the largest in the Mediterranean, but also circles, pairs or triads of Menhir surrounded by an ancient city wall that probably surrounded the sacred area. Of the same age are the domus de janas, tombs carved into the rock, of Perdonigheddu and Santu Loisu while the Bronze Age is documented by a large amount of Nuraghi, in particular the protonuraghe Talei named after  its corridor shape, this is considered the most archaic type of Nuraghe.

Close by there is the important sanctuary of San Mauro Abate, one of the oldest rural churches and the largest in Sardinia (measuring 30x9 meters). Built in 1574 on a settlement of Benedictine XII, the building is a classic example of the mix between elements of the Gothic-Aragonese and the local architecture. The facade is embellished by an imposing Gothic rose window carved from a single block of trachyte, which with its 4.5 meters diameter, is the largest in the island. All around are arranged muristenes, characteristic accommodation that welcomed the pilgrims during the Novena and the feast of St. Maurus.

To the north of the town, on the hill called Sa Pala ‘e sa Cresia (‘the shoulder of the church’), you can visit the lovely church dedicated to the Madonna of Itria (or Buoncammino). After collapsing at the end of ’800, it was rebuilt with local stone in 1910 as indicated on the granite architrave.

In the town center the lovely stone houses with several floors, typical of the local architecture, are preserved in the intricate streets that are joined to the main street where you can still see ancient nobles palaces in Aragonese Gothic and liberty style. These are witnesses of the ancient role of Sorgono as the capital Mandrolisai. Elements of late Gothic architecture can be traced to the bell tower of the parish church dedicated to the Virgin of the Assumption.