Lotzorai is a small town of Ogliastra, located in the Central-Eastern coast of Sardinia.
The name may mean "place of the blooming almond trees": the root "Lot" and ending "ai" are Nuragic in origin, and it is deemed to be a reference to the god Apollo and his cult. The results of studies completed within the territory and the analysis of archaeological finds have shown that the town of Lotzorai was inhabited since the copper age. During the sixth century BC, it was a Punic and later Roman settlement, as evidenced by the temple built, during the Phoenician civilization, on the hill where today the Medusa Castle stands. Initially the name of the town was Lozoranus: some legends, in fact, say that in 1117 in the "Santissimi Praesulis Georgici Suellensis", a farmer by the name of Lozoranus was ressurrected from the dead by the Saint who gave the town its name. Subsequently it took the name of Lozzorai, Loçorai de Planitio, Lotoray, Loceray and Lostoray. Other evidence points to "Ogliastro" being the first real village.
In 1327, Lotzorai became one of the Villas of the County of Quirra, part of the Aragonese feudal system. The medieval village belonged to the curatoria of Ogliastra, during the reign of the Càlari judicature.
The town of Lotzorai, similarly to other towns with a rural economy, is characterized by the presence of large houses with ample courtyards, and has narrow streets in the historical center that intertwine repeatedly.
Lotzorai is located about a kilometer from the coast between the Pramaera River and the Rio Girasole, surrounded by the massif of Monte Oro. It is accessible from the North via the Eastern Sardinia highway, from the West by the provincial road and from the nearby port of Arbatax and the marina of Santa Maria Navarrese.
Particularly fascinating in terms of nature and landscape, about one mile East of the town's coast, is the islet of Ogliastra reachable by private crafts and by boat: a splendid mass of pink porphyritic granite, 47 meters high and extending over 10 hectares, surrounded by two small uninhabited islets. The crystalline sea with the colorful backdrops surrounding the island with red sharp granite rocks is home to colonies of different species of birds, a special oasis for nature lovers.
In addition, the wetlands of Lotzorai are the ideal habitat for numerous aquatic species: in the Pramaera river park and its estuary, the Pollu marsh, and the Paùle of Iscrixedda. The latter is located behind the beach by the same name in the town of Iscrixedda and is fed by the waters of the Rio Girasole. Lastly, the Su Stoargiu channel connects the wetland of Iscrixedda with the Tortolì marsh.
Of timeless appeal, the Castle of Medusa was built in medieval times on the ruins of an ancient Punic building. It is set on top of a granite rock hill, about fifty meters high and located at Km 144 of SS.125 at the entrance of the town of Lotzorai. Its history is closely linked to this town and the entire plain. In late antiquity and the Dark Ages, this fortress was called Ogliastri Castrum ; while in the nineteenth century, it became known as the Castle of Medusa.
In the area there are some Domus De Janas, the typical collective tombs carved into the rock in the Copper Age (2700-1800 BC), located mostly in the area of Funde e Monti along the provincial road for Talana. Noteworthy in particular, is the Pre-Nuragic Necropolis of Tracucu - Genna 'e Tramonti consisting of at least 20 graves and located on the slopes of the Tracucu hill, a relief that is part of the granite complex of Bruncu Crabiola. The first installation of the necropolis dates back to the late Neolithic period as evidenced by some ceramic fragments belonging to the Ozieri culture (3800-2900 BC), found in the hallway of one of the tombs. The discovery of three whole vessels attributable to the culture of Bonnanaro (2350-1600 BC), discovered in a hypogeum, documents reuse of the necropolis in the early stages of the Bronze Age.
Lastly, it is possible to view the façade, most of the exterior walls and the surrounding walls of the cemetery of the Old Church of Sant’Elena of medieval origin, built around 1100.