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A trip to Barbagia, a journey through time

Sardinia: small towns of Barbagia

article written by IAIA Stories

Tacchi of Barbagia

The journey in the heart of Sardinia, especially in Barbagia, is a journey through time.

A journey through woods and limestone mountains, the “Tacchi”, which I imagined were those of the sandals of the ancient Sylvans, who surely still live in these parts, a journey into the simple and strong flavors of the rustic food of the Barbagia countries that , through the arts of viticulture, craftsmanship and hospitality, entertain a dense dialogue with traditions still very vivid, sometimes dark and disturbing, more often joyful, like a dance.

We stopped in Barbagia four days, based in Oliena at the beautiful Guthiddai farmhouse, to visit Mamoiada, Orgosolo, Nuoro, and take a mountain hike.

Then, however, there was also a pleasant “out of program” in Bitti, a barbaricino village famous for its singers (“Tenores di Bitti Remunnu ‘e Locu” and “Tenores di Bitti Mialinu Pira”) and, together with Lula, infamous for some of its inhabitants particularly refractory to certain rules of the State …

The masks of Mamoiada

Museum of Masks, Mamoiada (photo courtesy of Riccardo Cepach)

In Mamoiada there is a small, well-organized museum complex with fantastic interactive installations.

In addition to the Museum of Culture and Work (where we did not go), the Museum of Masks and MATER, the Museum of Archeology of the Territory, are part of it.

In the Museum of Masks, the friendly (and very active) director explains everything, not only the Mamuthones of Mamoiada and their antagonists, the Issohadores, but also the Boes and the Merdules of Ottana and many other zoomorphic and grotesque Mediterranean masks that recall the Krampus of Tarvisio, the terrifying Geros of the island of Skyros, the Kurent of Slovenia, and so on.

Sardinian Mask
Sardinian Mask

The ancient communities of shepherds and peasants believed that the masks had the power to influence agricultural production and livestock life, therefore, during the barbaricino carnival, they were welcomed and favored with offers of food and drink.

Both museums are worth a visit! The cumulative ticket, which allows access to the entire pole, costs 10 euros, while single tickets cost 4 euros the whole and 2.50 euros the reduced (groups, seniors and school children).

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Sardinia when to visit

When to visit Sardinia? The most obvious answer would be: in the summer.

But the island offers fantastic itineraries even in the other seasons of the year, starting from the numerous food and wine tours, up to the naturalistic excursions.

You will love the sunsets of late September, when the air is light and sparkling and the summer leaves its last caresses on the skin (Sardinian summer starts in mid-May and lasts until late October).

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Some things not to be missed

Sardinian Horse
La Giara – Sardinian wild horse

The Giara Park, located in the homonymous plateau, where the wild spirit of nature still persists in the elegant silhouettes of wild horses and in the enveloping scents of the numerous endemic species of colorful flowers and centenarian trees.

Nuraghe di Barumini
Reggia Nuragica di Barumini

Near the park is the Reggia Nuragica of Barumini, perhaps the most complex and famous of the numerous archaeological sites (there are more than seven thousand) , legacy of the ancient civilization that lived in these places since prehistoric times.

traditional Sardinian jewelry
Photo Courtesy of Autunno in Barbagia, Bitti

To must see at least a couple of the numerous festivals and cultural events in which the cultural and gastronomic tradition of Sardinia is the guest.

Trenino Verde
Trenino Verde (green little train)

 Il Trenino Verde (Green Train), which will take you, slowly and gently, to immerse yourself in the heart of Sardinia between pristine forests, granite peaks and rocks and a whole series of breathtaking landscapes.

So: when to visit Sardinia?

In my opinion the best time is September, when the crowds of holidaymakers are long gone but the island offers itself generous and in all its beauty to the visitor.

Not to mention that September is low season, therefore, not only peace and quiet, but also a substantial savings in prices for accommodation and restaurants.