The environs of Tempio Pausania
Whatever the season, Gallura is beautiful. Indeed, Northern Sardinia’s landscapes are inspiring any time of the year, and visiting the lovely villages scattered within a 9 km radius of Tempio will surely appeal to the many travelers committed to getting to know this wonderful region.
Listed here are some villages that you can easily reach by car during your stay at Pausania Inn:
Nuchis lies 3 km from Tempio Pausania. A gentle ride amid green hills and oak forests leads into the town, considered by many to be one of Sardinia’s most evocative. Its reputation is well deserved, as you will soon see for yourselves as you stroll along its ancient streets, admire its attractive granite buildings adorned with flower-laden balconies, and visit its courtyards, old churches (of which there are five) and the complex dedicated to the Saints Cosmas and Damian, with its imposing bell tower. At the foot of the hamlet, immersed in vegetation, you’ll find an ancient fountain and stone basin. Nearby, you can visit the Nuragic site “Agnu,” the Sacred Fountain “Li Paladini,” the Tomb of the Giants of “Pascaredda,” and the train station, where the Little Green Train makes one of its stops;
Luras is a fascinating village whose origins have been lost in time, and are now something of a mystery: its founders are said to have had a distinctly different genetic makeup from that of the other inhabitants of the region. The town was once called Villa Lauras or Oppidum Luris, two names thought to derive either from the word “lura” (waterskin) or from the word “laurus” (laurel), which might indicate a Roman connection. Regardless, there are several hypotheses as to the origins of the town. Some scholars maintain that it was an Etruscan colony, settled in the 9th century BC, whereas others argue that it was founded by a part of the 4,000 Jews deported to Sardinia in 19 AD following the orders of the Roman emperor Tiberius. The latter hypothesis seems to gain strength from the locals’ talent for enterprise, and from certain customs the residents of Luras share with the Jewish community. The first document citing Luras is the Carta Pisana from the late 13th century. Today, the economy of the 2,800 locals is largely based on tourism, agriculture, farming, the manufacturing of cork and granite goods, viticulture and winemaking. The historical center of Luras is characteristic and well preserved;
Calangianus is one of Italy’s most productive towns, with many workshops and industries dedicated to the manufacturing of cork products. A museum devoted to this material is conveniently located in the village’s historical center, inside an attractive 18th-century complex comprising a former Franciscan convent and the church of Saint Mary of the Angels. The ancient building, entirely made out of granite, was erected in the 18th century to accommodate the local community of Capuchin friars. In 1866, when the relations between the state and the Church became strained on account of the pope’s continued meddling in temporal affairs, the convent was suppressed and the religious community expelled. Subsequently, a part of the complex was assigned to the Province of Sassari, which used it to provide the Carabinieri with headquarters in town, and the other was assigned to the municipality, which used it to set up a school, a prison and an office for the local magistrate. In the middle of the cloister you can still see the water well once used by the town’s residents. During the First and Second World Wars, the church was occupied by the soldiers stationed in Calangianus, who left it in a dire state. In 1946, a committee worked to raise funds to embellish the interior with frescoes depicting the life of Saint Francis (1948) by the Milanese painter Carlo Armanni, who had served as a soldier in Gallura;
Aggius is one of the most ancient and characteristic villages of High Gallura. The Italian Touring Club awarded the town an “orange flag” (a recognition of quality) and included it on the organization’s list of “authentic Italian villages.” Located at the foot of a crown of granite peaks, Aggius enjoys surprising and enchanting views over spectacular rock formations, studded with natural wind-molded sculptures and riddled with caves. Surrounded by a pristine countryside, home to common oaks, holm oaks and Mediterranean shrubs, parks and ponds, nuraghi and Megalithic circles, the village is an excellent starting point for visits to destinations farther afield, including the must-see “Moon Valley.” Its historical center is a living museum: the ancient hamlet is well preserved: you’ll find narrow streets and houses made out of granite blocks, churches, fountains, and countless nooks and crannies to explore.
The Museum of Ethnography MEOC and the Museum of Banditry will set you on an interesting and exciting journey into the culture and traditions of Gallura and of Sardinia. Aggius has kept alive its many traditional crafts, ranging from the manufacturing of cork and granite goods to the art of filigree and of textiles, which are still hand-woven on wood looms. Traditional dance and song are still practiced (there’s a five-voice polyphonic choir in town), and celebrations for the Holy Week and for a number of rural feasts are still very much current;
Bortigiadas is a hamlet of 800 people perched up on a hillside in the heart of Gallura. The center is steeped in a unique atmosphere… The ancient granite houses, the narrow streets, the square, the overlook and the countless picturesque views will take you back in time! From its sheltered perch, Bortigiadas commands exquisite views over Mount Limbara and the Fumosa. Bortigiadas is home to an interesting Mineralogy Museum, which opens on request. The reproductions of the paintings by the world-famous Sardinian artist Pinuccio Sciola, on the facades of the houses, are very evocative. Bortigiadas will remind you of the villages you can normally only see on vintage illustrated postcards;
Perfugas is home to a paleobotanical archaeological museum, a petrified forest and an ancient holy well;
Aglientu is also worth a visit. Here you will find the Mud’A’, a center dedicated to the area’s old “stazzi.” This restored mill from the early 1900s, located in the middle of town, just a few meters from the main square, often houses excellent exhibitions;
Luogosanto is home to the Nuragic complex of Monte Casteddu, with its interesting “meeting hut,” the Balaiana castle and the church of Saint Leonardo, the hermitage of Saint Trano, the palace of Baldu, the basilica of the Nativity, a convent and an ethnographic museum;
Torralba is an hour ride from Tempio Pausania; it is worth stopping by to visit the Nuraghe Santu Antine.