Exploring the Untamed Beauty of Eastern Sardinia: From Coast to Mountains

by admin
0 comment 94 views
wild beauty

This article has been adapted from National Geographic Traveller (UK).

The Supramonte region in eastern Sardinia is a mesmerizing landscape, weaving a tapestry of natural wonders from the mountains to the sea. Hidden amidst canyons, caves, and cliffs, you’ll find charming villages, ancient churches, and neolithic sites, all invitingly connected by a network of paths that entice hikers and challenge climbers.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
Awe-inspiring rock formations hide a labyrinthine karst system, where freshwater gracefully meanders beneath the surface. At certain points, this hidden water source emerges into the open, such as the crystal-clear pools below an old chapel at the Su Gologone spring. Its meandering path guides it toward the sea, revealing the enchanting beauty of its journey.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
Perched above Su Gologone, an old chapel gazes upon the scenery, adding to the captivating allure of the landscape.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
The SS125 road, running parallel to the Gulf of Orosei, serves as the gateway to the region’s most captivating walks. As the paths descend from the plateaus to the canyons, the ancient holm oaks and yew trees give way to gnarled junipers and vibrant Mediterranean scrub, including striking oleander flowers.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
Luciano Murgia, alongside his friend Fabrizio Vella from the nearby village of Urzulei, established Chìntula Gorropu in 2009. This group organizes treks, off-road tours, and other excursions in and around the Gorropu canyon, with a mission to preserve the cultural and environmental heritage of the Supramonte region.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
The Supramonte region is teeming with unique animal and plant species, some of which can be found nowhere else.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
Following the sinuous coastline, the SS125 road is the oldest and fastest route through eastern Sardinia. Its most picturesque section, between Dorgali and Baunei, offers panoramic views that should not be missed. Cyclists embrace the countless bends and curves, traversing the mesmerizing landscape.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
Goats gracefully navigate the rocky terrain of the barren mountains, composed of limestone, shale, and granite.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
As you ascend to the pass of Ghenna Sìlana at 1,017 meters, you may encounter shepherds carrying fresh ricotta cheese—a Sardinian delicacy often enjoyed with honey.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
Embarking on an adventure, thrill-seekers are rewarded with the discovery of Pischìna Gurthàddala, a colossal cave that houses a karstic lake at its mouth. Perched on a cliff along the southwestern slopes of the Gorropu canyon, this natural wonder is an unforgettable sight.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
Venturing further west into the Supramonte, you’ll encounter Barbagia, a vast region that encompasses the slopes of the Gennargentu mountain range—the heart of the island. Known as one of Europe’s wildest areas, Barbagia’s rugged geography has enabled its resilient inhabitants to repel invaders throughout history, preserving both their cultural heritage and the region’s natural treasures.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
The majestic Gorropu canyon, separating the Supramonte of Orgosolo from the Supramonte of Urzulei, impresses with its towering 1,500-foot walls. Carved over millennia by the relentless flow of the Rio Flumineddu, hikers embark on a thrilling journey between giant, water-sculpted boulders that occupy its narrowest passages, where the cliffs may be a mere 30 feet apart.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci:
Just off the SS125 road, in a picturesque valley, lies Urzulei—a village that proudly maintains a strong agro-pastoral community. Local artisans like Luigina Lorrai masterfully weave fibers of iscrarìa (asphodel) to create beautifully adorned baskets with bichromatic patterns.

This article was originally published in the Jul/Aug 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

To subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine, click here (available in select countries only).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about wild beauty

What can I expect to see in eastern Sardinia?

In eastern Sardinia, you can expect to see a wild beauty that encompasses rugged mountains, stunning coastal views, hidden villages, ancient churches, and neolithic sites. The landscape is filled with canyons, caves, and cliffs that offer exciting challenges for climbers and enchanting paths for hikers.

What is the SS125 road?

The SS125 road is a scenic route that runs parallel to the Gulf of Orosei in eastern Sardinia. It is the oldest and fastest road in the region, offering panoramic views of the coastline. Cyclists also enjoy riding along its countless bends and curves, immersing themselves in the mesmerizing landscape.

What is the Gorropu canyon?

The Gorropu canyon is a majestic natural wonder in the Supramonte region of Sardinia. It separates the Supramonte of Orgosolo from the Supramonte of Urzulei and features towering walls that reach up to 1,500 feet. Hikers can explore the canyon, navigating through narrow passages and encountering water-sculpted boulders along the way.

Are there any cultural experiences in the area?

Yes, there are cultural experiences to be found in eastern Sardinia. In Urzulei, a village off the SS125 road, you can discover a strong agro-pastoral community. Local artisans practice ancient weaving techniques to create beautifully adorned baskets. Additionally, the region has a rich cultural heritage, with ancient churches and neolithic sites hidden amidst the landscape.

What is the Supramonte region known for?

The Supramonte region is known for its untamed beauty and diverse wildlife. It is home to unique animal and plant species, some of which are endemic to the area. The region also boasts the Supramonte mountain range, which forms the heart of Sardinia and offers breathtaking views, challenging hiking trails, and opportunities for outdoor exploration.

More about wild beauty

You may also like

Leave a Comment