A short trip in Gallura to discover Sardinia in autumn through forests of cork, stone villages, ancient olive trees, lakes and paddle steamers.
If the weather is good as this year’s, travel through this island can be much more pleasant than during the summer: mild climate, better services and no traffic.
Between Anglona and Gallura, between the green Coghinas valley and the oakwoods around Calangianus, a road called “La Fumosa” (The Smoky) leads to the discovery of landscapes unknown to tourists, but definitely fascinating.
Perfugas, the starting point of our journey, is a small village around which were found many Neolithic and Paleolithic findings (now housed in the Town Museum) that demonstrate the primeval presence of men in this fertile area of Sardinia.
From here, between dolmen and Domus de Janas, you arrive to the fork leading to Aggius, a lovely village: it’s worth leaving for a few hours the main road to Tempio Pausania to wander through the cobbled streets and the granite houses of this town famous for the Banditry Museum and the Ethnographic one, dedicated to the local textile tradition.
Going back on La Fumosa and driving towards Tempio, the mountains around are literally covered with oak trees, a vital green space for the island.
Approaching Calangianus, the productive vocation of this area becomes evident.
Calangianus is in fact the European Capital of cork processing: wide pieces of land are here completely covered with bark, left to ripen in the open air for a year or two before being boiled and prepared for processing. Each year, under the scorching sun of the Sardinian summer, the "Scorzini" (bark-strippers) choose the oak trees to strip, oak trees that must have been left untouched for 10 years to ensure them an healthy life and grant an excellent raw material. From the bark-strippers’ hands and experience depend the prosperity of an entire industry and of this precious woods.
From here you get to the Liscia lake, one of the 38 reservoirs that help Sardinia to avoid drought, very important for the water supply of the entire South Gallura. A boat with paddle wheels, that reminds of the ‘900 slow navigation on the Mississippi, allows you to cross the azure waters of this and other lakes from Easter to Christmas.
Then, three kilometers from the Liscia lake, near Luras, there is a very special place for the Sardinian natural patrimony: the site of the ancient olive trees, next to St. Bartholomew’s church.
S'Ozzastru, the oldest olive tree, is more than 3,000 years old and has a circumference of over 12 feet, a patriarch who instils respect and veneration, an arboreal monument of European importance, arrived intact and vital to our days probably because in the past it was considered a refuge for evil spirits.
Superstition protected him and assured longevity.
Thanks to more calibrated and less massive tourism flows, this part of Gallura can still offer some of its wild and quiet soul: it will be loved by those who like to hear their footsteps while walking in the nature and in the history.
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