Domus(house) de Janas(fairies) are pre-Nuragic tombs that have been carved from sandstone or trachite. They generally consist of several chambers, and were used as a pre-historic burial site. There are over three thousand Domus de Janas throughout the island of Sardinia, some are just a singular chamber while others are a necropolis like Genna Salixi.
Domus de Janas Genna Salixi is one of the largest necropolises on the island, with its fourteen chambers that vary on height, length and width. This spectacular historical landmark is located in Villa Sant’Antonio, Oristano.
A local legend says … that tiny creatures used to inhabit these chambers and they would contently sing songs while brewing or spinning the daily chores.
There are so many historical things to see while visiting the island. Most tales are peppered with ancient folklore that will leave you feeling spellbound, and wanting more.
During Sardinia’s winter months when the maestrale wind outnumbers the sunny days, I like of take off to little unknown pockets of this vast island. I’m usually without a map, but not far from reach is a cellphone with gps, because here in the back mountains of Sardegna, any turn can take you to mysterious and often forgotten ancient monuments of the island, and I recently got lost here …
🔹The Giants’ Tomb of Su Cuaddu’e Nixias inLunamatrona. Possibly the oldest tomb on the island. Circa 1700-1600 AC. These megalithic structures which were used as massive collective graves can be found all over the island of Sardinia, some are so massive that you feel so small, some tombs are just left in ruins and others feel like a porthole to another dimension.
Su Cuaddu’e Nixias loosely translates to Nixias’ Horse. This tomb is fascinating by the presence of a hole at the center of the pillar. According to legend, the purpose of this hole was to tether horses. However, some scholars believe that the hole was created well after the Nuragic civilization. Leaving many to wonder the hole’s intended original purpose.
There are few, if any, written records from that time. What we have left are fragments of a strong and resilient civilization that domineered this island with their structures that still stand today, and this is what I find so mysteriously beautiful about this island in the Mediterranean.
Have you visited any of the archeological monuments here on the island?
There is no better way to experience the ancient rituals and traditions from Sardinia, than at the highest town on the island,at Fonni. It is at 1000m above sea level where the mysterious customs of Urthos and Buttudos were born. They are gruesome characters that parade throughout the streets and take over balconies by jumping to the sound of golden bells held by a cloaked man. These rituals are played out during holidays and festivals and are acted out on the street for all to witness. Come face-to-face with their ancient rights, traditions and culture only here, only at Fonni.
Last week, I asked a question on My Sardinian Life’s Facebook Page about what you would like to see more of on my blog, and a few of you answered with topics I haven’t yet covered here. So, here goes a random post on tips, things to see and do and how to stay away from the crowds. Continue reading →
Just a little teaser of my favourite photo from a recent trip deep into the centre of Sardinia, for the 21st Sagra delle Mele – The 21st Apple Festival, held at Ussassai, a depopulated, colourful town that’s full of cheer and excellent hospitality.
Stay tuned, there’s more to come from this magnificent festival and surrounding mountainous area that completely stole my senses, and heart.
Cortes Apertas is an open house, held yearly in several towns and cities in the deep, vast tremendous centre of Sardinia – Barbagia. It is a colourful festival run by the locals of each town; they open their doors to the wonders of their beautiful, simple life, far away from wi-fi and reality tv. They show you how to make long pasta and pasta with your thumb and they ask if you’d like to take part, to try the ancient traditions that have been hidden away and kept secret for so many decades, all the while filling your cup with homemade wine, liqueur, and beer. Continue reading →
Too much time was spent in awe and looking up of all things Oliena, at this years Autunno in Barbagia – Cortes Apertas 2016, that when I did look down, I found these intricately sewn, traditional shoes.
Now if I could only find them in my size.
Do you ever take the time to “look down” while on vacation?
The thing that sticks with me the most from my weekend getaway to Oliena are the people. In every cortes (home) we entered, we were greeted with humble welcomes and gracious smiles. Each and every artist was eager to explain his or her handcrafted goods. I popped into cortesSa Mea and was warmly greeted by Angelo. I was drawn to the traditional necklaces he had placed on an old tree. I picked up a necklace and a bell rang out, I must have looked surprised as Angelo quickly came over to offer the background to the necklace I eventually purchased.
The necklace is worn by women who are pregnant. The bell bounces on the woman’s stomach, ringing out soft chimes for the developing baby to hear, supposedly calming the baby and calling out to the angels for protection.
Even though I have no intention of becoming pregnant, I was still drawn to the necklace, its sound and sway, so I bought it. I peeked around the small shop and noticed a yellow face in the shape of the island of Sardinia. I love yellow, I love Sardinia and I love handcrafted goods, so another little gift in the bag.
If you’re interested to know more about this artist:
Sa Mea – Creazioni Artistiche Angelo Brundu (349) 880-2126 firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you like to buy traditional gifts from the country you visit?
From early September to the beginning of December small towns throughout the Barbagia region of Sardinia open their doors for tourists and locals alike. It’s a refreshing time to wander ancient alleys and discover a Sardinia from hundreds of years ago while sampling the local flavours of wine, beer, bread, sweets, suckling pig, wild boar gnocchi and so much more! Here are just a few of the warm, generous people we met during our adventure to Oliena for Cortes Apertas – Autunno in Barbagia 2016.
It is here at the foot of the Supramonte mountain where you can immerse yourself in a world of historical flavours, ancient traditions, and spectacular panoramic views of neighbouring towns and mountain ranges so vast, wild and spectacular that it leaves your mind and soul spinning.
A huge thank-you to the people of Oliena, who put on a spectacular event, who opened their hearts, homes and traditions to the world and who collectively put a smile on thousands of people’s faces, including mine. The memories will last a lifetime. Grazie mille.
Have you gone to any Cortes Apertas – Autunno in Barbagia? Tell me about it in the comments below.