Orgosolo is a village of Barbagia, belonging to the province of Nuoro. It is located in the heart of Supramonte, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Its main features are its evocative costumes and the typical "murales": wall paintings that embellish and enrich the houses of Orgosolo.
One of the most known murals in Orgosolo
A symbol of hospitality, freedom of thought, spiritual devotion and wild nature.
The first murals in Orgosolo were painted in 1969 by an anarchist group of stage actors from Milan, called "Diòniso" ("Dionysus"). However the actual mural tradition took off in 1975, particularly thanks to the efforts of Francesco Del Casino, an artist from Siena (Tuscany), that used to work in Orgosolo as a secondary-school art teacher. The murals cover a number of different subjects: from the events of Pratobello and the struggles of Sardinian shepherds, to international topics such as the Spanish Civil War, the Chilean coup, the war in Vietnam, the history of Native Americans, emancipation of women and so on.
There are so many that it is unlikely to spot a house without its exterior walls painted. Walking through the streets of Orgosolo means getting lost in an endless series of drawings and colours. Reading through the lines of its murals it's easy to detect the independent and anarchistic soul of Orgosolo.
The conditions of extreme poverty, social unrest and underdevelopment in the inner area of Sardinia (although not only, but mostly) led to the emergence or worsening of endemic phenomena such as cattle raiding and banditry.
Particularly in Orgosolo, in the late eighteenth century, these conditions led to strong rivalry between families and ferocious acts of revenge that resulted in more than twenty murders in four years. These criminal events drew the attention not only of the authorities but also of various writers and journalists of the time, leading to the creation of what is known as the "Myth of Orgosolo": the depiction of a peculiar community, different from other communities of inner Sardinia, although many of them used to share the same violent context.
The myth is reinforced according to the writer from Orgosolo G.B.Salis, by "the banditesque bravery of its inhabitants but also their great human resources": two characteristics that have always captured the interest of national and international media for anything happening in Orgosolo. A "respectful veneration," as Pasquale Cugia wrote in 1892. Cugia also praised Orgosolo's hospitality: "It is hospitable in its fortress and when you enter its territory, you're sacred to them and so are your things. Beyond the pass of Mamoiada, Oliena and Nuoro, it is no longer the same." This is the portrait of a kind of people that is feared and yet admired, aware of belonging to a well-defined community, with a deep relationship with its places, its traditions and its costumes. A community that has fought for centuries to preserve its autonomy and identity.
a scene from the movie “Bandits of Orgosolo”
One glimpse of the Supramonte of Orgosolo, reached riding our E-Bike
The Supramonte of Orgosolo is one of the best preserved areas in Europe. It covers an area of 3000 hectares characterized by unspoiled landscapes of rare beauty. The terrain is generally quite dry with vast expanses of limestone but also large forests. Flora is rich in rare species. Supramonte preserves last portions of residual primary forest in Europe, characterized by holm-oaks, yews, junipers and a number of endemic plants.
Fauna is also abundant thanks to the presence of wild boars, mouflons, dormice, martens, wild cats, and also of several birds of prey such as Golden eagles, Bonelli's eagles, Peregrine falcons, Goshawks and Buzzards. Among the highest peaks of the area, we have to mention the twin peaks of Monte Novo San Giovanni and Fumai (1316 m.). From a geological point of view, the area is affected by massive karst phenomena from which numerous caves and sinkholes have originated. The most remarkable is Su Sielhone, with an astonishing diameter of about 500 metres. Another spectacular natural feature is represented by the gorge of Gorropu, a canyon created by the erosive action of the Flumineddu river. The ravine has impressive 400 metre-high vertical walls.
Archaeological evidences in Supramonte are of the utmost importance as they confirm and prove the human presence both in the pre-nuragic and nuragic era. There are numerous nuraghes. The nuragic complex of Mereu, consisting of one main tower and two secondary ones, is entirely made of limestone blocks and is well-known for its white colour.