CASA VACANZE 43
Sardinia is an island with an ancient and particular geological history. It started to emerge in the Cambrian Period about 600 million years ago, in which most of its minerals were formed. Its long and complex geological history has consented an exceptional concentration of different minerals in a relatively limited space; from this point of view it has been recognised as an island of notable importance in the mineralogy world.
In this area of 24.089 square kilometres, 330 types of minerals have been found , some of which very rare like phosgenite and green anglesite. Others have been found and classified for the first time in Sardinia, like rosasite, iglesiasite, and monteponite, and take their names from the locality of this island.
The existing minerals are not searched for as collection pieces only, they often assume a certain importance also as cutting material like blue hemimorphite so like turquoise, and green jasper, known and utilized since Phoenician times.
This book other than describing the characteristics of the minerals so far recovered in Sardinia, dwells on their more interesting characteristics, above all that which concerns hard stones.
In order to make the consultation easier in each minerals index, under the Italian name appears the English. One can find also indications concerning the more significant localities and often the characteristics of the materials present. Furthermore, in the final tables in which the technical characteristics of the present minerals on the island are summererized, the indications are found both in Italian and in English.
In the text another 200 localities are described in which one finds minerals of scientific interest and also for collectors interests and numerous others where one can find a lot of interesting discoveries.
Most of these localities, in order to make the individualizazion easier, are indicated by geographical coordinates; as far as the longitude is concerned, one refers to Roma-Monte Mario which is situated at 12°27’10'’ longitude East of Greenwich. A system used in all the Italian cartography. To obtain the greenwich longitude, find Sardinia, to the West of Monte Mario, it will be sufficient to deduct the degrees of this last locality from the zone of indicated finding.
Sardinia has not really high mountains, but their morphology is so difficult and complex that it might be considered a mountainous region. Its beauty and variety has no equality in the whole Mediterranean. Looking to the geological history, Sardinia is coming from the Ercinian's orogeny and is considered the oldest island of the Mediterranean. Therefore it has developped extraordinary landscapes, often unique in originality and variety.
This giude offers 108 itineraries crossing through the North Central Sardinia and permitting to join areas of appreciable interest in landscape, nature, mineral and archeological aspects.
The routes have different sceneries along beautiful coasts, across austere mountains, through dark forests, deep valleys or fantastic mineral territories.
The itineraries start from inhabited centres or from sites accessible by car and they guide to precise destinations: to dominant hilltops with an extensive view, to caracteristical places with naturalistical monuments, to locations of nature and scenery beauty or of mineral or paleontological interest, to geotype, to rocky mountain peak, to needles, to pinnacle, to rocks with animal, human or plant features, to canyons, to caves and certainly we won't neglect to visit all archeological sites along the roads.
The routes have been chosen after careful inspections. They are exposed in special maps and present different degree of difficulty but each one permits an easy orientation and can be experimented by everyone.
Never forget that the countryside might be modificated. Sometimes enclosures and gates disappear, roads are asphalted, areas of agricultural or forest interest are closed. Therefore you have to take care of the correct orientation.
The itineraries are subdivided in regions, each of these has a map indicating the routes altogether.
Sardinia's surface, including the minor islands, takes 24 089,53 Kmq.
The island has above all a mountain territory which reachs at Punta Lamarmora, in the massif of Gennargentu, the highest point at 1834 meters.
As a whole the hills occupy 67,9 % of the surface, the mountains 18,5 % and the flat country takes the 13,6 %. But those dates, surveyed by the Statistic Central Institute, don't express exactly the idea of Sardinia's morphology. Then even if the mountains extend only over 4450,85 Kmq and the medial altitude reachs not more than 334 meters, Sardinia has such a degree of slope and rugged nature that it might be considered first as a mountainous country. In the island more than 2,33 % of the surface is over 1000 meters altitude, 15,64 % is between 600 and 1000 meters, 17,65 % is between 400 and 600 meters, 26,23 % is between 200 and 400 meters and the 38,15 % left lies below 200 meters altitude.
Sardinia's rainfalling arrives to a medium of 764 mm a year. This corresponds almost 25 % less than in the other parts of Italy. But the island, in the classification of the World Meteorological Organisation, is not considered an arid or sub-arid region.
Sardinia is situated between 38° and 40° of the North latitude, thus it belongs to the medium latitude of Europe's Mediterranean areas. It has humid temperatures and moderated differences of seasons. There is no permanent presence of snow or ice and the rainfall is between 500 and 1500 mm. Periods of aridity are very often prolonged and therefore the rivers have no constant stream. The medium temperatures are between 0° and 20°, the meteorolocical conditions are variable and the humidity has good values over the whole year.
The island resides in the center of the West Mediterranean at a distance of 350 kilometers from the Balearic Islands and the Provence, 180 kilometers from the Thyrrenian Coast of the Italian Peninsula and 240 kilometers from Africa. So, particulary situated in a geographic area with a deficient rainfall, it has a climate of considerably season variety and summer dryness.
The rainfall has a very irregular intensity and duration and changes from year to year. This doesn't permit a regular water provision and evidences the drammatical and enduring water absence in frequent periods.
Sardinia is especially famous to be a windy country and to have high temperatures: in the plane areas the medium arrives at 18°, in the mountainous region at 16°.
As well known the Sardinian mountains present aspects and features, whose peculiarity and originality derive directly from its intrinsic geological composition.
Even if Sardinia doesn't reach the altitude of its neightbour Corsica, the relief of the island shows strong differences in height along the coast as well as in the plain. The morphology is characterized by hilltops, rocks, steep faces, deep gorges, swallows, caves, natural arcs and lowerings with limpid stream flowing during the brief but intensive rainy periods. Sometimes harsh slopes transform these water-courses in spectacular waterfalls. Frequently you may meet rocky formations with originally varied and extraordinary configurations or morphologies deriving from the Karst territories, unique in their kind and scientifically very valuable.
It's not unusal to cross over extented ultrasecular forests, (some of them have never been cut), with
splendid holms, yews, hollies, junipers. All of them are the residue of the immense wooded territory which covered a vaste part of the island until the mid of the century.
Sardinia boasts about a proper original geological history. That's the reason why there can be found a lot of mineral deposits unique in their kind, localities with peculiar fossils and curious, original forms of landscape. You easily can find places with particular features of the nature offering great opportunities to amateurs of different kinds of open air sports.
Doing trekking, mountain-climbing or free-climbing, canyoning and canoeing, horse-riding, mountain-bike or paragliding, you always cross over interesting country places of unusual fashion and full of strong suggestions.
The oldest basement of Sardinia consists in blocks and massifs. More resistant to the erosion, it appears on the surface in a large part of the country.
Around the mountain territories are the more recent areas, caracterized by a various number of forms connected to their origins and compositions. Generally they are less resistant to the agent's erosion. The basement consists in the oldest Paleozoical rocks, schist and granite, like the massifs of Gennargentu and Linas, together with other elevated planes or soft hilly areas with few vegetation.
The limestone block of the Supramonte and the Monte Albo, the tops of Oliastra and Barbagia as Su Texile of Aritzo, Toni of Girgini and Genn'e Ragas of Desulo are the most elevated areas, but their extended surfaces reveal belonging to a more recent age .From these old complexes, under 1400 meters altitude and sometimes covered with natural forests, give rise to the most important water-courses of the island. In this country side you may see in the intensive rainy periods little beautiful waterfalls coming from the harsh slopes.
In the zones with permanent granite presence, like in the Gallura, with granite associated by metamorphit massif like in the Sulcis or in vulcanic areas, we meet sceneries showing spectacular and tormented forms with boulders (Monte Arcosu), peaks, needles, rocky hills (Punta Sette Fratelli), cyclopean flagstone in vertical position ( Monte Lattias), animal and spectral forms ( the sphinx and the pelican of Castiadas' forest), gorges and dark and deep clefts ( Is Cioffus). All of them are plunged in extended surfaces of high stem vegetation offering refuge to protected kinds of animals like the golden eagle and the Sardinian deer.
The limstone block of the Supramonte is a very original mountain region. Limited by a rocky wall overhanging the sea or the surroundings, it expands from the Est Gennargentu to the Gulf of Orosei and, along the Sardinian eastern belt, from the Tavolara Island to the tips of the Oliastra through the Monte Albo and Monte Tuttavista.
The scenery of this limestone surfaces is different from the one before possessing typical forms of the Karst morphology.
Therein you can find deep canyons with impetuos torrents in the rainy periods, close dark and deep gorges limited by very high vertical walls, siphons and cavities of the mountains, where, connected with the intrinsec underground channels' net, powerfull water jets are emerging in extraordinary plenty of water times, like the Su Cunn'e S'Ebba in Codula Orbisi.
The itineraries often cross rude reliefs, areas rich in shaped rocks which overhang incredible rifts, grotts, natural arcs, dolines, caverns and camps open to carts. Sometime you may pass through vast high plains, succeeding one by one with stony ground or ample spectral expanses of nude white rocks and endless forests.
The coast zone in the South West, just beneath the belt of Montevecchio - Ingurtoso, is rich in abandoned mineral sites. Excluding Africa, it also has one of the most original and spectacular morphologic phenomenon of the whole Mediterranean area: The dunes of Piscinas and Pistis.
The coasts' hinterland, from the promontoir of Capo Pecora to Capo Frasca, is covered along several kilometers, even if not in a continuos way, by sand formations which can reach an altitude of about a hundred meters yet.
The big variety of the Sardinian geological formations has produced a lot of sites of mineral interest, mines and quarries.
The extract activity lasted for milleniums, left indelible signs in landscape (and in the culture of the Sardinian people) and important infra structure asstreets, artificial basins, industrial buildings, mineral villages, tunnels, big dumps of depositing materials.
THE SULCIS FOREST
The compact forest of Sulcis, of the South-Oriental Sardinia, extends and occupies the mountainous terrains that culminate in Monte Arcosu, Monte Lattias , Punta Sebera, Punta Maxia, Punta Sa Cresia and Punta Spinosu. It represents the remains of one of the scrublands and oak rich forests that once covered a major part of the island of Sardinia. It is one of the most extensive forests of its kind in the Mediterranean.
The vegetative covering is uniform and is distributed over a circular surface of radius of 15 km around the area of Is Antiogus, on the provincial road of Capoterra-Santadi. Inside this area, besides the forests and the housings, the only man made work of importance is the Industrial area of Macchiareddu-Grogastu at the bottom of the Gutturu Mannu valley and the river Mannu Santadi, which is visible at a distance from the main road that connects Capoterra-Santadi and Campidano plains.
The forest, with its rich endemic flora and fauna falls under the Regional Administration through the State Forest Division (A.F.D.R.S.) that controls the monitoring, protection, enhancement and the increase of available resources in the following areas:
- Pula, Sarroch, Villa San Pietro and Domusdemaria:- Within this range fall the Monti Nieddu mountains and Pixinamanna and Cannoneris forests that extend for about 10,000 hectares and consist mainly of young forests and Mediterranean pines that grow at low altitude. It also consists of coppiced oaks, oak Scrublands and oak forests that flourish at high altitudes;
- Nuxis and Santadi:- This area confines the Pantaleo forest complex with almost 4,000 hectares of luxuriant Holm Oak and Cork Oak. Beautiful specimens of Holly and Vibernum are also present at higher altitudes.
- Capo Terra, Sarroch and Villa San Pietro:- Herein lie the Is Canargius and Monte Nieddu that extend for about 2500 hectares, full of Cork Oak woods, arbutus, phyllirea and Mastic shrubs.
In the northern part of the mountains, we come across the San Leone mines where a magnificent reforestation has been done. On the west of the dismantled and abandoned mines extends a WWF natural oasis, which enhances and protects the Mount Arcosu forests.
This part extends towards the northeastern part of the Sulcis forest and falls in the Assemini and Uta territory with its 4000 hectares of cork oak forests with arbutus, myrtle, mock privet and Juniper undergrowth.
Inside this huge natural oasis, there exists the thriving community of the autochthonous and protected species of Sardinian deer, which were almost extinct in the 1970’s due to poaching, which is under control at present.
The geological structure of the Sulcis can be dated back to the Paleozoic era, and even though an originally granite formation, some metamorphosed igneous extensions are also present in the structure.
Usually the granite is dome-shaped, stubby-shaped, but at Monte Lattias and Punta Sebera spectacularly huge boulders can also be seen, which is due to a constant atmospheric erosion of the granite.
Deep gorges and magnificent cliffs, as high as 250 m, are present in the territory of Sarroch and Capoterra. On these tender metamorphic rocks, the incisive canalled water route is particularly manifested. The surrounding environment is particularly pleasant due to the vast and consistent presence of scrubland, the Holm oak and the cork oak forests.
The usually dry and stony riverbeds are mostly clothed with lively colored Oleander thickets, along with Alders and Poplar trees in some places. This livens up the otherwise dry and stony valley and covers the passing streams giving a very spectacular and charming look to the scenery.
Heather plants of varying sizes usually accompany the Holm and Cork oaks woods, in their varying developed stages, with other beautiful specimens of Mastics, Lillatro and Myrtle. The Arbutus, with its extravagant red, yellow and orange fruits colors up the forest in the autumn. All this makes the place a remarkable sight.
Following the proposed trail, the hiker can thoroughly enjoy the sometimes-impenetrable beauty of the forest, walking the maze of dusty trails that pass through grazing animals and coal miners who gave to tree cutting rather than mining in the last half of the century till the last ten years or so.
It is possible to arrive at some of the highest peaks with the almost complete view of the south coast and rocky peaks that emerge from the immense expanse of the green. The latter, which often takes the most weird and fantastic shapes, stands out especially in areas of Monte Nieddu, Monte Lattias, Punta Sebera and Monte Maxia.
At times, you come across the Sardinian deer, which is the King of this strip of land, in the thick forest and it is difficult to come across wild boars, foxes, Martens, weasels and wild cats as easily too.
The same way it is common to see the Golden eagle, the Peregrine falcons, the Buzzards, the Goshawk and the extremely rare Bonelli’s eagle flying over the dense forests of Sulcis.
THE MOST SIGNIFICANT NATURAL MONUMENTS IN SARDINIA
The information card attached to regional law No 31 of 1989 describes the monument as, ‘‘a spectacular limestone tower behind the State owned Forest of Mantarbu of Seui: 1293m high Perda Liana, is the most emerging "heel" of Sardinia. It is visible from a vast distance and constitutes a point of reference for the entire Central Eastern Sardinia».
For a hiker not used to climbing, the ascent can be very difficult, especially the last part near the top.
An impressive mesozoic limestone cliff in the South of Capo Monte Santu, quite a bit isolated from the sea and in a little, inaccessible and rocky coastal area. It is not far from Baunei, S. Maria Navarrese and Arbatax.
The 128m high, vertical rocky spur, characterizes a long coast with a fascinating overview of the sea. Unfortunately, an asphalted road that reaches the foot of the stack affects the view of the interior.
It is an extremely high spire of rock, under the foot of the high cliffs of Punta Giradili, which rises along the coast of Baunei. The locals call it agugliastra. According to some, this term is a derivation from the name of the region Ogliastra.
Punta Goloritzè – Baunei
The Goloritzè spire constitutes a landmark in spectacular scenery offered by its namesake creek. It is made of a monolithic limestone, which rises spindle shaped for tens of meters from the Rocky base of Cala Goloritzè. The overall height, including its bedrock, is 143m above sea level .
Punta Goloritze is a magnificent and about 98m tall limestone-dolomite monolith with an arc shaped apex
U Sterru (the Golgo Chasm) – Baunei (See Route 73)
In the Southeast area of the plateau of Golgo, in Supramonte of Baunei, opens a frightening funnel shaped 270m deep abyss known as "Su Sterru ‘e Golgo". This is not only the deepest abyss in Sardinia, among the single arch abyss, but also the deepest in Europe. The bottom, located at 110m above sea level, has a basaltic cover of approximately 70m. The abyss has an interesting fauna, which includes the Sardinian troglodyte cave salamander.
It is a deep chasm, which opens in the plateau of the Golgo in Baunei, near the characteristic rustic church of San Pietro. This is a vertical well set on irregular rocks.
Basaltic Casting on Gollei granite– Dorgali
A flat basaltic granite plateau whose outline is a very characteristic pipe organ shaped natural colonnade. It comprises of vertical and uniform prisms, upto 20m high in certain points. The basalts of Gollei are located on the left bank of Cedrino.
The Basaltic flow is situated in the Northeast of Su Cologone spring, between the provincial road Oliena-Dorgali and Cedrino River, on the edge of a plateau that extends to 180m above sea level.
Su Suercone – Orgosolo(See route 86, 87 and 103)
A 500m large and 200m deep sinkhole that probably originated from the sinking of a Karst cavity. The walls of the limestone abyss are peak shaped and hence very difficult to descend in. Inside the walls are valuable and exceptional formations of Enis and other secular trees that are accompanied by many endemic species.
It is the largest sinkhole of Sardinia and opens as a spectacular chasm in the heart of the Supramonte of Orgosolo.
Olive trees of Santa Maria Navarrese, Baunei(See route 86, 87 and 103)
Perhaps the oldest and most developed Specimens of olive trees of incredible proportions in Europe are surviving in and around the village of Santa Maria Navarrese. It seems that such specimens survived due to favorable circumstances and are a few thousand years old. One in particular, of gigantic bulk, exceeds almost 15m of height ".
These are majestic trees with a height of 15m and close to 9m diameter. These are present near the small church of Santa Maria with species like the Carob trees and other specimens.
Su Cologone Spring – Oliena
This fresh water spring is not included in the Natural monuments along with those identified by L.R. 31/89, established by D.G.R. 14/44 on 14.5.97 and by Decree of the Minister of Environment Defence of the no. 845 12.05.98.
The Karst resurgence emerges overflowing from a rock fissure due to fault barrier.
The Is Cioffus Gorge (See Route 2)
It is in the Sarroch area, between the Bidda Mores and Rio Spagnolu region inside the Sulcis forest in the Forestry Complex of Monti Nieddu. It is a very narrow gorge, which develops between vertical walls up to a height of 200m, carved between the red-brown cornubianitiche rocks. This extraordinary ravine is approximately one kilometre long, and from winter until June, an impetuous and noisy stream flows across it. The mighty tower of Su Casteddu characterizes the highest part of the gorge, while a huge and spectacular rocky obelisk arises at the confluence of Rio Bidda Mores in the final stretch.
The bitter, wild and very fascinating is immersed in a dense very high, reddish craggy peaks stand out.
The Waterfalls of Linas(See Route 24, 25, 26 and 27)
The Linas Massif is the richest waterfall area for in Sardinia and this is the region that they assume a very splendid and spectacular aspect. Infact, there are at least five waterfalls that, in a single leap exceed a height of 35m.
The main waterfall is that of Muru Mannu where the water falls from a height of about 70m and throws a cramped amphitheatre of incredible beauty.
In Muru Mannu, there are at least four other significant waterfalls in a short stretch of half a kilometre, especially in winter, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy an unequaled spectacle.
Within the valley of Oridda in the south, forms the waterfall of Piscina Irgas next to a tectonic step, which develops with a triple jump. The last stretch reaches a height of about 30m and lands in a basin where it forms a clear pool of extraordinary beauty. After this fall, the Rio Oridda enters in a seemingly deeply carved narrow gorge, of the same name.
Arcu of Bacu Maore – Baunei
Arcu of Bacu Maore is a spectacular rocky arc located in the territory of Baunei, in the homonymous long and profound codula that, from the highlands of Pissu and Serra in the southeast of the Golgo plateau, reaches the rias of Porto Quau in a steep descent.
It opens near the sea at the point of confluence on the left bank of the gorge and is located at a height of 100m on the slope.
This magnificent natural element dominates a recessed wild gorge that is rich in vegetation and has a bottom of stairs. In its walls open large Karst cavities, carved by erosion, that characterizes it.
Architeddu de Lopiru – Baunei (See Route 77)
Architeddu de Lopiru is in the extraordinary environment of Badd’ e Lopiru, located in Baunei. It is on the way from Cala Luna to Cala Sisine.
The site is rugged, wild and of extraordinary charm, especially along the small codula of Badd ' and Lopiru, which descends towards the sea with a considerable slope. In a few kilometres, it passes from an altitude of 600m to sea level, where the torrent outpours near Cala Luna.
You can reach this arch from Cala Luna in about an hour of steep but comfortable climb. It appears on the left as a big ellipsoidal hole, in a flat faced rock that transverses across the valley.
The place is rich of juniper trees of strangest of shapes, and is very scenic. If you watch the arc from the North, it is possible to see the Gulf of Orosei and the village of Cala Gonone.
Rias del Golfo di Orosei – Baunei
Along the coast of Baunei, near the impressive cape of Monte Santo, there are the two particular creeks of Porto Quau and Pedrosu. These are two magnificent rias inserted into the long limestone walls of the Gulf of Orosei. These ancient and submerged valley streams now appear as small fiords (fjords).
Porto Quau is elongated and is practically rectilinear. High walls enclose it and numerous caves open out at the base.
Porto Pedrosu is located in the South and is more multifaceted and opened as compared to Porto Quau.
A small sandy beach adorns it. The territory to the rear is harsh, wild and woody and is a favorite destination for experienced hikers.
Monte Novo San Giovanni – Orgosolo(See Route 90-101-102)
In the heart of the forest of Montes, in Orgosolo rises this splendid limestone tower. This is an impressive carbonate block, which stands on the surrounding areas like a perfect cylinder placed above a slaty pyramid. This magnificent peak dominates much of the interiors of the Supramonte and is one of the most bitter and savage places on the Island. It imposes on the landscape of the area due to its particular shape.
One can climb the top only from the eastern side through a path, which in the final stretch, merges into a rocky staircase that leads to the top.
Sa Tumba ‘e Nudorra – Lula (See Route 105 and 108)
On a path, which passes through a thick forest and climbs from Lula towards Punta Turuddò in Monte Albo, opens this deep well of Karstic origin.
This well is 60m deep and vegetation covers its walls. This is because, according to the popular legend, once upon a time the old people of the community would jump in it at the end of their lives.
This well is located in a site of great charm, which is full of mystery and in an environment of rare beauty.
The extraordinary charm of the place and the unusual climate surrounding the cave alone are worth the fatigue of the long, arduous climb through the steep and unsafe paths that lead to the peaks of Monte Albo.
L’arco Del Papa – The Island of Tavolara (See Route 143)
This is huge natural arch, which can be admired in all its grandeur from the sea, especially from Punta Timone, on the East of the island, where the rock fronts elevate high over the coast.
This extraordinary natural arch fits in the spectacular landscapes of the island of Tavolara. This latter is an imposing limestone block, just less than 600m high, that rests on a granite base.
However, the calcareous cliff dives down to a considerable depth and is rich in deep underwater caves in some points.