260/377: Bultei


San Saturnino church

A short journey to get to the last village in the Goceano area. In Bultei, the guys of the Usulvisi Association, Anna Lisa, Pasquale, Marianna and Maria Piera, welcome me and will be my guides for the whole day.

As all the village of the Goceano, also the territory of Bultei is divided into a part on the plain and one on the mountains. We start the visit from the plain, the upper Tirso valley. We get to the border with Benetutti, and I see a part of the territory I already visited, where the Tirso winds through a landscape that is now yellow but that I saw very green last spring.

Here is the church of San Saturnino, disputed between two municipalities, since it is in the territory of Bultei but it belongs to the episcopal curia of Benetutti. We arrive at the beautiful red volcanic stone building. At the base, a series of ruins indicates the ancient presence of a nuraghe. Here also stood the village of Usulvisi, now disappeared, whose inhabitants gave rise to Bultei and Benetutti.

Open thermal baths at San Saturnino

We cross the road to visit the Roman baths right behind the Terme San Saturnino hotel and from here we reach the incredible free thermal baths in the middle of the countryside. None of us feel like taking a warm bath on this hot day. In fact, in this corner of Sardinia the highest temperatures ever have been recorded.

Cork oak trees on the 128bis road

We drive through beautiful cork oaks, pass the Norchidda nuraghe on the 128bis road (also called the Central Sardinian) and go back to the village where Giovanni and Giulia, brother and sister of Marco, friend who could not be here but asked his family to make my day as comfortable as possible!

In the afternoon, we head up. It is the last visit to the Goceano mountains and I want to fully enjoy the spectacular view from above. Here is the point of Sardinia furthest from the sea, 52.8 kilometers. We visit the nuraghe Tilariga, not far from the church of Nostra Signora dell’Altura and then we head towards the forest of Sa Fraigada.

Black pine trees at Su Tassu forest

In the middle of the greenery we pass the Su Labiolau source and arrive at a forest of very high black pines. It seems to be in Canada! We continue towards Su Tassu, part of the forest with centuries-old yew trees and we arrive at another nuraghe, Sa Conca, spectacular because it is built attached to boulders that form part of the structure.

Uphill with “impedrau” paving

Once back, we take a tour of the historic centre. The houses are very old, some have ‘altane’, colonnaded terraces typical of Ozieri which in fact is located exactly on the other side of the mountains. Walking through alleys and abandoned houses I can admire a tiny road, steeply uphill, with the original “impedrau” cobblestones paving. We arrive at the church of Sant’Antonio, sober and all pink and at the old wash house, which has been restored with a contemporary taste that I do not mind but which perhaps has aroused discontent among the more traditionalist population.

Historic centre

Before dinner, at Pasquale’s home, I enjoy the view of the houses of the village leaning against the side of the mountain, the color of the street lamps and the plain below, thinking that my passage in the silent Goceano is finished and tomorrow I will return after almost a year in the Nuorese.

PS The next morning, before leaving for Orotelli, Florin, a Romanian boy whom I met on my passage to Nule joined me in Bultei. After months, he wants to meet me again to say hi and offer me a coffee. So we meet in the village bar for a chat, but when we fight to pay Giovanni, who hosted me for lunch yesterday and who works here, he doesn’t want any money. It is true that foreigners never pay in bars in Sardinia!






While we enjoy a little the cool in the Sa Fraigada forest, the boys of the Usulvisi Association tell me about the panic that some time ago created in these territories the sighting of a somewhat atypical animal for these areas: a black panther. The sighting by several people, not only hunters and breeders but also professionals such as lawyers and doctors, warned the forestry, who despite research has never been able to trace the agile feline. The skepticism vanished after many cattle were found dead with signs of attack by a large cat.

The newspapers went wild for a while. “Bultei’s Panther” … sounds like the title of a movie. Instead, it was used as the title of a book by Roberto Deriu from Nuoro. In an Italy dominated by an esoteric totalitarianism called ´Official Structure´ the events of the protagonist Alberto Campana, a young musician of Marchigian origin, unfold. He lives an adventure in the midst of power games and the discovery of a book upno which the fate of the whole world could depend, while the black panther, initially believed to be a mythological being, sows terror and dismay in the villages of Sardinia.