340/377: Orroli


Aragonese window

I arrived in Orroli last night, I stayed in a hotel, without hot water, on such a cold and humid day, but above all without a soul, an experience to forget.

In the rain I get active to look for another accommodation and luckily I find the b&b Sa Pardina, warm and very welcoming, in an authentic atmosphere, just as Orroli should be, part of the Authentic Italian Villages circuit.


I am in the rain waiting for the owner of the b&b to join me. I am seen by the family who lives next door, and I am invited to come inside while I wait. The family has a vegetable garden full of saffron right in front of the house. I had noticed the flowers on the ground along the wall. And in fact the saffron has just been harvested and is shown to me with pride.

Once I have thanked the kind couple, I settle in the b&b and, despite the rain, I decide to visit the village, deserted on this grey and wet Sunday.

Historic centre

Too bad, the Panificio Kentos (Kentos Bakery) is closed. Here they produce and sell loose wheat, bread, pasta, unique and genuine products, which could be the basis of the longevity of the population. Kentos, one hundred, is a tribute to the centenarians of the country. Here lived Tziu Giuanniccu Frau, who in 2000, at 112 years old, was the oldest man in Europe.

Barber shop

The village, divided into various neighbourhoods, is located at the base of a basaltic ridge, above which the Su Motti park is located. I walk through the historic center, narrow alleys, stone houses, some noble buildings, and still saffron flowers along the roadsides.

Saffron flowers

I arrive at the parish church of San Vincenzo Martire, whose bell tower, clear base and upper part in red rock, is visible from all parts of the village. An old sign indicates a barber shop, then another indicates the “free zone”.

Zona Franca (Free zone)

Beyond a closed gate I can see the nuraghe San Nicola, literally in the middle of houses (how many municipalities boast of having the only urban nuraghe, but instead …)

Nuraghe San Nicola ruins

I pass the eighteenth-century Aragonese-style church of San Vincenzo Ferreri and arrive at the Nuraghe Arrubiu Museum, in an elegant beautiful building, the former Casa Vargiu, which belonged to a wealthy local landowner. At the moment, here there are only explanatory panels on the important archaeological site.

In reality it should house many finds which, they tell me, “are kept in the former town hall, which is closed with chains, to prevent the superintendency from coming to take them”. Like yesterday in Nurri, again today I have the feeling of being in Barbagia and not in Sarcidano!

San Vincenzo Ferreri church






The Great Absents. Again in Orroli as in many other places I was unable to visit the iconic places of the area. Today unfortunately for the climatic conditions prevented me from riding my bicycle.

The site of the Nuraghe Arrubiu, which I called by phone, does not make visits in the pouring rain, too risky, the slip on the wet stone is just around the corner. Too bad, this is one of those sites that I wanted most to visit, the red nuraghe due to the presence of lichens, with its majestic central tower, the five lateral ones and the seven external ones. Another time.

Climbing the basaltic ridge, Sa Corona Arrubia (not to be confused with that of Lunamatrona and Villanovaforru), to visit the Su Motti park is impossible. Same thing for the large lakes of the area, the Basso Flumendosa Lake and the Mulargia Lake, unique landscapes in Sardinia for the richness of contrasts, deep valleys that flow into the waters, on which the surrounding rocky ridges are reflected.

But it is important to remember that here in Orroli there is another great absentee. Cristian Farris, 27, disappeared a few weeks ago and he has been lost track of. The newspapers talk about nothing else. Being here today, on such a grey day, only reminds me of this disappearance, giving me chills that add to those from the cold.

Post Scriptum (July 2021). Cristian Farris has never been found.