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The Province of Oristano - tranquillity in motion

Enjoy the province of Oristano by staying at one of the province's many well-equipped agritourisms.
 
The Province of Oristano - tranquillity in motion Enjoy the province of Oristano by staying at one of the province's many well-equipped agritourisms, a holiday during which the whole family can discover an ancient area that knows how to keep up with the times.
Oristano remains calm and imperturbable even when the mistral wind is blowing, which at certain periods of the year reaches a speed of one hundred kilometres an hour.
In fact, when seen from afar, what Oristano inspires is a deep feeling of calm and tranquillity, probably because the sea that surrounds it is so clear it makes the whole town seem equally serene.

But go closer and take a more careful look. The majestic tower that dominates the old town is the Tower of St. Christopher, also called the Manna Gate (or "big gate"), part of the impressive town defences ordered by Giudice (Judge) Peter II, who reigned from 1221 to 1241. Their function was to protect Oristano from the looting and violent raids it regularly endured – a past that was anything but peaceful and a stark contrast to the character of Oristano today. But there is another historical event to be unearthed from beneath the town's tranquil veneer: a unique force for change. During the Middle Ages the city was ruled by the giudicessa (female judge or governor) Eleanor of Arborea, who promoted a series of innovations, including the liberation of the serfs and, most significantly, the establishment of the charter known as the "Carta de Logu", one of Europe's first written codes of laws. If this information has intrigued you and you want to know more about the history of Oristano, be sure to visit the Antiquarium Arborense, which contains interesting archaeological finds that have come to light as a result of numerous excavations of the city.

Oristano rhymes with Vernaccia: the famous and exquisite Sardinian wine is a "must" to enjoy with some of the local almond biscuits. And if you want to bring a little bit of Oristano home, you'll be spoiled for choice with the beautiful pottery. The art of Oristano pottery, dating from the 12th-13th century, has been passed on in an evolutionary process where old merges with new; indeed, this art is still taught today at the local art institute, combining ancient skills with new directions.
For a peaceful break before leaving this beautiful Sardinian town, visit the nearby Cabras lagoon, and if you spot an immense expanse of pink, don't worry; these are splendid flamingos whose elegance adds a touch of stateliness to the surroundings.

Let's move on a few kilometres to visit Bauladu, a small town with less than a thousand inhabitants. Here you can see a perfect example of tradition in motion; in other words the water mills, where the difference in height due to the presence of the River Cispiri is exploited to grind wheat and other cereals.

Smaller still is the tiny town of Sennariolo, one of the smallest in the region. Renowned for its excellent olive oil and delicious honey, despite its size Sennariolo boasts significant places of interest. First of all the "Giants' Tombs": ancient burial vaults called nuraghi found only in Sardinia. Here they consist of a rectangular-based construction of large stone slabs driven into the earth to form a burial chamber as large as thirty metres long and three metres high.

From ancient monuments our journey now takes us to to futuristic architecture at Riola Sardo where we suggest you visit something truly original: the Sound Park.  Built in the old, disused quarries, there are several 'sound pathways', each with a different musical theme. The sensation is almost like standing in front of "sound sculptures", where interaction with the open spaces – due to the absence of a ceiling – creates a powerfully suggestive effect. It is a concrete and admirable example of human ingenuity reutilising pre-existing natural areas, and so giving them a new lease of life.
Our journey of discovery in the province of Oristano has certainly revealed a province that hides behind its apparently calm exterior, a ferment of excitement, ideas and projects.

Did You Know That…?
Who among you when at school didn't dream of replacing the usual boring maths, English or history class with exciting lessons about unusual subjects? Maybe learn about the stories of Superman, or comedy sketches, or simply discover more about love? Today, this desire is no longer science fiction since the "Aristan" University of Happiness was founded in Oristano. The idea of increasing the "GNH" (gross national happiness) was immediately greeted with enthusiasm by hundreds of members who joyfully joined the initiative. The degree programme confers a symbolic degree with no legal value, but which arms the mind against the ugliness of life. Taught by prestigious professors such as Vittorio Sgarbi, Barbara Alberti and film director Philip Martinez, the subjects are truly unusual: Comedy, Fear, Madness, Freedom, Seduction, Fun, The Art of Love, Comparative Consciousness and Tex Willer. Judging from the number of students enrolled, it seems that the pursuit of happiness never ends, and that at times it takes some new and original directions.

Michela Bilotta




 

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