Glam beauties of Costa Smeralda, now I bring you towards those more discreet but full of charm of Ogliastra. My tour of eastern Sardinia continued with a transfer from Arzachena in Baunei, through a stretch of state route 131 to the junction to Lula where I have taken the road that leads to the Lake Cedrino and in Venice, and then the State Road 125 towards Tortolì: here, for nature enthusiasts spectacular, begins a journey through the overhangs on the valleys of the Supramonte (Don't miss the view on the legendary Gola di Gorropu), granite rocks and pastures, through the Genna Silana. On the way, I suggest a stop at the restaurant Butterfly, Open from one year and run by some young enterprising and, especially, I advise you to enjoy the peace of this place stubbing engines and just listening to the murmur of the wind in the Arbutus.
Getting to Baunei is always a feast for the eyes. The view over the Gulf of Arbatax will welcome you in this center ogliastrino, about 500 meters above sea level, inhabited by very friendly people. in the summertime, this country, that it is never too crowded, It does not suffer from the effects of humidity. That's why I chose it as a place to sleep. The mountain dominates the landscape but the sea is really close by. So I suggest, about mountain, taking in the late afternoon the train that, from the center of Baunei, It takes you to Golgo, the chasm largest in Europe, Enjoy strolling by donkeys and small socievolissimi boars wallow in the mud. An afternoon spent at the nearby beach of Tancau, a Lotzorai, or that of Santa Maria Navarrese, and a mighty cliff, just understand that even here, and not only in Costa Smeralda, the sea has colors and transparencies have nothing to envy.
In fact, As for beaches, This corner of Sardinia boasts some of the most famous in the Mediterranean coves and personally prefer them to those of the Costa Smeralda. From the port of Santa Maria Navarrese you can start with rafts and boats for excursions in the Gulf of Orosei. Even here there are several boats and routes and the same applies as above. The trip costs on average € 35 and takes about six to eight hours. Once you leave the harbor along the granite cliffs and sheer rock walls that reach up to 300 meters: we are small by comparison small, you will feel the weight of the world. The rock of Pedra Longa reminds us that we are looking at an ancient land, with millions of years of erosion that have given rise to deep caves, like that of Colombi or Grotta del Fico, a unique beaches like the famous Goloritzè (within walking distance from the plateau of Golgo in an hour and a half trek), in crystal clear pools where deep karst rivers bringing fresh water meets the salt sea, giving rise to the Pools of Venus. Then a succession of stops where you can bathe in sensational bays: Cala Gulls, Cala Biriola, Cala Sisine. If you choose the other route you can stop at Cala Mariolu up to the beautiful Cala Luna, some famous Italian and foreign films shot in these pristine environments.
Obviously, all this coming and going, I could not think of the kitchen and I was able to carve out two hours of time to get to know one of the gastronomic symbols of Sardinia: the "know". A stop at the pasta factory Rosanna Chironi, a Santa Maria Navarrese, It is a must if you want to get to know the secrets of these ravioli magically closed by hand and stuffed with a delicious and fluffy potato dough, pecorino and Mint. Over a thousand culurgiones are closed by hand by Rosanna, alongside the pastry from its two daughters. It was a long time that I wanted to learn the art (no longer be defined in any other way) closing hand to 'spike' these ravioli and in this video you can see the nimble hands of Rosanna: It seems to fly. It also seems easy, but I guarantee that it is not for nothing. Besides these beings know Rosanna ago pasta fresh and all sweets of Sardinia: a stage in his bakery is a must if you are in the area.
On my return trip to the province of Cagliari I chose to travel the inner roads. Beginning with a stop at the village of Villagrande Strisaili, famous for his homemade ham, a tradition of local families which makes this mountain town a must. Try simply between two slices of bread: its characteristic is the wild flavor, soft and tasty fat, with a strong hint of black pepper. You can find it also in grocery stores where you can get to do some really tasty sandwiches. A few kilometers, I suggest you make a stop on the banks of lago dell’Alto Flumendosa, a Villanova Strisaili. An artificial lake high in the mountains where you will meet cows and goats grazing that will keep you company in your ride to the dam on the river. After crossing the forest of Selene, in the territory of Lanusei, you get to Old Gairo, the ghost town, damaged by a series of landslides and a flood in 1951, and rebuilt a few kilometers away.
From this center, rapidly it reaches Ussassai and the region of Tacchi d'Ogliastra, limestone and dolomite formations that draw the landscape: from Perda Liana (Gairo) that of Monte Arcuerì. If you want to enjoy another amazing views, Mulargia overlooking the lakes and Basso Flumendosa, to the Gulf of Oristano, from the pass of Monte Arcuerì take the road, through the woods, It leads to the top of Mount Santa Vittoria (over 1,200 meters high), to Esterzili. Here you can visit the Nuragic complex. But the real surprise for me was the Pranu Muttedu Archaeological Park, in the village of Goni. A mysterious and fascinating place, where they are still standing several menhirs, the highest concentration of Sardinia, tombs circle, domus de Janas. It is one of the most important archaeological finds of prehistoric Sardinia and I promise you will not regret to have stretched a bit 'the path to visit.
WHERE TO SLEEP: In Baunei I chose the bed and breakfast It Clarera, with bright and well furnished room (70 € per night in high season)
WHERE TO EAT: for a full immersion in the know of the Ogliastra restaurant The Pinewood, ad Arzana, It is the right address. It is worth devoting forty minutes uphill drive to get to this temple of traditional pasta, of grilled meats, cured meat and porcini mushrooms. All at a very affordable price: typical menu less than 30 €.