Nestled between Nuoro and Cagliari, the much smaller province of Ogliastra boasts some of the island’s most spectacular scenery. Inland, it has mountains with unspoilt valleys, silent woods and windswept rock faces, while the coastal stretches become increasingly dramatic the nearer you get to the Golfo di Orosei.
For many Sardinians, it is considered the most beautiful part of Sardinia; fascinating and primitive, historical and ancestral, a paradise for trekkers and with pristine beaches for sun worshippers. It is the land of centenarians.
For serious hikers, the Selvaggio Blu is the stuff of myth: an epic seven-day, 45km trek along the Golfo di Orosei’s wild and imperious coastline, traversing thickly wooded ravines and taking in bizarre limestone formations, caves and staggeringly sheer cliffs.
Both the scenery and the walking are breathtaking (in every sense of the word!) on what is often hailed as Italy’s toughest trek. A guide is recommended as the trail is not well signposted and there’s no water en route (guides can arrange for it to be dropped off by boat).
For the non trekking enthusiasts there is the option of a boat trip, as these beaches are accessible only by boat or hiking along the trails. Intimidating limestone cliffs plunge headlong into the sea which comes ashore along pretty beaches, coves and grottoes. With an ever-changing palette of sand, rocks, pebbles, seashells and crystal-clear water, the unfathomable forces of nature have conspired to create a sublime taste of paradise. The white limestone beaches of Cala Biriola, Goloritzè or Cala Luna, considered the most beautiful
beaches of Sardinia, will leave the visitor in awe.
Cala Mariolu is arguably one of the most sublime spots on the coast. The water that laps these beaches ranges from a kind of transparent white at water’s edge through every shade of light and sky blue and on to a deep purplish hue. The peace and tranquility of the hills of Cardedu and its beaches, virgin to mass tourism, are ideal for those seeking an unspoiled and unique landscape.
Do not miss the Golgo plateau, 20 km from the village of Baunei, the starting point for many excursions and a place rich in historical and natural monuments, as S'Isterru, a karst pit 295 metres deep, one of the deepest in Europe with very important cave fauna.
For archaeology lovers, there is, as well as the many nuraghis in the area, the Serbissi in Osini, the Monte Arista Domus de Janas in Cardedu or the Tomb of Giants in Triei to whet the appetite.
Here, everything has remained unchanged, pure and unspoiled. Time would appear to have stopped in Ogliastra including for its inhabitants. In fact, this area boasts several firsts in human longevity: a family of nine children all still alive with a combined age of 828 and for an entire country that has entered the Guinness Book of World Records 2014.
It is Villagrande Strisaili , the village with the highest percentage of centenarian men in the world. If you ask the inhabitants the secret of this longevity you will get different answers: the air, the outdoors, the food, the wine or… God. Several studies have confirmed that a genetic factor, healthy food, the absence of stress , the good air, the frequency of human contact , play an important factor, as well as wine Cannonau , which has a percentage of polyphenols, substances with high antioxidant content, crucial to the fight against cholesterol and atherosclerosis, between 5 and 10 times higher than the Australian, South African and American wines.
It is a land that is good for tourists who can discover nature and flavours long since forgotten elsewhere.
" The Ogliastra will lengthen your life " : It is how the province was presented to the International Tourism Exchange in Milan and, for once, is not just a slogan. http://www.insidesardinia.com/en/insidecalamariolu.html