Parco Naturale Monte Linas, Marganai-Oridda
Located in an area of about 22,220 hectares, the area of?the Parco Naturale Monte Linas, Marganai-Oridda, Montimannu is included in the municipalities of Domusnovas, Fluminimaggiore Gonnosfanadiga, Iglesias and Villacidro. This is an area which develops mostly on a mountainous territory morphologically various, distributed among Monte Linas (granite massif) and Marganai’s calcareous massif, between which lies Oridda’s plateau, where it grows the ilex forest of Montimannu. A structure of this kind, together with the action of the weather, has allowed the creation of natural environments very different between them and charming: in granitic areas you can see numerous gorges and waterfalls, while calcareous areas water infiltration has allowed the development of underground rivers and the consequent formation of many caves. Everything is covered with luxuriant forests of holm oaks in the higher areas, cork oaks in low ones and the typical Mediterranean vegetation growing on the ancient rocks (among the oldest in Italy), which guard the signs of mining activity that has for centuries characterized this area.
Grotta di San Giovanni
The cave takes its name since antiquity by a cavity in the interior used as a rock chapel dedicated to San Giovanni (Saint John). It is located near to Domusnovas and it was formed after a structural failure of a calcareous mass; its uniqueness is due to the presence within its tortuous and sinuous tunnel, of a paved road that extends for all its length, making it unique in Italy and rare even in the whole world: it is, in fact, found to exist other three cases only. Of historical interest there are the remains of some huge boundary walls, evidence of a possible ancient fortress, next to the two entrances, north and south. In winter, the north entrance of the cave contains a surface river that runs parallel to the road and get close to the southern entrance, sometimes making impossible to enter. Towards the northern opening, the most interesting element of the cave, that does not present many concretions, it consists of huge stalagmites. The paved road that runs through the cave leads to Oridda’s valley, full of holm oak trees and crossed by the Rio Sa Duchessa, in a landscape of great natural and cultural interest, thanks in particular to the presence of the remains of the mining complexes of Barraxiutta, Sa Duchessa, Tiny and Arenas.
Grotta di St. Barbara
During the excavation of a blasthole at the mine of San Giovanni, in 1952 the cave of Santa Barbara (patron saint of miners) was discovered and now considered one of the oldest cavity in Europe. The fact that there are no direct communication with the outside but an only access through the mine, has made it possible to preserve it almost completely.
The cave consists of a large living room with oval branches downwards and upwards.Upward ones are narrower, while at the bottom there is a small underground lake. The cave is entirely modeled by splendid concretions formed in about 500 million years, like columns of more than 20 meters high stalactites, stalagmites and eccentrics of aragonite. The peculiarity of the cave is the presence of crystals in the honeycomb along the walls and vaults, punctuated by columns of blue aragonite and huge stalactites that create, in the twilight, fascinating effects of light and shade.
The caves of Su Mannau, near to Fluminimaggiore, and particular for the large karst complex arisen in the Cambrian period, are among the oldest in the world. Of great archaeological and caving interest, the cave is divided into two main sections, on different levels, originating from two underground rivers: the Placido river on the left and the Rapido River on the right. The total length of the cave is 8 kilometers and the highest point is 153 m. The area which can be visited by the tourists is made up of several rooms decorated with concretions, stalactites and stalagmites, columns that rise up to 15 m, aragonite crystals, underground lakes. The first room has a great historical significance for the links found with the nearby Punic-Roman temple of Antas. The ancient Sardinian populations went to the cave of Su Mannau to practice water cults, testified by the discovery of fragments of votive oil lamps. The siphon and the ducts are hardly visible because they are often under wather.
Declared discovered in 1870 and located in the north of Domusnovas, it is a mine of zinc, copper and silver lead extracted through a system of wells, tunnels and trenches and transported to the laundry to be treated. The mine is located in the south of a metamorphic ring generated by the intrusion of Hercynian granite on the Cambrian limestone. The mineral characteristics of Sa Duchessa are, like others in the area, of magmatic origin.
From after World War II the low productivity of the mines generated the crisis that led to the final closure in 1971.
The walk to reach the different sites provides a spectacular climb through narrow scenic trails, which come to the ruins of the village of Sa Duchessa de Pitzus.
During this walk you will meet many testimonies of mining activity, among which we mention: a long inclined plane, many entrances to tunnels, dumps and various ruins.
The mine of Arenas is situated at the confluence of three different valleys: the first one starts from Fluminimaggiore, the second one from the temple of Antas, the third one from Domusnovas.
Of particular interest are the washer of Genna Carru, a large complex of buildings, close to each other, which includes the same washer, the power plant, chemical laboratories, workshops, storage rooms, showers and other minor buildings.
The facilities of laundry are intact and the gears of the machines in some cases still work.
Inserted in a large wooded area, in the mine of Malacalzetta there were extract lead and zinc. Accessible from the SS 126 that goes from Iglesias to Fluminimaggiore, about 5 km there is a road through the village of San Benedetto and continues, through a very suggestive, until the installation located at the foot of the Punta Campu Spina.
The story of the mine involves numerous changes of ownership, integration with yards of Arenas, the transition to public management and finally closing and the final abandonment in 1986.
In the valley there is a clearing where there are placed the dormitories for the workers.
While in the tree-lined square there are the remains of the village with the management, the offices, the infirmary, the cellar and the circle, variously preserved.
The mine is part of the Geo-mining Park, Historical and Environmental Sardinia, recognized by UNESCO.
This ancient mine of lead, silver and zinc was already active in 1852 when there were resumed mining excavations of Roman and Pisan age.
Mr. Tito Frau also extended the concession to the minerals of zinc in 1898, before selling the mine to the Società Monteponi in 1913, which was allowed to unify the concessions of Reigraxius, Marganai Perdu Charter – Perdu Adria.
The research in mining mine Reigraxius concentrated in the area ofSanta Barbara (Galleria San Giovanni) and St. Anthony (Scott Gallery), through extraction wells and galleries.
The lead and zinc were transported with the use of oxen carts in Domusnovas through the Cave of San Giovanni and then to Cagliari to be boarded (was later built a railway line to the station of Museums, and then from here to the port of Cagliari). Before the construction of the road to the cave of San Giovanni (built in 1866), it was necessary to pass the top of the mountain of the cave traveling on a path called “sa ia de fenugus”.
We find, in the municipality of Villacidro, some of the most beautiful and spectacular waterfalls of Sardinia. About a kilometer from Villacidro, the town of Sa Spendula collects every year many visitors thanks to the show offered by the waterfall of Rio Coxinas. We can find it in its most spectacular appearance during the rainy season, but it is also one of the few waterfall in Sardinia to be perennial, so even in summer is beautiful.
Gabriele d’Annunzio in 1882, after visiting the town of Villacidro, was so enchanted by the waterfall that dedicated a sonnet. We find inside Monti Mannu two more spectacular and important waterfalls:
• Piscina Irgas, accessible through the path 113 that leads to an open space panorama from which you can admire the fascinating spectacle of the waterfall that flows into a deep pool with a jump of about 45 m
• Muru Mannu, accessible through the path 109, crossed by numerous fords that make it unattainable during the rainy season. High around 70 meters in its biggest jump and caught between two sheer cliffs is considered the most impressive waterfall of Sardinia.
The mountainous area of Monte Linas is located in the heart of the Iglesiente, in the south-eastern Sardinia. The mountain is essentially constituted by two geo-morphologically distinct areas: that of Monte Linas (mainly granite) and Marganai (shales and limestones) on which stands the Punta Campu Spina. The two areas are connected by Oridda.
Of particular interest to the botanical point there are some medicinal herbs like chamomile, calendula and belladonna. The lush oak forest is populated by wildlife including the Sardinian deer, wild boar, mouflon, fallow deer and the golden eagle. Una part of Monte Linas houses the Cultural Park Giuseppe Dessì, a Sardinian writer who in 1972 won the prestigious Strega Prize for her novel “Paese d’ombre” one of the masterpieces of Sardinian literature.
Known for its numerous churches, Iglesias is at the bottom of the Marganai mountain, in the south-west of Sardinia.
Inhabited since the time of the nuragic age, you can still see its surrounding sites Is Cadonis, Medau Mannu, Pannara Sa Punta, Santa Barbara, the Domus de Janas of St. Benedict, Tombe dei Giganti of Genna Solu and Martiadas and the Tempio Serra Abis.
It has always been a town known for its mining activity. Today the mines are an industrial archaeological heritage recognized by UNESCO:
Of particular historical and cultural interest:
• Cathedral of Santa Chiara, dating back to the thirteenth century, together with the churches of Our Lady of Grace and St. Francis, with their monastery dating from the sixteenth century.
• Museum of Art and the Museum of Mining Machines.
• The Feast of St. Mary of mid on August 15 with the procession of “The Candlesticks”. Also in the month of August there is the procession and the characteristic Medieval parade.
Nuraghe Sa Domu ‘e s’Orcu
The archaeological site is located at the foot of the south-eastern calcareous complex of Monti Mannu, in Iglesiente, region of south-west Sardini. Some wall remains suggest the presence of a village adjoining to the Nuraghe.
The tower, of circular plan, it will keep for a maximum maturity of 4.50 m.
It gave access to the courtyard through an entrance flanking the tower, opened in a straight section of the bastion. Nuraghe is dated to 1600-1000 B.C.