Orosei is a sardinian municipality of 7.033 inhabitants in the Province of Nuoro, in the historical sub-region of Baronie. The city lies on the valley of the Cedrino river and it is located 2.5 km from the coast, where the seaside of Marina di Orosei is.
Sos Alinos and Cala Liberotto are also part of the municipality, about 12 km from the center.
Orosei’s landscape is dominated by the marvelous and unspoilt sea, with its astounding views, its shimmering colors and its incredible clearness.
The sea touches 14 km of white beaches, surrounded by forests, Mediterranean shrub, pink granite and basalt cliffs. The town is full of history and traditions, mostly from the Medieval and Giudicati period, and in the surroundings there are some sites of historical and archaeological interest. A perfect place to spend a holiday between sea and nature.
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- History and Archaeology
- Folklore and Traditions
- History and Archaeology
- Folklore and Traditions
Orosei in a few minutes
Sea and Mountain
The Old Town
Orosei’s Gulf, a unique sight
Orosei gives its name to the gulf, on Sardinia central eastern coast. Orosei’s gulf is one of the most famous and most appreciated destination by tourists from all over the world and from sardinians, being a unique natural sight. Since 1998 it’s preserved thanks to the establishment of Orosei’s gulf and Gennargentu National Park.
The gulf is divided in two different morphological sides: the northern one, low on the sea coast, is made of pine forests, long beaches (Su Barone, Osala, Cala Ginepro, Sas Linnas Siccas, Cala Liberotto, Bidderosa e Sa Curcurica), and coastal dunes, reaching the north end of Capo Comino, and the southern side, on the final part of the Supramonte tableland, goes until Capo di Monte Santu.
There are several naturalistic beauties in this coastal tract and the best way to discover them is to take one of the paths that from the inland go towards the most beautiful bays and coves of the gulf: “Cala Luna” with its big, limestone caves; “Cala Mariolu” with its marvelous sandy-pebble beach and incomparable clear water; or the incredible “Cala Goloritzè” with its famous “Aguglia”, an impressive 143 meters high limestone rock, a dream for every climber.
And don’t forget the famous Grotte del Bue Marino, 15 meters long coastal caves: the southern cave is visible through a 900 meters road. The name of the caves comes from the Sardinian way of calling the Monk Seal, which used to live here.
An inland to discover
The territory offers a wide range of interesting itineraries for wild nature lovers. Orosei’s inland is a versatile territory that can satisfy every type of naturalistic interest for those who love trekking, canyoning, climbing and speleology.
Kilometers of wild forests, basalt tablelands and granite features descending toward the coast, offer the chance to dive into the fragrant Mediterranean shrub and discover fascinating nuragic sites such as Sa Linnarta. Or you could choose to follow the shepherds’ path and reach their sheep pen, the so called “pinnette”, home of those who still do this ancient job.
Moreover, it’s worth to visit the naturalistic oasis of Bidderosa, run by Sardinia Forest Institution. It has an extension of 500 hectares, and 2 km of beautiful beaches. Inside you will have the chance to visit Bidderosa and Sa Curcurica ponds, home of the pink flamingos almost all over the year.
From the top of Mount Urcatu (125 m), reachable via a short walk in the nature, you can admire a breathtaking panorama of Orosei’s gulf and its features.
Last but not least, if you love the ancestral charm of the underground, you cannot miss a visit to Ispinigoli Cave, in Dorgali. The entrance to the cave will take the visitor into an incredible atmosphere, thanks to the rock concretions shaped like columns, the small stalagmites and the wavy concretions. In order to visit the cave to its deepest point you will have to descend 280 steps!
History and Archaeology
From nuragic origins to today’s touristic development
Although we do not have certain proof that the name Orosei comes from the ancient nuragic tribe of the Aesaronenses, the historian Tolomeo mentions a roman site called Fanum Orisi, which later became known as Urisè, during the Giudicati age.
After all, there are several remains of the nuragic period: Sa Linnarta complex, with its sacred well, it’s certainly the most interesting. Another nuragic village in the territory is Muros, close to the town of Sos Alinos.
Orosei’s urban center was founded by the Romans in the II century a.C. on a previous nuragic site. The town flourished during the Giudicati period (XI century) and became the Curia’s most important seat in the Gallura’s district.
Some of the most important historical monuments are dated back to this age, like Saint Antonio’s tower and the church of San Giacomo and San Gavino.
In 1288 Orosei became part of Pisa Maritime Republic and later, in 1324, part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, under the Aragonese Crown. The most significant events happened during the Pisan age, thanks to a busy port managed by Pisans, who also built the church of Santa Maria del Mare.
In 1449 a rich man called Salvatore Guiso bought Orosei and started constructing several noble buildings, still visible today in the well conserved historical center. There, you can still see the Oratory of the Confraternita del Rosario, the complex of Saint Antonio Abate, the so called “cumbessias”, small houses for the pilgrims, with a Pisan quadrangular keep in the middle, dated back to the XIII century.
Today, Orosei is a modern and touristic town, with all the essential services. The economy, once mostly agropastoral, is now more focused on tourism and wine sectors.
Folklore and Traditions
Baronie’s ancient charm and traditions
Orosei still keeps its ancient traditions from the Middle and Giudicati age.
The longest celebration is Festa della Madonna del Rimedio: it starts on the first Friday of September and lasts 18 days. Some families in Orosei go to the cumbessias (pilgrims’ houses) where they spend the period of two novenas. The celebration also hosts sacred festivals and big feasts.
Another well known celebration is the Festa of Sant’Antonio Abate, on January the 16th. An emotional rite to bring good luck. It ends with the offer of some typical sweet such as Su pistiddhu and Nieddhu bread.
It’s important to mention the splendid Easter celebration, inherit during the Spanish domination. Orosei’s Holy Week is full of religious rites; the three most spectacular celebrations are held on Thursday, Friday and on Easter morning: Sos Sepurcros (the sepulcher), Su Brossolu (the coffin) and S’Incontru (encounter between Christ and the Virgin Mary).
Moreover, the celebration of Santa Maria del Mare, on the last Sunday of May, begins in the morning in Piazza del Popolo with Sa Mutatura, where fishermen’ boats are decorated with colorful flowers; later, the boats with the simulacrum of the Virgin Mary sail to the Cedrino river and, lined up, to the small Pisan church of Santa Maria.
Other important ceremonies are the procession of Sant’Isidoro (15th of May), and Saint Giacomo (25th of July), the patron saint of Orosei, during which you can admire folk shows and fireworks.
Regarding traditional food, Orosei offers both seafood and typical gastronomic dishes from the agropastoral region of Barbagia: the so called “porchetto”, a suckling pig, is still prepared following the ancient procedure: cooked inside a hole, covered with a layer of ground on top of which they light a fire using aromatic wood. Or the “pecora a cappottu” (boiled sheep), flavored with potatoes, carrots and onions. As first dishes we have “culurzones”, ravioli filled with ricotta and potatoes, or soups with “su filindeu” (a type of pasta), fresh cheese and carasau bread. And don’t forget to taste the several varieties of pecorino cheese and salami.