NUORO, “THE SARDINIAN ATHENS”

In Nuoro, ancient traditions and origins live side by side with more modern and recent aspects. The Nuoro province is known for its white beaches and crystal sea, the Gennargentu Park and the nuraghi, a unique testament to the world of the ancient civilisation that lived in this area.

History

The oldest settlements in the Nuoro area date back to the Nuraghi times, as the numerous nuraghi in this area demonstrate. The first written documents are dated 1342, however the place name Nugor appears for the first time in a document from the eleventh century. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the city fell into the hands of the Byzantines, who governed to no advantage of the area but rather made it suffer the heavy war duties. Barely affected by the influence of the two marine republics of Genoa and Pisa, first under the rule of the Aragonese and then the Spanish, Nuoro witnessed an oppressive feudal regime, which contributed to the spreading of lawlessness and isolation, situations that the whole area suffered. When Sardinia passed under Piedmont in 1720, Nuoro’s economic conditions were disastrous.  Despite this, during the eighteenth century, Nuoro gradually obtained the leadership over the other towns that surrounded it.  In 1779, by ordinance of Pope Pio VI, the city was given bishopric status.  After 1945 the city underwent rapid expansion as a consequence of the progressive depopulation of nearby towns, and of unrestrained building that had little respect for the striking rural village characteristics that the city had.

The city and its monuments

The city of Nuoro is “on a human scale”, where modern characteristics live side by side with the traces of ancient origins, found in the San Pietro and Seuna quarters: here the ancient values of hospitality, solidarity and human generosity are still alive. Amongst its most important cultural features are the Archaeological Spelean Museum, which exhibits objects of prehistoric time and recounts prehistoric events, and the Ethnographical Museum, which offers objects and costumes from popular traditions. The following churches are of architectonic and artistic interest: Delle Grazie, the Cathedral and the rural churches of Valverde and della Solitudine, which has the remains of the author from Nuoro Grazia Deledda.  Finally, piazza Sebastiano Satta has a distinct pictorial flavour, due to the contributions of artists such as Antonio Ballero and Giovanni Nonnis.

The geographical area

The villages in the province of Nuoro are characteristic and suggestive. Oliena, with its suggestive suburb with traditional architecture, is best known for its excellent wines. From Bitti it is possible to admire the Nuraghi village of Noddule. Arbatax, situated at the base of the Bellavista cape, develops around a large Seventh century tower. It is a well-known tourist destination and is known for its suggestive red porphyry cliffs, that surround the port and provide a spectacular view and for its famous “trenino verde”, a popular steam train that runs along a particularly fascinating route. Bosa Marina has very ancient origins, but during the year One Thousand it was a strategic position in the Malaspina feud and gained fame and prosperity throughout Sardinia. San Teodoro is a small town with beautiful beaches and clear water; nearby there is the San Teodoro pool, a humid area with many birds where the islands of Tavolara and Molara can be seen.