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The ancient hamlet of Tratalias

Lose yourself in the atmosphere of the hamlet of Tratalias, among ancient rituals, craft shops and architecture from the past.

At only 2km from the Sirimagus holiday farm, the church of old Tratalias shows itself in all its beauty in the centre of the square in the small hamlet. The ex-cathedral, which in the past was part of the diocese of Sulcis (1213-1503), is named after the Virgin Mary of Montserrat and is one of the most beautiful examples of Romanesque architecture in Sardinia. It is the only remaining building from the medieval hamlet of Tratalias, whose origins date back to the year 1000. The imposing building, 30 metres long, 13 wide and approximately 12 high, made from sedimentary and volcanic stones, has maintained much of its original architecture, preserving some of its unique particulars, such as the stairs which are visible both inside and outside the church as well as the precious altarpiece from 1596.

 

 

Gathered around the church you can find the houses of the old hamlet, abandoned at the end of the 1980s due to water infiltration caused by the Monte Pranu  reservoir, and today restored to encourage tourism, but above all, to maintain the historical memory of the place.

During your visit you can admire the use of different raw materials like stone and juniper wood beams which have been perfectly integrated into the structure.

Some of the buildings house the craft shops (ceramics, wood, materials etc), which are open to the public during events to allow visitors the opportunity to discover the traditional craft techniques.

 

 

There are several events which involve the ancient hamlet of Tratalias causing its streets to come to life again, but there is one particular annual date which is especially celebrated by the Sulcis population; the festival for the patron saint of Tratalias in honour of the blessed virgin of Montserrat. The Thursday before Ascension day, dating back to 1503, the year in which the episcopal seat was transferred from Tratalias to Iglesias, the ancient tradition where the people of Tratalias carry the statue of the virgin Mary into the town, is re-enacted. Every year a different family organizes the transportation of the statue pulled by an adorned tractor which is decorated with flowers and textiles. Behind the virgin Mary, tractors pull trailors carrying women dressed in traditional Sardinian costumes, girls dressed in white, and faithful followers who choose to take part in the procession. At the exit of Iglesias, the procession is led by the prayers of the bishop and the prelate, while on arrival, mass is celebrated, and it is the tradition to light a bonfire.

The religious celebration goes hand in hand with the popular festivities, culminating on the Tuesday when the virgin Mary leaves Tratalias and returns to Iglesias.

The mining heritage of the Sulcis Iglesiente area

The mining industry went hand in hand with the development of the Sulcis Iglesiente territory from 1800 to 1980. Today it is easy to see the signs of its past, large buildings, galleries and digs that have changed the countryside and represent the history and mining traditions of the area. The rich heritage of its industrial archaeology, recognized as a UNESCO heritage, are included in projects for its reconversion and potential as a tourist attraction.

 

It is easy to get to 3 important mining sites which are part of the Geomineral Historical and  Environmental Park of Sardinia from the Sirimagus holiday farm: the Big Serbariu Coal Mine, the Port of Flavia and the Rosas Mine.

 

 

The Serbariu mine is less than 20 minutes drive from the Sirimagus holiday farm, on the southern side of Carbonia, not far from the centre of the town which was incidentally built around the mine.

It was the first modern coal mine in Sardinia including a large electricity central, two metal  frames for the extraction of coal at a depth of o over 100 metres, an efficient wash room and several galleries complete with modern systems, storerooms, offices and stockrooms.

In 1940 there were more than 3,000 workers, but during the second world war there was a drastic reduction in the production. After the war, productivity started up gradually, the number of workers increased, and the production improved notably, arriving at its maximum point in 1947.

At the end of the 1960s when the price of the Sulcis coal fell drastically, the crisis began to be felt and this led to lay offs and a drop in production. The mine ceased production in 1971.

The Serbariu mine (today the ‘Great Mine of Serbariu ‘) has been taken over by the Geomineral Park of Sardinia and has been proposed as a museum trail with guided tours on the surface and underground. At the moment its buildings host the Italian Centre for the Culture of Coal (C.I.C.C.).

To organize your visit to the mine visit the official website where you can find contacts, prices and times: https://www.museodelcarbone.it/images/lingue/CICC_English.pdf

 

 

Porto Flavia is situated in Masua, a village near Iglesias, at about 40 km from the Sirimagus holiday farm. On the way there you will find yourself driving along one of the most beautiful stretches of road in Sardinia with an enchanting view of the sea. When you arrive at the beach of Masua continue driving along a dirt track until you reach the car park, where you will leave your car and walk a short distance while you admire the surrounding landscape as far as the entrance to the gallery.

The site was inaugurated in 1924 and was an important port which allowed the transportation and loading of the minerals from the mines through an extremely innovative system for that time.  A cliff railway from the first gallery from where the material was unloaded into large container which could contain up to 1,000 tons of minerals. The second gallery which opens up onto a sheer drop over the sea, allowed through conveyer belts, the loading of the minerals directly into the ship’s holds which were moored under the cliff. Designed by the engineer Cesare Vecelli, takes the name of his first born child Flavia. The site continued to be active until 1960.

Grazie alla visita guidata si può percorrere la galleria che si conclude con una terrazza su uno dei più suggestivi panorami sardi con vista privilegiata sul bianco faraglione di Pan di Zucchero (monumento naturale) e sul blu profondo del mare.

Thanks to the guided tours you can go right through the gallery which terminates in a terrace over one of the most breath taking views in Sardinia overlooking the white sea stack of Pan di Zucchero (a natural monument) and deep blue of the sea. For more information visit or contact the tourist office in Iglesias.

On your way back I suggest that you stop off at the panoramic viewpoint of Nebida where you can admire another example of mining archaeology: the Lamarmora Laveria.

The Rosas Mine Ecomuseum is an important mining archaeological site with 150 years of extracting activity behind it. The site is in the territory of Narcao, 21 km from the Sirimagus holiday farm, about 25 minutes by car. The Rosas mining village is immersed in an environmental context characterised by great biodiversity made up of autochthonous and endemic fauna and flora.It is for this reason that it is considered an ‘Ecomuseum’ uniting mining history and the naturalistic value of the area.

Your visit to the site will include the discovery of the ‘laveria’ with its large presses for working the materials, from the Santa Barbara gallery where lead and zinc were extracted, along with that of the mining culture through the multimedia installations and other displayed exhibits.

For further information visit the museum official site and plan your trip: http://www.ecomuseominiererosas.it/

l'Isola di sant'Antioco, immagine della processione del Santo Patrono.

The island of Sant’Antioco

Sant’Antioco, with its 109 km2 is the biggest Sardinian island. It is connected to the mainland by an artificial isthmus which substituted the ancient bridge, probably of Punic origin, later improved by the Romans, and still present on the right hand side of the road.

On the island of Sant’Antioco, you will find the town of the same name, the most populated town, and the first one to welcome those arriving on the island, and that of Calasetta which is in the north west of the island.

Sant’Antioco

You can reach Sant’Antioco in 15 minutes by car from the Sirimagus holiday farm, by taking a road that cuts through the sea water ponds, where you can admire the scenery of Santa Caterina where migratory birds like flamingos, build their nests. On the opposite side the town of Sant’Antioco appears reflected in the sea in front of it.

 

The town of Sant’Antioco rises up on the ruins of the ancient Phoenician Punic city and the Roman Sulky – Sulci. When you arrive in the town we suggest taking a walk along the small port where you will find the small coloured fishing boats which are still being used. It’s a good idea to go here on a Sunday morning, when the freshly caught fish is sold. You can set off from the port for a boat trip to discover the island from the sea and take part in the fishing tourism so doing you can have an alternative experience in the territory.

There are numerous bars and restaurants where you can stop and get a a quick snack, an aperitif or an excellent meal. Most of these places can be found in the area of the port or in the main streets, but there are also very good restaurants, pizzeria and pubs to be found not far from the centre.

The town is full of history and traditions, as can be seen by the various cultural sites below:

  • The town archaeological museum “Ferruccio Barreca” which contains important relics from the prenuraghic, nuraghic, Phoenician – Punic and Roman periods.
  • The ethnographic museum “Su Magasinu de su Binu” ( wine warehouse) which houses tools used in the rural activities of the island.
  • The byssus museum which is a continual exhibition about the working of byssus, the tools used and the products.
  • MuMa – the museum of the sea and masters of axes which offers an exhibition on the tools used in fishing and in seafaring activities.
  • The area of Sant’Antioco hosts some of the beaches which are considered to be among the most beautiful in Sardinia, such as Maladroxia, Coequaddus, Tore Canai and Cala Sapone.

Thanks to its coasts which alternate between steep cliffs and small coves most of which are protected from the Mistral wind. Sant’Antioco is the perfect place to spend a day relaxing on the beach or to do water sports like diving, snorkeling or going for a boat trip.

There are several beaches which are accessible to disabled people:

  • The “Isola del Cuore” at the Maladroxia beach in Sant’Antioco;
  • “Ca Du Zenaive” at the Calasetta saltworks.

 

 

Calasetta

Calasetta has beautiful beaches and a charming old town centre which stretches from the hill down to the port, from where the ferries leave for Carloforte, the only inhabited town on the nearby island of San Pietro. The tower, built by the Savoys in 1760, stands over the town and the “Sottotorre” beach. A short distance from here you can find the sandy shores of the “Grande” beach and the saltworks. To the west the coastline rises up offering a spectacular landscape plummeting down to the sea. The evocative view at “Mangiabarche” is characterised by the lighthouse built on a small rock in the middle of the sea, which is especially appreciated by photographers due to the spellbinding images particularly during winds northwest.

Besides the Tower other sites that can be visited are:

  • The Domus de Janas of Tupei,  where fragments of earthenware were found, along with bronze and clay objects;
  • The contemporary art museum (MACC), which hosts a collection of paintings from the European movement period 1960s and 1970s.

Every year the island of Sant’Antioco becomes the stage for several festivals and events which are popular with tourists such as:

  • The festival for the patron saint of Antioco the martyr (the patron saint of Sardinia) in spring and in August.
  • Concerts with national and international artists in the Phoenician Arena of Sant’Antioco during the summer.
  • Food and Wine events in Sant’Antioco, like “Calici sotto le stelle” and the “Isola in Fermento”.
  • The Literature Festival in Calasetta in August.
  • The Festival of “Pilau” in Calasetta in the spring.

Porto Pino destination

When you arrive at Porto Pino you’ll be mesmerized by the colour of the water, which varies from turquoise to crystal clear, and the first thing you’ll do is to kick off your flip flops to walk on the stretch of white sand that separates you from the sea. A unique emotion especially for those of you who aren’t used to having the sea at a stone’s throw from home.

The low water for several metres makes the beach perfect for people with children or those of you who love to relax soaking in the sea, which is an ideal way of finding relief from the hot summer days. The beach offers services such as showers and toilets, bars, sun umbrellas and sun beds for rent. It is also possible to hire canoes, paddle boats, boats or rubber dinghies.

The beach is an irresistible attraction summer and winter, as the Sardinians well know, in the low season they go there for long walks,  to do sport or just simply to enjoy the view offered by the sunset over the sea.

 

 

The long strip of sand allows you to reach the awe inspiring sand dunes of Is Arenas, where the wind draws and changes the landscape into an open air masterpiece. Behind the beach you will find the typical plants of the Mediterranean scrub and a pine tree wood of rare Aleppo pines, which is said to have been the wood used by the Phoenicians to build their boats.

On the northern side of the beach, past the big pine wood, is Porto Pinetto with numerous sheltered bays away from the usual tourist beaches, which can only fit a limited amount of people due to the natural formation of the coast allowing the full view of the rugged coastline, among rocks and juniper trees, along with the sound of the waves.

The small port in front of the beach has room for 111 boats, most of which belong to the local fishermen who have been fishing for generations.

Before reaching the beach you pass through areas with ponds, which are of particular interest due to the exceptional biodiversity which distinguish it, numerous species of birds can be seen, such as pink flamingos, herons,  marsh harriers and black winged stilts. The scenery distinguishes itself by its types of vegetation, which in the different seasons colour the land offering an alternative view to the sea. The ponds, especially at dawn and at sunset, are an ideal place for photographers.

 

 

Porto Pino beach is in the territory of the municipality of Sant’Anna Arresi, a small town which is famous for hosting one of the most important jazz festivals in Europe “Ai confini tra Sardegna e Jazz” (At the borders between Sardinia and Jazz), which sees internationally famous musicians playing in the square in front of the Arresi Nuraghe every year. This festival takes place during the first weeks in September.

The experience of a trip to Tratalias among history, traditions and nature

The Sirimagus holiday farm is in the territory of Tratalias, a small town with a population of 1080 in the Sulcis Iglesiente area. Its position allows you to easily visit the historical and natural heritage that distinguishes the South West … Read More