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Signs of history in water landscapes

There are many archaeological traces in Sardinia that follow the water.

It is Water that has guided new and extraordinary architectures, inspiration for the last centuries of the Nuragic civilization, which, thanks to it, seems to reach its peak in material expression. We still do not know what are the reasons why, at the end of the Bronze Age and at the thresholds of the Iron Age (about 2900 years ago), this element becomes so central to collect the places of the sacredness of the island of the West. Mediterranean. We know, however, what extraordinary abilities were the ancestors who have enclosed the waters of the sky and the waters of the earth in sacred spaces, geometrically satisfying, architecturally stupefying. We know their objects devolved to water, emblems of an ancient cult forged in bronze, incredible small sculptures, representing men and women, warriors and priests, bidders and faithful, animals, boats and ships.

The ancient geographers report that the island AQUAE, besides being fervid, had therapeutic virtues and were used, as sacred, to obtain hidden truths.

These qualities were recognized by the same Punics who inhabited the island and reveal to us the many ex votos found, as a testimony to how much the sacred waters could solve the ills of man. Very important were for the Romans, who, at the Aquae calidae of Sardinia, founded urban centers, junction of the ancient viability. Here, among the sulphureous fumes of the ancient tanks, we can read the inscriptions that refer to the cults of the Nymphs of the waters and to Esculapio and it is still possible to bathe in the pools they built. Their sacredness did not stop even with the fall of the Roman Empire and these were the places chosen to build churches in honor of the Christian martyrs, memories of how the island was a crossroads of the Mediterranean, a succession of events written in the stones.Small buildings in which the religious architecture linked to the water still animates pilgrimages today and recalls faithful to gather, as if nothing had changed.


  • Sacred source of Su Tempiesu (Orune -Nuoro)

The sacred source of Su Tempiesu is the only original testimony of the elevated structures and the coverage of the wells and sacred nuragic sources. It overlooks a valley covered by Mediterranean scrub and forests of oaks and cork oaks.

  • Romanzesu nuragic complex (Bitti -Nuoro)

In a dense wood of cork oaks between Bitti and Buddusò there is one of the most important residential and cultural complexes of nuragic Sardinia, an unknown monumental complexity with a hundred huts, five buildings of worship, a well temple, two megaron temples and a a large ceremonial enclosure, with a probable ritual route, almost labyrinthine and a rectangular structure that during the excavations returned exceptional findings of amber jewelry from the Baltic.

  • San Saturnino de Usulvisi and the Aquae Lesitanae (Bultei, Benetutti- Sassari)

The geographer Tolomeo tells about the ancient urban center of Lesa and the Ydata Lesitanà, the Aquae Lesitanae.The correct location of this ancient city along the river Tirso is not yet known, but the findings throughout the area, which testify to the cult of Esculapio, leave no doubt about the importance of the place. Notes are the Roman baths where still today the sulphurous water emerges and where it is still possible to dive and swim. Here the Romanesque church of San Saturnino de Usulvisi of 1163, a simple building in basaltic stone with a nave characterized by its landscape and standing on the remains of an imposing Nuraghic complex, remains the garrison of the historical importance of the place.

  • Ypsitanae waters at Forum Traiani (Fordongianus – Oristano)

The thermal complex, one of the most important in Sardinia, gravitates on the urban site of “Forum Traiani”. The settlement, of late Republican foundation, was constituted by the emperor Trajan as a market center between the inland communities and the Romanized populations of the hinterland of the Gulf of Oristano. The thermal baths of the 1st and 3rd centuries dC have waters that flow at 54 ° from the volcanic trachyte with a plant focused on the ” natatio“, used for therapeutic purposes and one with artificial heating ( frigidarium, tepidarium, calidarium ) intended for toilets. Here the cults were known to the nymphs of the waters and to Esculapio, here were found dedications to the emperor Caracalla and the sacredness of the water maintained the place as a center of meeting between people and cultures, crossroads of the Roman road that connected the south of ‘island with the North between Caralibus (Cagliari) and Tibula (the current Castelsardo) and the western and eastern part. Here on August 21, 304 AD, he found the martyrdom San Lussorio, one of the most revered saints of the island to whom a 12th century church is dedicated.which conceals the mosaic crypt dedicated to him.

Even today, the aquae calidae of this place do not lose their charm and with their fumes between the squared stones in pink trachyte maintain the sacredness of the place.

  • Well of Santa Cristina in Paulilatino (Paulilatino – Oristano)

Santa Cristina is one of the most important sacred areas of Sardinia nuragica. The complex includes a sacred nuraghic well in the North West, a large hut of meetings and various environments, surrounded by a wall enclosure. To the southwest of the area there is a single tower Nuraghe and a village. The sacred well, the great attraction of this place, consists of an atrium, a descending staircase and an underground tholos that holds spring water, particularly abundant in winter and spring. Syrian bronzes from the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, bronze fibulae and a nuragic ship were found. Many ex voto with heads of goddess, kernophoros , dating back to late age, when the sanctuary was consecrated to Demeter and Kore and later in Roman times to Ceres. This internationality of findings, this continuity of occupation, testifies to how the place, given its sacredness, was central and a catalyst for people and peoples.

Here today we find the faithful who make the pilgrimage to the rural church of Santa Cristina, built in the Middle Ages, between the Nuraghe and the well area, spending the nine days preceding the festival in the small village of small houses around the church. muristenes or cumbessias.

  • Nuragico Sanctuary, Sacred Well and Church of Sant’Anastasia, Sardara (Sardara – Cagliari)

The temple of Sant’Anastasia rises near the church of the same name, in the upper part of Sardara in the central Campidano. A real religious sanctuary of the Nuraghic age with a well temple in the center and a complex civil and religious settlement of huts enclosed within a large stone fence. At the center of one of the circular huts, equipped with counters-seats, was found a model of sandstone nuraghe and several storages of bronzes and the evidence of on-site processing of metal products. The area was used for religious purposes even after the nuragic age and the remains of Punic ceramics and the first Byzantine structure of the church of St. Anastasia, now visible and dating back to the fifteenth century, prove it.