A walk in the country

The itinerary proposed here advises a visit to some archaeological sites in the area, which can be distinguished by their unique nature, their monumentality and their context in the countryside in which they are to be found. We are speaking about the necropolis of Mandra Antine, the cave of Sa Corona di Monte Majore, the cork plantation of Su Padru and the nuraghe Fronte Mola.

Leaving from the centre of the village we take the state road 131 bis towards Alghero. After about two kilometres we take the provincial road for Romana which crosses all the communal territory. After about 10 kilometres there is a signpost which indicates the entrance to the necropolis on the right. A farm track takes us to a wooden hut from which the path which takes us to the tomb. The necropolis of Mandra Antine is made up of 4 sepulchres in the form “house of the fairies” domus de janas revealed on the front of a trachytic outcrop. The tomb III, known as the “painted tomb”, studied by Ercole Contu in 1961, is distinctive because of its wealth and variety of architectural and symbolic themes reproduced in the principle cell. The plant shaped in a “T” is made up of four rooms: an access area leads us to the larger rooms in a rectangular form from which the lateral walls revealed the entrance doors to the two cells. The most interesting aspects are the particulars illustrated in polychrome, on the ceiling, the walls and the floor of the main room. On the front wall, there is a bull-like “all wall” sketch which is painted red. The composition is made up of a quadrangular “false door” that reproduces the head of the bull, which is imposed on a red horizontal stripe and overlaid with two red stripes whose ends are curved upwards which represent the horns. At the centre we note a series of six contrasted triangles painted black, while six blackish discs hang, three per side, from the horns. The iconographic composition is completed by two frames with discs; these too are black, with some horizontal stripes. A similar composition was also painted on the walls opposite, but today it is difficult to decipher. The meaning associated with the illustration of the hanging globes is today still an object of contention: the most popular hypothesis is that they are solar discs connected to the cults of water or fertility. The ceiling is also decorated with a negatively embossed illustration on the double scope roof with high beams and the lateral beams ten per side. The vault is divided into twenty squares with black backgrounds and red borders, inside which other symbolic designs: semi-circles, spirals, oblique lines are illustrated in ivory. At the centre of the floor, a circular fireplace with a central cupel bordered with four sculpted con-centric circles is visible. The Tomb I or “delle paraste” is also interesting in which some elements of the apse hut from Neolithic times, visible in the entrance room, are rendered in negative.

Once we have left the necropolis, we follow the provincial road for Romana. It is worth stopping at the beautiful nuraghe Majore, positioned above a rocky spike (in the territory of Cheremule,) a few hundred metres after the crossroads of the road Sas Baddes that takes us to the cave of Sa Corona di Monte Majore. We arrive at this cave taking a farm track for several kilometres, rich in views and panoramas of the surrounding valleys. The Monte Mesu is very interesting, the top of which is reachable only if you are accompanied by an expert guide, it is a little known archaeological site. Once we have almost reached the end of the road, a signpost on the right indicates the turning to take to reach the entrance of the cave. Along the road the nuraghi of Monte Pitzinnu e Sa Caddina are visible if you pay careful attention. The entrance to the cave is hidden by vegetation but easily found thanks to the signposts. It is possible to visit the inside accompanied by a local caving group, so it is necessary to speak in advance with the Local Council Comune di Thiesi for further information. The cave is divided into a space rich in concretions and in some smaller spaces, has been frequented by man since pre-historic times.

Once we are back on the road for Sas Baddes we reach a junction with the provincial road for Ittiri – Romana and we turn in the direction of Ittiri. After about three kilometres, we meet the first turning on the right that takes us onto a farm track which is particularly interesting because it crosses the naturalistic area of Su Padru where it is possible to walk between the numerous cork plantations and paths, in direct contact with the spontaneous vegetation and its rich scents. Once we have reached the end of the road, we turn in the opposite direction on the provincial road for Thiesi, to then take the state road 131 bis towards Alghero. After about three kilometres alongside the lake Bidighinzu, a signpost indicates the nuraghe Fronte Mola. Well known since the start of the last century, this nuragic building is to be found in the middle of the woods along the side of the high plain of Sa Sea, inlocality Mesu ‘e Roccas, and enjoys a dominant position on the valley of Rio Mannu. It is a “corridor” type nuraghe with subsidiary rooms and stairs that bring us to a room on a higher floor. Contrary to classical nuraghi in the circular form, the design of Fronte Mola is rectangular (length 16,20 metres; width 12 m.; height 8 m.) The building was constructed with great masses of trachyte which have smaller sizes at the higher layers. The beamed entrance opens into a decentralised position on the short southern side and leads into a corridor of about 12 m in length, closed with horizontal sheets that cross the building in the longitudinal sense.

On the walls of the room the entrance, there are four small recesses covered in straight arches. One of these, the first on the right, is the access to the room that is to be reached from the stairs on the higher floor, made up of a great rectangular space, today open to the skies, from which we may admire the artificial lake of Bidighinzu.

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