With the historical cultural itinerary to be presented within the next paragraphs, the knowledge of the vast territory framing the city of Oristano can be enriched, among pretty country churches telling a centuries-old history, imposing nuraghi and ancient abandoned novenaries.
Zerfaliu, Villanova Truschedu, Bauladu and Solarussa are the municipalities crossed on the path to the discovery of the Campidano’s millennial history, the very territory where Oristano stands.
What we will see in this article a variant of an itinerary already presented in a previous article. Indeed, the first itinerary is the starting point of a variant capable of deepening the knowledge of Sardinian novenaries, linked to man’s eternal need to confront himself with the transcendent.
The complete path measures approximately 46 km, almost all of which on comfortable dirt roads, alternating with rare but needed stretches of asphalt. The accumulated altitude difference is around 160 meters.
It is recommended to respect the highway code and be careful, especially in the asphalted sections and inside inhabited centers.
You will not meet any dogs during your journey, but you will pass through areas where farms are located, possibly with their grazing flocks.
The itinerary starts from Church of the Maddalena, on the outskirts of Silì, and by following a dirt road, you will immediately reach the left bank of the Tirso. Pedaling, you have to go up the river.
Coordinates: 39°54’57″N / 8°36’49″E
Leaving the building of the disused Simaxis railway station behind, after about 6 km, you will reach the “iron bridge”, on S.P. 15, dating back to the second half of the 19th century. Then, at the entrance to the town of Simaxis, take a dirt road leading to the first stage of the itinerary.
Coordinates: 39°55’40″N /8°40’2″E – Stazione ferroviaria dismessa
Coordinates: 39°55’58″N / 8°40’20″E – Ponte in ferro
Actually, this is not the current location of the town, which is on S.S. 388, but in the area where Simaxis was formerly located, along S.P. 9, as evidenced by the presence of two church buildings. The churches are dedicated to San Nicolao, bishop of Mira, and to San Teodoro respectively. They are both on the edge of the aforementioned S.P. 9, only a few tens of meters away from each other. In 2014, both churches were included in the list of assets declared of cultural interest.
Coordinates: 39°56’48″N / 8°42’29″E – chiesa di San Teodoro
Coordinates: 39°56’48″N / 8°42’28″E – chiesa di San Nicola o Nicolò
With a short 2 km-long asphalt stretch, you will reach the southern outskirts of Zerfaliu, where you will come across the church of San Giovanni Battista, built in the 13th century on the site of a Roman necropolis. The enlargement process underwent by this necropolis is evident: the difference between the two factories is so clear that it is easy to hypothesize the original size of the building. Several ancient tombstones are placed on the low wall delimiting the churchyard, testifying to the continuity of use as a cemetery area. Inside the town there is also the Pisan pointed arch with the bell gable, the last visible remnant of the original church, dating back to the 11th century.
Coordinates: 39°57’23″N / 8°42’27″E – San Giovanni
Coordinates: 39°57’30″N / 8°42’26″E – Arco Pisano
After visiting the small town, you may leave the inhabited center by heading to north-east, thanks to an asphalted inter-municipal road towards Villanova Truschedu, as you pedal parallel to the Tirso river. After approximately 6 km, on the left, you will find a tourist sign indicating a dirt road, and as you go along it, you will ride along the fence of a factory complex, until reaching the Santa Barbara nuraghe. This monument is well known, having been excavated by Taramelli as early as 1915. Other excavation campaigns took place in the 90’s of the last century and in 2006. The nuraghe area is partially privately owned, but it is nevertheless possible to visit the monument and its nearby surroundings.
After riding the dirt road backwards and returning to the asphalt, turn left and continue parallel to the Tirso river (which remains on your right). There are two crossroads where you must always keep left until you reach a gate that leads to the rural sanctuary of San Gemiliano, dating back to the seventeenth century. Within the churchyard, you may see the stone statue. Opposite the façade there are some “cumbessias” (small lodgings once occupied by the faithful during the celebrations), now renovated, the ruins of what once was the small village and the remains of a large nuraghe.
Go back towards Zerfaliu, then by crossing the town heading north, you will reach the countryside of Solarussa, where the archaeological area of Pidighi is located, north-east of the town, reachable by a dirt road; the site consists of a sacred spring, a large village and a nuraghe. The area has been partially excavated and documented by various publications, which have described its chronology and its probable considerable extension.
Coordinates: 39°59’57″N / 8°42’4″E – Villaggio
Coordinates: 39°59’57″N / 8°42’8″E – Fonte
From Solarussa, the return journey to Oristano begins by going back along a stretch of the dirt road that led to Pidighi, then turning right to enter the territory of Siamaggiore from the north west, crossing the town and reaching the last stop of the itinerary, in the territory of Siamaggiore. The small rural church of San Ciriaco (Santu Triagus in Sardinian language) is located barely over 1 km south of the town. In 2014, this building too was included in a historical-artistic report by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, accompanied by an essential bibliography.
Coordinates: 39°56’40″N / 8°38’8″E