Oristano, a city not entirely coastal like the ones we have considered so far but it is certainly the main HUB (a few km from the coast) to visit the whole stretch of the Gulf of Oristano , between crystalline waters, expanses of quartz sand and archaeological sites of world interest. Oristano is a must see, even during the day as it is an ancient city rich in history of western Sardinia. So let's analyze Oristano and its surroundings starting from one of the provincial capitals.
What to see in Oristano
For us Sardinians, the thought of Oristano immediately leads us to the most famous costume tournament in Sardinia, the Sartiglia . It is a must to admire in case you are in the area during the carnival period, in February. There are two guilds that take care of the event, that of carpenters and that of peasants and the "Leader of the race" is Su Componidori , his task is to gallop with his beautiful horse and take a star with his sword. Then there are the knights who descend through the streets of Oristano. In this village it is pleasant to take a walk through the historic center and stop in the different squares that characterize the city such as Piazza Eleonora , the nerve center of Oristano, the beautiful tower of San Cristoforo built around 1200 to protect that area from continuous looting. We also recommend a visit to two churches of historical and architectural interest, the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and inside there is the Chapel of Sant'Archelao , patron saint of Oristano. Another religious site is the church of San Francesco and the characteristic is certainly inside, where you can admire the crucifix of Nicodemus , a wooden sculpture dated around 1400 and considered the most important simulacrum in Sardinia and the main iconographic model of all Sardinian art. of that period.
2) THE BEACHES IN THE AREA
The coast of the Gulf of Oristano is beautiful and varied from a geological point of view, from a confirmation point of view and also from the type of sand. What beaches to see in the Oristano area? The most popular example is the beautiful beach of Is Arutas , which we certainly recommend you to see and characterized by an expanse of very fine quartz of different colors that plunges into the limpid and transparent sea. A little further north is the beach of Mesa Longa , another natural wonder in the Su Pallosu area. Continuing towards Bosa it is not to be underestimated a beautiful beach and ideal for watching the sunset, S'Archittu . This beach is known above all for the type of arched rock in the “sunset” direction, popular for diving and for beautiful kayak rides. The Sinis peninsula is also a Marine Protected Area so you can imagine the beauty of the coastal site, guaranteed precisely by the protection of the area, including the precious beaches of the Peninsula, both on the eastern and western sides. Another beach, in this case south of Oristano and worthy of note is Torre dei Corsari , made up of fine orange sand mixed with small pebbles like grains of rice, behind the sandy dunes covered with Mediterranean scrub and in front of a sea of Caribbean colors .
These beaches just mentioned are not the only ones, on the contrary, they are the most popular. Below you will see a sequence of remote beaches that can be reached by car or by trekking and which are located in the immediate vicinity of Oristano. Don't forget us travel planner we absolutely favor the discovery of remote and off-the-beaten-path areas, but not only that, we recommend the choice of a beach also based on weather conditions (may or may not be exposed to winds), to type of traveler (maybe if you are a family I will prefer to recommend a beach with services rather than a remote one reachable after 50 minutes of trekking) and to yours needs and passions . Choosing our service will be fundamental, before and during your vacation. Enjoy the show.
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3) WHAT TO DO (OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES)
What to eat, what to see and also what to do in the Oristano area. The multitude of outdoor activities in the Gulf of Oristano is incredible. Through our TOP itineraries we can also give you a list of specialized guides for trekking paths to discover wild nature or archeo-trekking , the beautiful horseback excursions in the Sinis peninsula, the quad bike ride along the coast but also MTB through spectacular trails. From a marine point of view, the area is strongly known for kite surfing, Wind surfing , surfing above all in Putzu Idu, and then the kayaking and canoeing that never fails and the wonderful excursions by boat or raft to discover the most remote coves and of crystal clear waters.
4) HISTORY AND TRADITION
First of all is definitely Tharros , which is located along the Sardinian coast in the Sinis peninsula and a few kilometers from Oristano. Tharros was an ancient city from which Oristano originated and which was certainly one of the most important cities of the Phoenicians, founded in 800 BC The Phoenician civilization was born in Lebanon and Tharros became a fundamental building as a support point during the maritime journeys to the west . Within the ruins of Tharros different periods can be distinguished ranging from the Nuragic age (there are prehistoric villages in the Muru Mannu area) up to the Roman age passing through the Phoenician one. Under the government of Carthage (the most important Phoenician colony in the Mediterranean) the city of Tharros was incredibly fortified, enlarged and experienced a period of economic wealth with the increase in trade with Africa, most likely also became the provincial capital . With the conquest of the Romans then, there was a strong renewal with the construction of aqueducts, baths, roads and thus became a status for the Roman community.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire Tharros entered a deep crisis without ever getting out of it and bringing the total abandonment of the area around 1000 AD The image of Tharros that we usually see on the web and in magazines is mainly represented by the 2 large towers that stand out from the entire site. The excavations of that area brought to light an important temple of the Phoenician age now represented by the rectangular base in square blocks, the 2 columns, on the other hand, were rebuilt after the excavations only and exclusively for purely tourist purposes, thus leading Tharros to be represented in postcards, in photos, on the web in a much more spectacular way. Personally I think that this splendid site did not need reconstruction to affirm its importance on the world scene. I absolutely recommend you to visit the Arborense Antiquarium Museum which has a rich collection of artifacts found in the city of Tharros, both nuragic, Phoenician, and Roman. Certainly the most heartfelt tradition of Oristano is La Sartiglia, discussed previously.
5) TYPICAL DISHES
After a beautiful day among beaches, archaeological sites and walks it is important to take stock of the situation in front of a typical dish of the area and certainly in Oristano, as well as seeing, you must also eat. Mullet is the fish that is often found in locals' homes, perhaps boiled and wrapped in zibba (a plant found in ponds), this dish is called Sa Merca . Bottarga is obtained from the eggs of Cabras mullet (but also tuna), fabulous to be enjoyed grated over spaghetti and which has become a symbolic dish not only of Oristano but of all the Sardinian coastal areas. Eels are also a typical dish of the area, usually cooked on the grill and seasoned with bay leaves. In the Marceddì area, mussels and clams are also bred , to be enjoyed absolutely as an appetizer in white or with soup. Of the land dishes I definitely recommend trying the red ox meat that comes from the pastures of Scanu Montiferru, a small village near Oristano. Red ox meat is a Slow Food Presidium, a brand that protects biodiversity and enhances small traditional productions, breeds and plant varieties at risk of extinction. When we are in the Oristano area there is absolutely no lack of a lunch based on Bue Rosso, the meat is tasty, grows in a healthy way and you can clearly feel that it maintains high quality characteristics.
A collection of our experiences on the island!
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Here is who has chosen us to organize their holiday to discover the less touristy Sardinia !