The Giants’ Tombs between legend and reality

Tomba di giganti, Madau - Fonni

The Giants’ Tombs between legend and reality

Discovering three Nuragic collective tombs, between Ogliastra and Barbagia, surrounded by a splendid environmental setting and by an aura of mystery and legend
symbols of the cycle of life, death and rebirth

According to fanciful theories and popular beliefs, they were the tombs of Cyclopean peoples, ancient inhabitants of Sardinia of whom no trace remains. Instead, it is the evolution of covered gallery tombs (or alleè couverte) starting in the Early Bronze Age (around 1800 BC). They are generally found in the area around nuraghi and villages and have often revealed fundamental artefacts for the study of the Nuragic age. They were probably a place of mysterious rituals and some still believe that the stones with which they were built release a mysterious energy.

The route starts inside an evocative forest in Ogliastra and heads north alongside splendid water landscapes, ending on the slopes of Gennargentu.

Itinerary: 42 km 

Road travel time: 1 hour

Seleni wood, Lanusei

At an altitude of a thousand metres, hidden inside a dense forest, lies the archaeological park of Seleni. Next to the nuraghe, the remains of the village and two sacred wells, you will find the two tombs, built in granite. The smaller one, with a curved stele, is older. The other one, which is larger and ‘in rows’, was built at least a century later. According to some, the ‘living’ would go there and sleep inside, in order to ‘contact’ their deceased ancestors or receive guidance and revelations in their sleep.
Archaeological park of Seleni wood
An interesting Nuragic complex rises up on a relief in the territory of Lanusei, in the province of Ogliastra in central-eastern Sardinia, immersed...

Sa Carcaredda, Villagrande Strisaili

Just over twenty kilometres to the north, in upper Ogliastra, you can visit another archaeological park located in a forest. Strangely, there is no trace (for now) of a nuraghe: instead, there are the remains of a village, a temple and four Giants’ Tombs, two of which are better preserved. The first is particularly striking, as it is exceptionally monumental. Not far away, don't miss the spectacular water features of the Bau Mela natural pools.
Tdg Sa Carcaredda - Villagrande Strisaili
Sa Carcaredda
It was a sacred burial area and it preserves memories of the devotion towards divinities and ancestors of the Nuragic people who inhabited Alta...

Necropolis of Madau, Fonni

After travelling another twenty kilometres in the same direction, you will reach the final stage of the route at the foot of the Correboi Pass. The four Giants’ Tombs of Madau are spectacularly positioned, like an amphitheatre, facing the rising sun. The first displays magical-religious symbols, as in the slab called the Madau Stele; while the second is the most monumental, with a counter-seat along the exedra. The third is similar to the previous one, while the fourth is still to be investigated.
Necropoli Madau - Fonni
Necropolis of Madau
In the central region of Barbagia di Ollolai in Sardinia is an archaeological site on the slopes of Gennargentu that reveals the Nuragic...

Mappa dell'itinerario