Between the mountains and the woods of Barbagia, where fragrances fill the air in the summer, after being freed from the silent blanket of snow, lies Nuoro, the restless heart of the Island. It is easy to get there by car or, if you are taking your family from one of the localities along the coast, also by camper van. Once called the Sardinian Athens, it is a town “with a strong, noble, serene old age” as Grazia Deledda described one of her protagonists in ‘Canne al Vento’ (‘Reeds in the Wind’).
In Santu Pedru, the neighbourhood in which the writer and Nobel Prize winner lived, in the narrow lanes with their stone houses you will discover the floral arch that introduces her house-museum: rooms full of books, memories and everyday life. In her books, there are glimpses of hardworking women with strong characters, asserting themselves in the fight for dignity. The image of the Sardinian woman is also found in the works of Maria Lai at the Man museum or in the charismatic form of the Madre dell'Ucciso (Murdered Man's Mother) by the sculptor Francesco Ciusa, kept in the museum named after him, in the Tribu exhibition space. In the ethnographic museum, there are artisan works on display, in which woman is seen as an artist and recipient: jewellery, dresses, textile items, traditional breads.
Still close to the Santu Pedru district, in the heart of Nuoro, you can visit the monument-square named after Sebastiano Satta, where you can see the house in which the poet lived. “A unique jewel with worldwide significance” (according to art historian Fred Licht), designed by the Orani-born sculptor Costantino Nivola, one of the greatest Sardinian artists of the 20th century. Just a few hundred metres away, don't miss the cathedral of Santa Maria della Neve and the church of Madonna delle Grazie.
“It is not true that Mount Ortobene can be compared to other mountains - wrote Deledda - Ortobene is the only one of its kind in the world”. Paying a visit to the mountain that dominates the capital city of the Barbagia area is a must. The long climb will be rewarded by the breathtaking view. In 1901, a bronze statue of Christ was placed on one of its peaks, at a height of 925 metres. Every year, on the last Sunday in August, a procession that is part of a celebration in Nuoro, the festival of the Redeemer, heads to this statue. At the foot of the mountain, there is the church of solitude, where Grazia Deledda's body rests.