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Berchidda > Vallicciola

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A medium-length stage, but particularly intense due to the altitude difference and some critical aspects of the route; it takes us to the heart of Monte Limbara (1,362 mm), the third highest peak in Sardinia and a true jewel of the Gallura region.

Special Notes

The stage represents a variant of the Sentiero Italia (which leads from Monti directly to Calangianus); it is preferred to cross the Limbara mountain range, one of the jewels of the Gallurese hinterland, which cannot be overlooked.

A stage to be avoided in the central summer months.

The route should not be underestimated. The stretch that climbs out of the dense forest towards Punta Bandiera is particularly difficult, as the invasive vegetation makes the path almost invisible and the terrain is steep and uneven. It is necessary to be well trained and have a good sense of direction (as well as sharpening your eyesight to spot the stone cairns and monitor the GPS track frequently).

There are no more water points after the Giardino delle Farfalle: take a good supply with you.

when to go
March - November
Suitable for
how to get there
description of the route

We leave the village of Berchidda and immediately begin the very long climb (about 1,000 m height difference) to Limbara. After an initial stretch on asphalt, we turn onto a gravel road and follow it with an increasingly gentle gradient. At a gate, we take the path to the left and follow it until we reach the dirt road again. Shortly afterwards we reach the beautiful Arboreto Mediterraneo del Limbara (or Giardino delle Farfalle), where we also find a fountain. We continue along the dirt road until we reach a small lake (with a fenced building and a new fountain), which we go around on the left and continue with a moderate incline.

Then the gravel road gives way to the path and we enter a dense forest, which is very impressive. We continue to gain height and enjoy the shade for as long as possible. When we come out of the forest, the path becomes very narrow, half swallowed by the vegetation; the ground is often contiguous and the slope is very steep in places. We continue in this way until we reach a wide plateau where we catch our breath: the last, rather strenuous climb awaits us (but at least the path becomes clearer). To the east, we admire the austere profile of the island of Tavolara.

Finally, we reach the wide ridge of Limbara; the peak of Punta Bandiera rises in front of us. We turn left and continue walking up and down a good path towards Punta Balistreri. We tackle a steep but short descent and come close to some large antennas, then we continue (a short detour allows us to admire a beautiful stone arch from above). We continue and reach the vicinity of Punta Giugantinu, which is well worth the climb: the ascent, which is entirely voluntary, requires attention but is very short (there is no path, we have to walk on sight along the steep rocks). At the top, we enjoy an incredible view of the north coast, from Capo Testa to Asinara; if the day permits, you can also catch a glimpse of the Corsican mountains.

Back on the path, we lose altitude (about 200 m drop) as we enter a coniferous forest until we come across a forest road, which we follow to the left; shortly afterwards, we leave it to take a small path to the right, cross a hill (passing the helipad) and then reach Vallicciola, a real oasis of peace.

What to know

The massiccio del Limbara (Limbara massif) marks the border between Gallura and the Logudoro area.

Its granite rocks have a wide variety of shapes, formed over the centuries by the effects of the weather. Its name dates back to Roman times, when it was called Limes Baleares, because even then the massif was a natural border between Gallura, inhabited by the Corsicans, and Logudoro, inhabited by the Balari, allied to Rome.

The highest peak, Punta Berritta (1,362 m), is flanked by Punta Balistreri, which is 1,359 metres above sea level and owes its name to a shoemaker from Tempio Pausania who, in past centuries, abandoned himself in these mountains after killing a young man who had raped his daughter.

Among the beautiful rocks, a forest unfolds, mainly composed of holm and cork oaks, under which rare plants such as the Limbara currant grow. In 1936, the area was devastated by a fierce fire that destroyed much of the vegetation; as a result, it was decided to plant conifers that could grow quickly.

From the 1920s, Limbara was the first place in Sardinia where sport climbing was practised - by Guido Cibrario from Piedmont. Even today, this is a specially protected area where only clean climbing takes place, without fixed installations on the walls.

Nino of Gallura was an important judge of the Giudicato di Gallura.

He was a contemporary and friend of Dante and was mentioned in the 8th canto of Purgatory. He was born Ugolino Visconti and was the grandson of Ugolino della Gherardesca, a nobleman and politician in 13th century Pisa. Nino was leader of the Pisan Guelfs and was forced to flee to Sardinia, then under Pisan rule, where he died of malaria a few years after his arrival. His death marked the end of the Giudicato Gallurese (Gallurese Judicate), which from then on was under Aragonese rule along with Corsica.

What to see

Among the most important nuraghi in Gallura is the Nuraghe Majori, located in Conca Marina, just a few kilometres from the town of Tempio Pausania.

Amidst forests of cork, holm oak and downy oak, stands this single-tower nuraghe built with granite rocks quarried on site. It is characterised by a central corridor and has an irregular structure whose ground floor, consisting of two chambers, is still intact.

The site was looted by the locals in ancient times to build dry-stone walls to separate private properties; later, General La Marmora (Cavour’s military advisor during the Risorgimento) decided to dismantle the body of the nuraghe to search for artefacts. Inside the site there is a colony of bats, which belong to a very rare micro-species.

In the centre of Tempio Pausania is Piazza Faber, designed by the famous architect Renzo Piano and dedicated to Fabrizio De André.

The great Genoese singer-songwriter spent part of his life in Agnata, a beautiful place in the municipality of Tempio. Agnata means “hidden corner, sheltered from the winds” in Gallurese, and today it has been transformed into a boutique hotel for those who love places off the beaten track.

L'Agnata was also the place where De Andrè was kidnapped with his partner Dori Ghezzi. Nevertheless, it remained a place of inspiration for the singer-songwriter-poet, who found a new way of listening to nature in this enchanted place (for many years they lived here without electricity).

L'Agnata also represents a concrete cultivation and breeding project and was one of the first in Italy to become an agritourism, when De André was still alive.

what to eat

Typical of Sardinian cuisine are panadine, small baskets of briseè dough that can be filled with anything: artichokes, peas, sausage or the classic lamb and potatoes.

These little savoury pies are typical of Oschiri, where the most important festival is celebrated, and are most likely a Spanish heritage. They used to be served with an eel filling on Sundays or religious holidays.

where to sleep

Monte Limbara Nature Hotel, in Vallicciola. Tel. +39 393 801 9224

How to Reach

The starting point is accessible by car.

The starting point can be reached by bus, starting from the city of Olbia.

Here is the LINK to check the timetable.

The starting point is NOT accessible by train.

"There are many reasons to go to the Hotel Vallicciola: above all, the cheese cake made by the cook Gabriella… it's just delicious!”

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