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Rifugio Sa Oche > Dorgali

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Despite its considerable length and fatigue, this stage offers magnificent scenery: from the Nuragic village of Tiscali, built in a collapsed cave, to the view of the vertical walls of Monte Oddeu (1,063 m).

Special Notes

A stage you should avoid in the middle summer months.

The stage is not particularly difficult, but it is very long and only suitable for experienced hikers; in any case, it is advisable to start very early.

There are water points only halfway through the stage (just before the junction with the main road).

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

We leave the Sa Oche refuge and continue along the road, which is level until it starts to climb (about 300 m height difference) towards Monte Tiscali. Then we continue on a wide path and the gradient increases. At a crossroads, we keep left and enter a narrow slot between the red rocks, from where we make a traverse with a splendid view of the Lanaitto valley. Soon we reach the gates of the Nuragic village of Tiscali, located in a large collapsed cave and definitely worth a visit (you have to pay admission, but it's worth it!).

After the visit, we return to the trail and tackle the steep descent (about 150 m drop) into the Surtana valley, which we cross on a nice flat path amidst the dense, shady forest; we then tackle a stone staircase that soon takes us down (about 100 m drop) to the valley floor. When we meet the dirt road, we turn right and continue for a few kilometres until we branch off from it and descend along a good path to the Fiumineddu stream. After crossing the stream, we return to the path and start the long climb to the main road (about 500 m height difference). The first part of the climb is firm but steady, on a good path; behind us we admire the beautiful eastern face of Monte Oddeu (1,063 m). Then we change to a dirt road and the gradient gives us pause before tackling the last hairpin bend (in this section we find the only two fountains of the stage).

Once on the main road, we follow it to the left for a few hundred metres, then take the mule track to the right and tackle the last real climb of the day (about 150 m D+) by climbing up the rocky ridge. We continue straight north for a few kilometres on a very recognisable track, although sometimes a little uncomfortable due to the stony ground, often in the shade, with some ascents and descents (never difficult). When we reach Monte Tuluri (recognisable by the large antenna on the summit), we cross its western slope and gradually lose altitude (about 200 m drop) until we reach a large saddle where we find a metal cross and some huts; we follow the mule track and take the scala de omines, which takes us quickly downhill (about 200 m drop) until we reach the good cobbled track that takes us to the southern edge of Dorgali: shortly afterwards we are in the lovely village centre.

What to know

In the municipality of Dorgali, in Cala Luna, much of Lina Wertmuller's film Travolti da un'insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d'agosto was shot. The story tells of the shipwreck of a sailor (Giancarlo Giannini) and the mistress of the yacht (Mariangela Melato) he works for, on a desert island. Far from civilisation, back in the state of nature, the balance of power between the proletarian communist and the bourgeois woman is reversed before a passionate affair blossoms in the blinding summer light. A cult film of Italian cinema.

At Hotel Il Querceto, black-and-white photos of the director, Giancarlo Giannini and Mariangela Melato recall this cinematic gem.

Dorgali is located in the Girifai free zone, outside the system of the Judicates, which enjoyed special administrative and tax exemptions. The region (which included the present-day municipalities of Girai, Dorgali and Galtellì) was linked to the monasteries of Santa Maria di Geltrude, San Giovanni “Su Lillu” and Monte Ortobene in Nuoro to prevent the return of Byzantine religious influence to Sardinia.

Many commercial transactions from the nearby port of San Giovanni Porto Nonu (Cala Gonone) were conducted in the monasteries. Over the centuries, the Franca area of Girifai flourished and took on an important political and commercial role, which was restricted but not destroyed during Pisan rule.

In Dorgali, the Leppa Dorgalese is made, a typical Sardinian knife with a handle made of mouflon horns.

Sa Leppa in Sardinian means the white weapon that shepherds have always carried on their belts. It is almost like a sabre with a curved tip: it can be up to half a metre long. Smaller models of the old version have been preserved, a craft that has been passed down through the centuries. The engravings on the handle are precious.

What to see

In the heart of the Supramonte lies one of the deepest gorges in Europe: the Gorropu Gorge.

It is a deep gorge, 1.5 km long, which separates Barbagia from Ogliastra. It is a natural monument formed by the river Flumineddu and a destination for many trekking enthusiasts. The walls of the gorge are up to 500 metres high and up to four metres wide, making it the deepest gorge in Italy. There are many rare plant and animal species here, especially the Gorropu columbine and the Sardinian euprotto - the rarest amphibian in Europe.

In a sinkhole lies the Nuragic village of Tiscali, a settlement on the summit of Mount Tiscali (518 metres). In a depression of the mountain with an uncovered roof are the remains of one of the most fascinating Nuragic finds: apart from the crowds, the visit takes your breath away.

Scholars believe that this was the last bulwark against the advance of the Romans and that Cicero’s phrase about the Ilians, “they burst out of the ground like ants”, can be traced back to this settlement. Numerous square-rectangular dwellings have been found, which point to the late Nuragic period.

The settlement was discovered by Ettore Pais in 1910, but only described and photographed by Antonio Taramelli in 1927. Over the centuries, the site was damaged by numerous lootings. Since 1995, the area has been under control and can be visited on payment of an entrance ticket.

For more information on opening hours and tickets, see LINK.

In Ispinigoli is one of the most beautiful caves of the Supramonte, the Grotta of Ispinigoli.

Its 80-metre-wide main hall is enriched by a 38-metre-high limestone column. It was opened to the public in the 1970s and is rich in undulating stalagmites that create a unique underground landscape. Inside the cave is an area that can only be visited by experienced cavers, the Abisso delle Vergini, a canal that extends for no less than 12 kilometres to a depth of 60 metres below sea level.

Artefacts from all the civilisations that have inhabited the island have been found in the cave.

In the municipality of Dorgali is the Tomb of the Giants of Sa Ena 'e Thomes, a funerary monument from the Nuragic period associated with the cult of the Mother Goddess and the god Bull.

The wide exedra, reminiscent of the horns of the animal, was the place where the funeral rites were performed. What is special about this tomb of the giants is the huge stele (almost 4 metres high) that overlooks the trench where the bodies were buried. Its construction is dated to the Early Bronze Age (1600-1800 BC) and differs from the others in that it faces south rather than south-east.

what to eat

The most representative dessert of Sardinian cuisine is the Seada, also called sebada, sevada or sevata in the Sardinian language.

There are three main interpretations for the origin of the name: from the Spanish cebar, to eat; from cebada, a cereal known in ancient Rome; or, according to the Sardinian Etymological Dictionary, from the term sebu, meaning animal fat - in this case lard.

It is sun-shaped ravioli made of semolina pasta, filled with fresh cheese (sheep's milk), fried and then seasoned with honey. It used to be a real dish and was not considered a dessert.

Seada should be eaten freshly cooked to preserve the characteristic melted cheese - it is recommended to enjoy it accompanied by a white wine from the island. A true delicacy not to be missed at the end of a meal.

where to sleep

Hotel Il Querceto, in Dorgali. Tel. +390784 96509

There are numerous accommodation options in Dorgali.


The starting point is reachable by car.

The starting point is NOT reachable by bus.

The nearest location that can be reached by bus is Località Suvegilu, starting from the city of Nuoro.

Here is the  LINK to check the timetables.

The starting point is NOT reachable by train.

“Although the stage is still very long, we cannot avoid taking a longer break in the village hewn into the belly of the Tiscali”

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