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Sant'Antonio di Jerzu > Hotel Scala San Giorgio (Osini)

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We move through the Tacchi d'Ogliastra, with a medium-length stage and little difference in altitude, between imposing walls and trees growing in the rocks.

The highlight of the day is the Grotta Sa Marmuri, which we can visit on the way.

Special Notes

A stage you should avoid in the middle summer months.

On the way, you pass several gates that have to be opened (and closed again!).

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

We leave Sant’Antonio Jerzu on a wide path and continue our walk on level ground. Shortly after, we pass a beautiful clearing with an old sheepfold made of stone and dry straw (su pinnettu) and a lime kiln behind it.

We continue and come to a viewpoint from which we have an excellent view of the Tacchi d'Ogliastra; we cross the road and descend gently (about 100 m drop) until we cross the provincial road and take the path that runs alongside it on the slope. As we do so, we pass the slopes of the imposing limestone face of Monte Troiscu (845 m) and then turn northwest, bypassing the Bruncu Matzeu group (957 m).

This takes us to the houses in the upper part of the village of Ulassai; from there we climb up an asphalt road (about 200 m height difference) to the Grotta Sa Marmuri, which is worth a visit (there are several picnic areas nearby, ideal for a snack in the shade). We continue north on asphalt until we reach the gorge known as Scala di San Giorgio (which is worth a short detour). Then we turn left and, still on asphalt through the woods, we ride the last kilometres (passing the Nuraghe So Orruttu) until we reach the Hotel San Giorgio la Scala.

What to know

Characteristic of the region’s landscape are the Tacchi d'Ogliastra: these are rocks of limestone and dolomite that rise from the headlands like the heel of a shoe - a process known in geology as “butte”.

Their formation is due to a form of selective erosion that has produced enormous rock formations with steep walls and extensive plateaus - including the altopiano di Osini, a limestone-dolomite plateau that rises with rock faces up to a hundred metres high.

The landscape of the Tacco di Osini is characterised by the presence of endemic orchids, especially in the Valle delle Orchidee.

There are numerous orchid species on the island (including one of the rarest species: the Dactylorhiza elata sesquipedalis), which account for 32% of the national heritage.

What to see

In Osini you can see the Scala di San Giorgio, a narrow gorge which, according to legend, was opened by a miracle of the Bishop San Giorgio to shorten the way for pilgrims. The Scala di San Giorgio is a spectacular natural opening on the edge of the Osini plateau, with fifty-metre-high vertical walls crowned by a solitary rocky spire called Su Casteddu - some believe that a fortress once stood there.

At the foot of the Scala di San Giorgio, where there is a spring (also associated with the saint), there is a small church built by the Osinesi in the 14th century.

There are numerous caves in the area, including Taquisara and Sa Marmuri.

The former rises above the village of Gairo Taquisara, extends for seven hundred metres and is decorated with numerous stalactites and stalagmites of various shapes. There are also several small lakes inside the cave.

The Su Marmuri cave in the municipality of Ulassai is one of the most impressive in Europe: it is 850 fifty metres long and has numerous rooms that are up to seventy metres high - the great hall is 72 metres high and 30 metres wide. It has been open to the public since the 1950s and houses wonderful natural monuments inside, including a 20-metre-high stalagmite. There is a lot of water in the cave, which makes for wonderful lighting effects; a large freshwater lake in particular stands out. The cave is home to a colony of bats (of the species Miniopterus), the most important in Italy: it seems to be the refuge for almost all the bats of Sardinia during their hibernation.

what to eat

A typical Sardinian pasta dish is Malloreddus, known on the continent as gnocchetti sardi.

Malloreddus are small fluted shells made of semolina and water, whose name means small calf - or more simply gnocco. They are a traditional dish for feasts and fairs and are made by scrambling the pieces of pasta in a straw basket to get the grooves. They are seasoned with a sauce of tomatoes, sausage and Sardinian pecorino; some add a few strands of saffron.

where to sleep

Hotel San Giorgio La Scala, in Taccu Osini. Tel. +39349 501 8975

How to Reach

The starting point is accessible by car.

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

Here is the LINK to check the timetable.

The starting point is NOT accessible by train.

“The Tacchi d’Ogliastra are a special ecosystem, with overhanging walls and aromatic plants, as hiking guide Valentina Allegria explains”

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