Nuraghi and Giants’ Graves: the must-see sites near Cannigione

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Nuraghi and Giants' Graves: the must-see sites near Cannigione

The village of huts with the Nuraghe La Prisgiona, a hidden place of worship among the holm oaks like the Temple of Malchittu and large funeral monuments such as the Giants’ Grave of Coddu Ecchju: these are just a few of the timeless journey’s stops in North Sardinia. All close to Cannigione and the Cala di Falco Resort.

Rich in charm and mystery, the archaeological sites scattered across the territory of Arzachena are numerous. From the distant Neolithic to the middle Bronze Age, the cultures that lived in this area of Gallura have left significant remnants of their passage.

Nuraghe La Prisgiona

Among the hills a few kilometres from the fashionable Costa Smeralda, among characteristic Vermentino vineyards, one encounters the remains of the ancient and powerful Nuragic civilisation. Dating back to the Bronze Age, between the 14th and 7th centuries BC, this architectural complex consists of a central fortress and a village of huts, of which now only the stone bases in a circular shape remain.
Originally, each of them, topped by a wooden dome and branches, was the home of a family unit or the site of some productive activity, used for example for pottery making or bread production.

Nuraghe la Prisgiona - Cannigione

Moving towards the interior of the settlement, the stones become more orderly. Once arriving at its centre, one faces the fortress, where a large mural rises to surround the central tower incorporating the two side turrets. Beyond the towers, within the stone enclosure, there is a large garden where a well seven metres deep is still active. Here, ancient testimonies of everyday life from the era, such as spinning tools, pots, stoves, and pans, have been found.

Next to the source, there is also “the meeting hut”, a construction that had a different role from all the other huts in the village: inside, all the influential personalities of the city would meet for community, political, or religious reasons. Here too, various tools were found, among the most important: a half-metre high jug with unusual shape and decorations, thought to be used during ceremonies to distil a special beverage and to water the participants; several small pitchers containing traces of wine, evidence of the island’s millennia-old wine tradition.

Malchittu Temple

For those who want to combine physical activity with cultural exploration, we recommend the excursion to the Temple of Malchittu. You will follow a path, about 2 kilometres from Arzachena, winding for 25 minutes through open countryside, among large holm oaks that provide shade along the way. The excursion is also an opportunity to discover the tafoni, crevices between the rocks typical of Gallura created by the erosion of water and wind, which in prehistoric times were used as dwellings or burial places.
At the end of the climb, you will find this architectural structure built around 1600 BC, nestled in the Mediterranean scrub, surrounded by rocks between two granite hills. To enter, one must walk along the quadrangular atrium and then through the entrance with a small pediment. Inside the main chamber, slightly rounded in rectangular shape, one can see the remains of seats, counters, and niches. It is a place rich in charm, mystery, and that will leave you full of wonder, not only for the sacredness of the place but especially for the excellent condition, after almost 4000 years. The icing on the cake is the dramatic holm oak grown inside the chamber, rising above the masonry.

Li Muri Necropolis

This funerary circle is the oldest archaeological site in the municipality of Arzachena, dating back about 6000 years ago. An important testimony of the Neolithic culture that, on the island, seems to be widespread only in Gallura and in particular in the Arzachena area. Outside the borders of Sardinia, similar megalithic circles have also been found in southern Corsica and in the French and Spanish Pyrenean area.
The necropolis consists of funerary circles, each made up of stones stuck in the ground to form four circles with a diameter varying from 5 to 8 meters. Once, the circles contained piles of stones and earth that appeared as small hills. Each of these contained a stone casket with one or two deceased curled up and coloured with red ochre (red was considered the symbol of regeneration). With the deceased, the grave goods were buried, in this case of great value, which suggests they were prominent figures in society, probably warriors.

Once the visit to the Li Muri archaeological site is concluded, it’s worth also visiting the nearby Giants’ Graves.

The Giants’ Graves

Giants' Grave Coddu Vecchiu - Cannigione

A name born from popular imagination and used to indicate these large buildings believed to be intended to house giants. About 800 are known throughout the island, but the number of these collective sepulchres dating back to the Nuragic age must have been much greater.

In the vicinity of Cannigione, it is possible to visit the Giants’ Grave of Li Lolghi: located on top of a hill, its position makes it particularly striking even from a distance. Its origins date back to the early Bronze Age (around 1800 BC), later expanded between 1600 and 1400, with the addition of the burial corridor and the exedra of 14 stone slabs, of which the highest, the central one, reaches 4 meters.

These buildings are characterised by a long corridor where the deceased were buried and a semicircular facade (exedra), where the community performed rituals in honour of their ancestors. Offerings were introduced inside the tomb through a slit at the bottom of the central slab.

The Giants’ Grave of Coddu Ecchju also appears to have gone through various phases. The first around 1800 BC and the second in the period between 1600 and 1400 BC, when the stele and exedra were added. The central one, with its 4.40 meters, is the highest found so far in Sardinia!

In short, prepare yourself for an incredible tour, a dive into history, one of the oldest in the world, to discover the most fascinating and mysterious Sardinia, a mix of sacred and profane that will leave you speechless. Places absolutely not to be missed during your holiday at the Cala di Falco Resort.

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