Being an island in the “middle” of the Mediterranean, Sardinia has been colonized quite a few times. As you might have read in one of our earlier blog posts, the first settlers came from the Italian main land (Tuscany). On the island, you can find evidence of prehistoric, Phoenician, Punic and Roman presence. During the period of Roman domination, the Logudoro region was important for its grain production. The area is located in the northern part of Sardinia. During our trip through the island we noticed that the main area for grain production nowadays is located more to the south, in the central part of the island (e.g. around Barumini), where the landscape is dominated by croplands.
After the fall of the Roman empire, the colonisation of Sardinia came to a halt. Only after 1000 A.D. Sardinia became of economical importance again when merchants from Genua and Pisa (Italy) started to explore the opportunities here. Along with them, evangelists and soldiers also visted the island. The extraordinary Romanesque churches of the Logudoro are the result of these encounters.
Starting from the Santissima Trinità di Saccargia, you can follow the SS597 to the east to see most of these churches. On the road you will find signs guiding you to them at regular intervals, and it usually doesn’t take much longer than 10-15 minutes to reach them from there.
And here they are:
1. Santissima Trinità di Saccargia (12th century)
This church has the most striking exterior of them all. According to legend, the name comes from a spotted cow (Sa acca argia), which used to come to this place to kneel and pray. Being situated in the middle of a valley and close to a main motorway, it is definitely a remarkable site.
2.Unknown church, close to the Santissima Trinità
Just to indicate that not all the beauty of Sardinia can be found in your travel guide. Always a great pleasure to “discover” something new.
3. Santa Maria del Regno (Ardara) (12th century)
A personal favorite. Located in the remote town of Ardara, this little jewel with its rather modest exterior only shows you its splendor when you go inside. Free entrance here (which is quite unique as well)!
4. Sant’Antioco di Bisarcio (Ozieri) (11th-12th century)
Beautifully located far away from anything, this church has a nicely decorated facade and arched entrance. On the downside, the interior of the church is quite uninteresting (so don’t pay to go inside!).
5. Nostra Signora di Castro (Oschiri) (12th century)
Also a favorite of both of us, because of the atmosphere inside the walls around the church and garden. When you enter the gate, you immediately feel relaxed. The church is surrounded by a nicely mowed lawn, with a tree providing the necessary shade to have a read on a stone bench, with a few lazy cats as company. Just perfect!
The “Romanesque churches route”: a must-do in the north of Sardinia!