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traditional sheperd huts

  • what: pinnettos, ancient shepherd huts
  • province: Nuoro, Sassari
  • subregion: Supramonte, Barbagia, Sarcidano, Ogliastra, Nuoro area, Meilogu.

some shepherds still live in “sos pinnettos” or “pinnettas”, typical round huts covered with juniper branches.
They are very similar to Nuragic huts, circular-shaped (the base is made of stones which form a small dry stone wall) with a cone-shaped covering, made of wood and branches or stone.

Spaces between the rocks are filled with smaller stones, clay or earth, to prevent drafts.

The roof starts from the base, which is 1 m high: it is cone-shaped and made of juniper logs, which lie on three or four stronger tree trunks.
The construction is covered by juniper branches, and a stone is put on top to hold the covering down.

The materials used for the roof vary from area to area: in Supramonte juniper trunks and branches are used, in Barbagia holm-oaks and strawberry-trees, on the Campeda Plateau, where there is virtually no vegetation, stones are used.

Sos pinnettos were usually community homes, for several shepherds.
They were also used as workshops: shepherds would make cheese here and arrange it on top of “su kannitthu” (a reed rack), where they would air-dry and lightly smoke it. At the centre of the hut a fire was lit; the shepherds slept around it in their coarse woollen fabric “bags” and the smoke went out through the branches on the roof.

A well-made pinnettu allowed the smoke to exit through the covering, kept the heat inside and provided safe shelter from rain or snow.

Nowadays, shepherds prefer not to live in the mountains, far from their home towns, and most of the pinnettos no longer exist or are not well-preserved.
Some shepherds and local communities have restored several huts, which are now considered tourist attractions.

Where you can find them:
Most of the well-preserved pinnettos are in the Supramonte area (Nuoro). Some pinnettos can be found in the area surrounding the Gennargentu (Nuoro), in the most inaccessible regions.
You can also find them in the Campeda Plateau (SS), between Marghine and Meilogu, in Sarcidano (NU), in Ogliastra (NU) and Sarrabus-Gerrei (CA).

texts Federico Fonnesu
photo P. Rinaldi
web editing SP