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Montevecchio: Roccia Leone
We leave from Cagliari and we cover
the state road 131 (Carlo Felice);
after 44 km, to the height of Sanluri, we take
the state road 197 that brings us until to Guspini.
Stage 1 > Guspini: 14.000 inhabitants; 137 m s.l.m.; in province of Cagliari, in the sub- region of the Iglesiente
Guspini is an agricultural center with a recent mining past. In its immense territory there are many “interesting “things that would deserve a visit such as the menhir, the nuraghi, and the rests of the ancient city of Neapolis.
We advise you to spend the night in Guspini and to visit the zone with more tranquillity.
In the Middle Ages the country was capital of the Curatoria di Bonorzuli, belonging to the Giudicato di Arborea.
To that period it goes back the church of Santa Maria di Malta, situated in the omonymous public square: it was built in Romanesque style from the Knights of Malta in the XIV century; then it was changed in the 1700’s.
In the second half of the 1400 the Giudicato di Arborea fell in Argonese hand.
The church of San Nicola di Mira, in the main public square of the country, is a Gothic-Aragonese building of the XV century: beautiful is the facade with the battlements and also an open-work large rose-window .
Inside are conserved some wooden sculptures and valuable sacred treasures.
Within the country the natural monument called Canne d’ Organo is a large dome of basaltic nature called “to columnal crack”.
It is the only formation of the sort in Mediterranean Europe and, all over the world,it exists only others 12 similar structures. It rises majestic with its 20 meters of height, facing to the doors of the country in locality Cuccuru Zeppara, in front of one deserted quarry.
To catch up the monument it is necessary to cross a private garden: you can kindly ask the heads of household to cross their garden.
Sardinia Point advises:
among the products of the local handicraft, there is the guspinese, valuable jack- knife appreciated from the amateur. For the lovers of the pleasures of the good table, the country offers the choice of several types of ovine and goat cheeses, excellent sausages and sa mustela, fillet of pig put to soak in the red wine vinegar, seasoned and with pepper.
We leave again to Montevecchio
We have visited Guspini: we leave again, the leaving mines of Montevecchio wait for us.
We go out from Guspini, towards San Nicolò d’ Arcidano: we turn on the left in front of the park, at the height of “de sa boccia”, a cippus of granite that remembers the construction of the Guspini-Montevecchio road happened in 1867.
We cover the provincial road 418; to the tenth km the road begins gradually to go up.
The mine “di Levante”
We go around the quarry of Conca Mosu: here is the scene of the mine of Montevecchio disposed in the valley called “di Levante”.
The first work that we notice on the right, is the obstruction of the Diga Fanghi, with spectacular desert scenes, built to drain the barren sands.
Always on the right, to the feet of the dam, we see the warehouse of Sciria, with the station from which the little train left loaded with mineral.
We continue going up: the rectangular bathtubs, still full of water of the intense green color, allow us to recognize, between the several structures, the washery Principe Tomaso (1896), situated just opposite.
Higher stands out the castle of Pozzo Sartori (1941), the system of main extraction.
Beyond the washery we catch a glimpse, in distance, between the other structures, the castle in masonry of the Pozzo maestro di San Giovanni (Mine of Piccalinna): it is a beautiful building, built in 1876 in French liberty style.
In the environs they have been recovered some tombs of Roman age, containing tools for the excavation of the mineral.
It makes a strange effect to observe the enormous silent machinery, “devoured “from the nature that takes possesssion of the leaving places again, in one scene of wild beauty.
We go up from hairpin curve to hairpin curve: the road grazes nearly the yard of Sant’ Antioco, recognizable by the battlement tower, with valuable neo-Gothic architectonic lines.
We exceed the rooms of the Cameroni Rossi and, after some hairpin curve, our rise finishes: we have arrived to Montevecchio, in the open space in front of the Hospital (the Leveling).
Stage 2 > Montevecchio: fraction of Guspini; 370 m s.l.m
“The Promoserapis- tourist services Montevecchio” organizes the guided visits to the Mines, to the Mineral Extension, to the Palace of the Direction, to the exposure Flora and Fauna and to the extension Mining Civilization; it organizes, moreover, excursions on foot and by horse and the chartering of mountain bike.
For informations: telephone 070 972537, or 0368 538997; fax 070 974188.
The country is opened on the hill of Genna Serapis; the name remainds to that one of the Greek-Egyptian divinity Serapide, patroness of the underground world and probably invoked during the Roman domination by the deported men who worked in the mines of this zone.
The country of Montevecchio is today semidepopulated, it counts only 490 inhabitants, but until the seventys they live here thousands of persons .
Montevecchio is situated in the center of a metalliferous river basin of lead and zinc, for decades one of the most productive of Europe.
Now the extractive activity has been leaved and all the complex of the mines has been recognized from the Unesco like patrimony of the humanity.
To the inside of the small village, completely dipped in the green and set among degrading mountains towards the Green Coast, we find the scattered offices of the mine and numerous inhabited structures.
Many of these rooms have lived again in the scenes of the film of Gianfranco Cabiddu the son of Bakunìn, drawn from the homonymous novel by Sergio Atzeni.
The buildings show a certain refinement and originality in the constructive style: in the main large square, in front of the Hospital (and of 1800) by now leaved, we notice the Palace of the Direction that today is in phase of restructure but however visitable (sees: “Who to contact ” to bottom page): in its terminal part there is the small church dedicated to Barbara Saint, patroness of the miners. The imposing and linear structure, risen in 1870, has got inside beautiful frescoes, a columnal arcade and galleries protected from glass windows.
In the same direction two permanent exposures are always prepared: the Exibition Mining Civilization, with tools used from the miners, little models and historical photographies; and the Exibition Flora and Fauna, with stuffed animals and several photographies.
Among the other architectures they deserve to be noticed the interesting late-liberty shapes of the mansions of the Foresteria and the rooms of the leaders; these, risen in 1930, are situated in the evocative tree-lined avenue, today the Stadio way, parallel to the road that leads to Marina di Arbus.
The more ancient constructions are “cameroni ” called also “a bocca di pozzo” ( “to sink mouth), risen in the various yards of job, between the 1850 and the1860, in order to allow the miners to rest during the little pauses of the debilitating job.
Later, in 1870, they were constructed, in the leveling, the two-storied mansions with apartments that include the Post office, still opened.
The complex , that re-united the Elementary Schools, the Recreational club and the Cinema was built in the first ’40ies and was inaugurated by Benito Mussolini.
Walking in the country we meet the structure of the hotel ” Al Cinghiale”, the old Foresteria, today unfortunately completely deserted; closed to the building, in one flower-bed, the beautiful secular bay captures our attention.
It is also interesting the Geologic Office, risen in 1940 to the side of the hospital, in which there is a great mineral exposure to visit with a guide.
Montevecchio is also an authentic paradise for the lovers of the nature.
The surrounding flora introduces an infinite variety of trees: secular ilexes, cork-oaks, pines, eucalyptuses,etc.
Blooming is the Mediterranean spot with wild olive-tree, lentisk, arbutus, euphorbia, laurel, broom and oleander; amazing are the blooms of the ferula, the cyclamen, the asphodels and the lavender.
In the more humid corners they find their natural habitat blackberry bushes, mosses, ferns.
Also the fauna is much varied and interesting. The surrounding campaign is the reign of the Sardinian red deer (cervus elaphus corsicanus); the wonderful herbivorous, present also in other mountainous zones of the Sardinia, is characterized from the dark tawny mantle with clearer inferior parts; the male has bony decaying horns , while the female and the youngs are lacking.
The presence of wide opened spaces in the forest and among the Mediterranean spot facilitates its observation. Red deers have been often seen going back until to the limiting of the lived in search of food.
In the forest abound the wild cats , the foxes, the wild boars, the weasels and the martens.
Among the infinity of the birds: jays, greenfiches, sparrows, pellets, owls, woodcocks, peaks, upupe, merlons, they dominate the buzzards, the kestrel, the eagle of Bonelli and the hawks, but in the night the horned owl is usual to mark its song.
Sardinia Point advises:
Every year to Montevecchio, between the 28 and the 30 of june, the Festival of the “Honey is carried out”.
Every two years from the 27 July to 4 August is possible to assist to the most interesting extension-market of Arresojas “knives”.
From the 26 to the 30 june has place the extension of products of the handicraft and agro-alimentary “Artigianando. “
On August , always in this zone, a theatrical laboratory is organized by the company Carpe Diem of Cagliari .
Thanks to its charming territory Montevecchio is the ideal place where to begin many excursions, one more beautiful than the other one.
If you do not know the zone and you want venture without a guide among the structures and the machinery of the mine, you can run some risks. Pay attention above all to “the stoves”: those are the vertical wells used in the mines that put in communication two galleries in a different levela nd some of these could be discoveries.
Fines are possible for the more adventurous minds.