On the east coast of Sardinia at the mouth of the Cedrino River and on the slopes of Mount Tuttavista, Orosei is the leading centre for the lower Baronia region. It has recently expanded tourism opportunities while maintaining farm culture customs and costumes. It has a distinctive older central area and its economy is based on the quarrying of fine quality marble. It has Roman origins and grew significantly in medieval times under the Judicate of Gallura, then came under Pisan and eventually Aragonese rule.
The churches of San Giacomo (St James), San Gavino (St Gavinus) and Sant’Antonio (St Anthony) were built in the Middle Ages. The latter church stands on its same-named square and is surrounded by cumbessias, houses for pilgrims. For St Anthony’s festival, on the 16th of January a large bonfire of rosemary branches is lit in front of the church. All participating are offered special pastries made for this feast day, called su pistiddu and su pane nieddhu.
The 25th of July is the festival of St James, the town’s patron saint, marked by musical performances and exhibitions.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Rimedio (Our Lady of Remedy) is particularly notable as it was here that Sardinian writer Grazia Deledda set her most prominent novel, Canne al vento (Canes in the Wind). She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926.
In September the festival of the Madonna del Rimedio lasts 18 days during which novena pilgrims take part in religious ceremonies and are welcomed into the numerous cumbessias where they have traditional meals and pastries.
On the last Sunday in May for the festival of the Madonna del Mare (Our Lady of the Sea), boats are decorated with flowers in the Piazza del Popolo and then launched into the Cedrino River for a procession to the river mouth and Santa Maria ‘e Mare (St Mary of the Sea), a little church built by Pisans.
The territory around Orosei includes places with great appeal for tourists: Cala Liberotto, Marina di Orosei, Sas Linnas Siccas, Sos Alinos and particularly the splendid beach in the nature reserve at Biderosa.
WHAT TO SEE
Biderosa nature reserve
Biderosa is north of Orosei and Cala Liberotto and its beach is certainly among the most attractive in the region. There is an entry fee and visitor numbers are restricted.
Osala Beach at Orosei
This beach is in the northern part of the Golf of Orosei and lies south of the town, having a broad strip of fine white sand. Osala is easily accessed and has plenty of shady areas in a pine grove overlooking the sand. Not far from Osala Beach at Orosei, by crossing a basalt outcrop you will find Osala on the Dorgali side of this community border line. There is an easy path exclusively for bicycles and walkers that connects the two sandy shorelines, and if you wish to continue on to S’Abba Frisca from Orosei it’s 20 Km by road.
Soddu House Museum
The Casa Soddu museum is in the old centre of Orosei and holds a small collection of terracotta statues portraying Nuragic bronze figurines. A private museum, it recounts the history of Nuragic Sardinia.
Don Nanni Guiso Museum
This museum at Orosei is inside a distinctive 17th century building. It has an interesting collection of miniature theatres from the 17th century, precious volumes and antique costumes of the Roman School. Don Nanni Guiso was born into a noble family in Orosei and moved to Siena to further his studies. Despite the distance he was always attached to Sardinia and Orosei.