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Ghost places


Motorbike tour route info

  • Level: medium
  • Km: 200 ca
  • Track: mixed

Destination Gairo Vecchio

The route starts from Baja Azzurra, leaving behind the Marina di Bari Sardo. After a short stretch on the old 125 road that passes through Cardedu, take the road to Gairo. As the road climbs, the perspective changes and around every bend there seems to be a new panorama made up of the intense blue of the morning sky and the yellow of the fields parched by the summer heat.

The road is pleasant and it is not difficult to reach Gairo Sant'Elena; the first uninhabited village is just a few minutes away. Once you have crossed the main road, you leave the inhabited centre and continue towards the ghost town. A few bends and you reach Gairo Vecchio, an unreal place where silence amplifies every sound.

The road in the centre is passable by motorbike and the houses, although in a state of disrepair, are secured to the extent that it is possible to stop for a quick patrol. In the houses you can still see the signs of the daily life of the past, the shelves for crockery carved into the wall, the outlines of the now collapsed ovens and fireplaces.

Among the best-preserved buildings are the post office, which still has its original painting, and a private house with a beautiful, well-maintained garden. Perhaps someone still lives here and looks after the house, although the village is completely uninhabited.

About 7/8km away is Osini Vecchio, which has suffered the same fate as its neighbour. Here, too, the houses have been abandoned, except for the fountain at the entrance to the village and the small church of Santa Susanna.

The art stage

The next stop is Ulassai, famous for its Art Station. The museum is dedicated to Maria Lai and houses some of her works. But to get to know the work of the Sardinian artist it is not necessary to visit the museum, in fact there are some of her installations in the village, such as La Strada del Rito (1992), I muri Groviglio (2005) and Il Gioco dell'Oca (2005); a version of her work can also be found in Osini.

Behind the Stazione dell'Arte, in the direction of Jerzu, there is a large car park, the ideal place for a short stop before continuing towards the third ghost town on this route: the silver mining village of Monte Narba.

Once back on our bikes, we descend towards Jerzu to follow the ring road that surrounds the village, the quintessential cannonau of Ogliastra, a road that will thrill you with its many bends and hairpin bends. Back at the art station, we head towards Foghesu, also known by its name: Perdasdefogu. Although it is situated on a hill, the landscape is flat, alternating between wooded areas and meadows used for grazing cattle. The most striking feature, however, are the numerous windmills that, a few dozen metres from the road, make this place seem almost surreal and make us feel like modern-day Don Quixotes confronting their giant. We continue on to Escalaplano and Ballao, and then on to San Vito.

Monte Narba and the silver mine

Once in San Vito, follow the signs for the mine, which is a few kilometres from the centre. This is where the asphalt road ends and you have to walk the last stretch. However, for those who have an enduro bike or for experienced riders, it is possible to reach the mine by car.

After fording the dry riverbed, we follow the path through the Mediterranean scrub, a short walk and we arrive at the site.

Inside is the village, built in 1863, which housed miners during the First World War and was used as a prisoner of war camp.

Many of the buildings are now dilapidated and inaccessible, and some have been submerged by flood debris. Except for the most beautiful villa, which still retains its charm, enhanced by the passage of time, we are talking about Villa Madama, designed by the engineer Giovanni Battista Traverso. The mine was closed in 1936 and a farm was built in its place. Today it is a Unesco heritage site.

The way back

Once back on our bikes, we reach Portu Tramatzu (Villaputzu), a place where there is no shortage of small kiosks and restaurants where you can enjoy the local cuisine. The menu is full of fish dishes such as sea bass, sea bream, mullet, grilled prawns and tasty cuttlefish, as well as traditional country dishes such as culurgiones and roast suckling pig.

Evening soon arrived and after a relaxing afternoon on the beach at Villaputzu, it was time to return. For the sake of simplicity, we decide to reach the Baja Azzurra via the SS 125, avoiding the Jerzu and Gairo route by taking the road from Tertenia to Cardedu and then to Bari Sardo.

The itineraries have been drawn up thanks to the collaboration of the Chena Cabu Motorcycle Club, which tested the routes and drew up the maps.


Listen to the stars

The route to the Sardinia Radio Telescope Info Track A nocturnal spectacle At night, on the beach, far from the intrusiveness of artificial light, a few steps from the hotel


Ghost places

Itinerary Destination Gairo Vecchio The itinerary starts from the Baja Azzurra, we leave behind the Marina di Bari Sardo.After a short stretch on the old