10 km from Nuoro, at the edge of the Barbagia di Ollolai, on the slopes of Mount Corrasi, rises Oliena, whose name is linked to a group of Trojans, who after the fall of Troy took to the sea, landing in Sardinia and giving birth to the people of the Ilienses, calling Iliena the place where they settled in memory of Ilio, the lost homeland. In the early 1300s Oliena turns out to be under the rule of Pisa, in the giudicato of Gallura, first in the curatoria of Posada, then in that of Galtellì. The Pisans rebuilt the old Roman bridge that still stands today, the Papaloppe bridge, to facilitate penetration into the interior of Barbagia. In the year 1325, Oliena, with its territory, was assigned to Berengario Carroz along with the village of Calagonis (Gologone), now disappeared, which must have been a hamlet of the town.
In the 16th century it followed the fate of all the other towns in Sardinia, which were entirely subjugated to Spanish rule.
THINGS TO SEE
The highest peak in Supramonte, which with its white limestone peaks has earned it the nickname "Sardinian Dolomites," is Mount Corrasi, 1,463 m high. On these places it is possible to see eagles flying high in the sky, the Sardinian wild cat, dormouse, marten and numerous herds of mouflon.
The most beautiful flower of the flora is the Supramonte peony rose. Corrasi in the year 1971 was included in the census of biotopes of significant vegetation interest worthy of conservation due to more than 60 endemic species, typical only of Sardinia or Corsica. A unique plant in the world is the Sardinian currant, akin to Japanese and Chinese species.
On the eastern slope of Corrasi, we find one of the most famous karst springs in Europe, Su Gologone. Only partially explored by speleologists, to a depth of 135 m. The spring, with an average flow rate of 500 liters of water per second, feeds the Cedrino River and in theyear 1998 it was established as a natural monument.
A few kilometers away is one of the most striking places in Sardinia, the Lanaitho valley, where, through guided tours, you can visit the caves: Sa ohe, Su ventu, Su mugrone and Helihes Artas. The Corbeddu cave, which has four halls and is 150 meters long, is named after the famous bandit who took refuge inside it in the last century.
From a paleontological and archaeological point of view, it is of considerable importance. Indeed, the oldest human fossil remains in Sardinia and bone remains of extinct animals, dating back to the Upper Paleolithic (about 15,000 years B.C.), have been found there. Near Sa Oche, emerges the nuragic complex of "Sa Sedda e sos Carros," where an important sacred spring has been found. In the final part of Lanaitho, rises Mount Tiscali, which conceals among the holm oaks, in the bottom of a deep karst sinkhole, the remains of a unique nuragic complex. The village of Tiscali, a natural shelter to the houses of the Iliensi, is built along the walls of the sinkhole and is not detectable until one reaches the inside of the cavity, through a large opening in the rock face.
High is the number of churches that rise in the settlement. Of the eleven religious buildings, two stand out in importance and size, and only in these are masses celebrated: the present parish church dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola, built in 1674 in the style akin to the Baroque. The room where the refectory used to be is now home to an art gallery with 17th-century canvases and important 17th-century items of local craftsmanship. The church of Santa Maria, in the late Pisan Romanesque style, was built in the 13th century.High is the number of churches that rise in the settlement. Of the eleven religious buildings, two stand out in importance and size, and only in these are masses celebrated: the present parish church dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola, built in 1674 in the style akin to the Baroque. The room where the refectory used to be is now home to an art gallery with 17th-century canvases and important 17th-century items of local craftsmanship. The church of Santa Maria, in the late Pisan Romanesque style, was built in the 13th century.
The streets of the historic center are still made of cobblestones, and on the walls of the houses, one can observe a variety of murals, depicting scenes of village life. There is a strong tradition of a tenore singing, a polyphonic song composed of the union of four voices, and of Sardinian dances including "Su Durdurinu," the only one accompanied by monodic voice and musically by "silence," is based on the rhythm of the dancers themselves and the sound of the stamping of feet (sas istrumpadas).
An object of tourist attraction are the numerous festivals. The largest is that of St. Lussorio, on August 21, with different shows every night, from cabaret, to tenor songs, to Sardinian dances, during which it is possible to admire the traditional costume that was worn until the 1930s, embroidered by skilled craftswomen, with silk threads and gold threads, embellished with colored beads and pearls.
Mid-September marks the beginning of "Cortes Apertas," a cultural event that now affects many municipalities on the island, but was born in Oliena in the year 1996. All the old houses and courtyards are opened to be visited by tourists, and inside them displayed local handicrafts and local sweets, such as "Su Pistiddu", "Sas thippulas", "Sas Rugliettas" and "Sos Gugligliones", the latter made of honey and almonds.
Harvest days are also cause for celebration. Oliena is known for its excellent wine, Nepente, a special kind of Cannonau, named by D'Annunzio after he saw the effects it produced on his friend Trilussa. Nepente was in fact an ancient Greek magic drink, which apparently warded off sorrow and sadness. It is produced by private individuals, or at the social winery, at which it is possible to take guided tours of both the winery and the vineyard.