Oristano’s province is a real stage in which it alternates natural oasis (WWF and LIPU), nuraghic villages, jagged coasts and tiny hidden bays, Roman and Punic civilizations. In this region, the Sinis’ peninsula is an enthralled landscape of wild nature: white stony scenery and sand dunes painted with the green maquis ring around nuraghic ruins draft the coast from Capo Mannu to Oristano’s gulf.
With only 10 minutes driving from Oristano, it rises the magnificent basilica of San Giovanni di Sinis, an imposing building which dates its dome to the V century. Then, you will also find Tharros, the legendary Punic city full of ancient paved lanes once property of Phoenicians and then conquered by Romans. In 1070 Tharros was abandoned. Romans moved to in Sardinia’s inlands near well stocked ponds building the city of Oristano. In that way, Romans also avoided Saracen incursions.
At first sight, Oristano gives the impression to be still an estate of Eleonora, the judge heroine of Arborea which reigned from 1383 to 1404 saving this region from the Aragonese hegemony. Moreover, she linked her name to the carta Delogu, a Charter in Sardinian language which was extended become law for all the entire island and that it is still considered out of step with the times.
This Middle-aged city is characterized by a particular event born 500 years ago. Every year, during the carnival, it takes place SA SARTIGLIA, an ancient equestrian ride set up by Oristano’s ancient guilds called Gremi and composed of peasants and carpenters. This is a region with wonderful landscapes and culture, with renowned vineyards and great flavours: Bottarga (gray mullet eggs), vernaccia wine, fishes, shellfishes and fruits. Those are the unmistakable tastes of Oristano and Sardinia.
The Spinnaker Camping Village sited in Torregrande, in the very heart of Oristano’s gulf along Torregrande beach, is plunged in this historic landscape made off traditions and flavours. The campsite offers accommodation and hospitality by vouching to its guests the opportunity to enjoy this fantastic world.
Due to its very ancient origins, it is not simple at all write Sardinia’s history in few lines. Some years ago, Dutch researchers found that Sardinia was part of the Iberian north eastern peninsula and that by revolving itself in that part of the European continent, it reached its current position at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea. It seems that Sardinia moved away from the abovementioned peninsula about 29million years ago, while its “trip” to reach the actual location appears to last 13million years. If we consider its origin, Sardinia’s region has 500million years with a thickness of about 2000 metres. That’s why this island is reach in fossils and minerals coming from lead and zinc, and that’s also why it is severely different from the rest of Italy.
The geographic position of Sardinia at the very heart of the Mediterranean Sea carved the shape of all its history.
It seems that human being arrived in Sardinia by sailing through Tuscany’s and Corsica’s islands about 100thousand years ago. In fact, the most ancient human remains found in the island dated back to 20thousand years ago. Up to 3000 BC, Sardinians had a very primitive life. Nonetheless, the island golden ages were during the prehistory: humans discovered that Sardinia was rich in a material that was the perfect substance to produce weapons, tools and utensils: that was the obsidian.
It is a volcanic glass famous for its characteristics: it is hard and at the same time fragile. In that way, ancient Sardinians could easily produce utensils. Nowadays, the obsidian can be found in Monte Arci, a mountain standing only few kilometres from Oristano. This material strongly influenced all the nuraghic era, that is from 2500 to 1500 BC. In this period, all around Sardinia and near Oristano too, there were made several buildings with big stones, called “nuraghe”. This kind of buildings were set and still exist only in Sardinia. Even if million years went by, it is yet not sure if they have religious or military function. They were built in strategic positions all around the island, and they were of different typology. Some of them were included in villages and were also equipped with counterworks.
At that time, thanks to the obsidian, the gulf of Oristano in which the Spinnaker Camping Village stands, was one of the most busy landing of the Mediterranean Sea. The first people coming there were the Phoenicians (1000 BC), then there were the Carthaginians (500 - 240 BC) and last the Romans (240 BC - 456 AC). The station of these people was set up in the Sinis peninsula, giving birth to Tharros. Here the Romans built temples, streets and harbours were they traded Sardinian olive oil, wine and wheat.
Afterwards, as in the rest of the Mediterranean area, it took place the Byzantine and the Vandal period, which lasted until the X century AC. Of course, due to its strategic positions, Sardinia’s landings had great military and commercial importance. It seems that in 1000 BC, as a consequence of Turk invasions, Tharros’ inhabitants moved to the hinterland and built the town of Oristano.
Then, it was the period of judge-rulers, which lasted until the XIV century. At this time Sardinia, which was subdivided in different areas, become independent. Crucial rulers of that time were Judge Mariano IV and his daughter Eleonora which ruled over Oristano region.
At the end of 1400, Sardinia was acquired by Spain. The latter dominated the island until 1700. Then, always due to its strategic position, Sardinia felt under the rule of France and later, under Piedmont (Reign of Savoy).
As shown by numberless of monuments, all these conquering people strongly influenced Sardinia. These masterpieces will enrich for sure your holiday. In fact, the island still has several prehistoric remains, such as Nuraghs. It is possible visiting them in half a day by tripping to the Nuraghic Village called Nuraghe Losa together with the Holy Well. Those are two of the most important monuments still standing in the island and are just 30 kilometres from the Spinnaker Camping Village.
As concerning the Phoenician, Punic and Roman reigns, you can visit the ruins of Tharros and the early Christian church of S.Giovanni (10 km from the Spinnaker).
Cabras’ and Oristano’s museums host several archaeological finds dating back both to the nuraghic period and the following ages since late Roman. Moreover, at just 5km from the campsite, you also find Spanish ancient monuments such as the Portale di Vitu Sottu.
Also the town of Oristano is rich in monuments of different ages. It is advisable a trip to the historic centre of the city in which you can visit churches (Santa Chiara, 1350 AC), as well as monuments dating back to the judge-ruler age and to the first decade of the XIV century (the House of the lady judge-ruler Eleonora and the Tower of Mariano, IV century AC).
Oristano also has a great Spanish heritage, such as the typical horse riding held in the carnival period, or the Easter rites.
Also gastronomy absorbed the conquering people influences: wines come from ancient Greek and African grapes, while several other receipts are Spanish. Here of course you will also find the typical Sardinian dishes, which were jealousy preserved by refusing other people traditions. One of the most typical dishes is the “maialetto”, a little roast porch served with high-alcohol red wines. Another speciality is the “Sebadas”, bakings made with fresh cheese and honey. Moreover, the town of Oristano is also famous for a particular kind of wine called “vernaccia”, a 16% alcohol wine.
In a word, spending your holiday in Sardinia and in the Oristano’s region will lead you trough centuries of history and plunge you into an astonish crystal clear sea. That is a unique holiday experience.