Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 4, 2012

Will your house last for 3,000 years?

Some of the things you must see if you go to Sardinia are the remnants of the Nuragic civilization. Sardinia is often referred to as an “open air museum” as there are more than 7,000 Nuraghi as well as Giants’ Tombs, Neolithic Necropoles and lots of other ancient remains.

The Nuragic civilization dates from the Early Bronze Age, around the 18th century BC. Not much is known about the people as there is no written evidence. All we have is the stone buildings they left behind, and a few artifacts. The real purpose of the stone buildings is not known, but there are a lot of them and they are very interesting to see.

Some of the Nuraghi are on private property and some are hard to find, but several are quite close to towns and have been very well set up for visitors to see. We found a couple around Arzechena and Olbia.

Near the town of Arzachena there is a tourist office set up where you can buy tickets and get good directions to 3 Nuraghe sites.


We bought our tickets, a book about Nuraghe and we were off.


Here is matchbox Jim so you can see the size.


We were able to go inside and climb to the top.












Wouldn’t you just love to know how these people lived?? The spaces inside the building were tiny. Did they live there??? Where did they sleep, what did they eat, what did they do?




A Nuragic weed perhaps?

The next one was a tomb.


Jim is just there for size again, we didn’t bury him.




These stones are huge. How did they move them around?

The last Nuraghe we visited, the Sacred Well of Sa Testa was near Olbia. It was a little more difficult to find as the directions and signs were not good. This one was free to enter. It was built between the end of the Bronze Age and the early Iron Age. It is formed by a wide circular courtyard leading to a well. A vestibule leads to a 17 step staircase with a granite flat-topped vault. The well chamber was built with narrowing stone rows to make the vault. The spring still spills out at the bottom of the room. The site was excavated in 1938.









Nuragic thistle?


Wild onion grows all over Sardinia.


I don’t know what this is, but it is beautiful.

I now have a taste for Nuraghi and I want to find more!!!!


  1. Great photos! I haven’t seen either of these, but am looking forward to finding them. I love the doorway in the last set of photos!
    Some ideas on what the Nuraghe were used for: military strongholds, religious temples, rulers’ residences, town meeting halls and housing for the families of shepherds.
    I am so very curious about the Nuraghe in Sardinia and I’m looking forward to exploring more. What are the names of these two?

    • I don’t know the names of the first 2. They are not listed in the book and the girls at the ticket office didn’t give us a name (that I remember) but they are really easy to find. There is a third one near the same office called Temple of Malchittu, but it was a longer walk and we didn’t have time to go there. It looks really impressive from the photos.

  2. Beautiful place and nice photography.

  3. I don’t think I need my lonely planet book anymore! As long as I have internet connection, your blog will be my travle guide! so helpful and useful information as usual! All views are very interesting and I’ve never seen before. so new!

    • I didn’t know about the Nuraghe until I got to Sardinia. I would love to explore more.

  4. Beautiful images and fascinating! Thank you for sharing something I didn’t realize.

    • Aren’t these buildings amazing! I want to see more of them.

      • Absolutely!

      • Our house in Italy is probably about 200 years old and built on solid rock. Hopefully it will be here for a while longer.

  5. thank you deb, this is all fascinating. I love these old ruins…which are surprisingly “un-ruined”…

    • It is incredible that they are so old and still around.

  6. You’re better than Discovery Channel Debra!! I know what you mean…You can’t help but imagine how the people must have lived. The vegetation looks fittingly prehistoric in Sardegna too.

  7. Loved seeing all of the stonework; the “portal” of stone (6th one) was especially striking. I was in Sardinia years ago but only along the windswept coast, sorry I missed all of this! Thanks for sharing, Debra.

    • Those wild onion plants are the size of a man. I should have got Jim to stand beside one to show you.

      • Are you sure they’re onions? Looks like giant wild fennel to me, or another umbellifera. Onions have spherical flowers.

      • We crushed and smelled the leaves and there was no fennel smell. We were told by a Sardinian they were wild onion.

    • There are thousands of them to see. They are worth a trip to Sardinia alone…as well as the rugged coastline.

  8. That gigantic boulder in the first site seems to show signs of weathering by water. ?? It also looks as if it is sitting along; could it be a glacial erratic?

    I agree with so many other commenters, Debra, that you are the best guide around!

    • Who knows how these rocks were formed. There will be a couple of posts later about the amazing rock formations in Sardinia.

  9. your incredible Debra: You know i love your Blog. It is very interesting and if not for you i’m sure down the road i would never had known or planned to visit so many of these sites..i can’t wait to see so many areas you have visited. Looks like you and Jim had so much fun. Take care…

    • Thank you for the kind comments. I love to travel and find new things.

  10. I always love touring with you. The next to the last photo resembles the fennel in my garden.

    • We saw the plants everywhere and thought it was fennel, but when we smelled the leaves we realized it was not as it doesn’t have the fennel smell. Jennifer of La Mia Vita Sarda told us it was wild onion.

      • Mystery solved. It’s Ferula communis and here’s what Wikipedia says about it: “They are herbaceous perennial plants growing to 1–4 m tall, with stout, hollow, somewhat succulent stems. The leaves are tripinnate or even more finely divided, with a stout basal sheath clasping the stem. The flowers are yellow, produced in large umbels. Many plants of this genus, especially F. communis are referred to as “giant fennel,” although they are not fennel in the strict sense.” Here’s a photo (not that we need one after your excellent one, Debra):
        And here’s a lovely site with photos of lots of Sardinian wildflowers:

      • Thanks for the information. We were put off the fennel idea because there is no fennel smell on the plant. Thank you also for the lovely wild flower photos. I photographed some beautiful plants, wild and otherwise in the post called Growing wild in Sardinia.

      • Thanks. I missed the Growing Wild post before. Gorgeous!!!

  11. Beautiful post, Debra! I always love this trip back in time, to learn more about the past and how people then live and thrive through the many adversities they faced. These stone dwellings reminded me of the stone dwellings I saw in the Skelligs in Ireland some years ago. 😉

    • I found these ancient stone buildings fascinating. I would love to see more of them. Clearly another trip to Sardinia is in order.

  12. I’ve never heard of the Nuragic civilisation until you mentioned it in your blog, Deb. So, I really enjoyed looking at the stone structures on the site. You make those structures ‘live’ with your comments (and some droll humour with Jim). Good to see Jim’s natural poses in those photos as ‘comparisons for size’. I learned something new today about the Nuraghes. Well done, Deb!

    • I and not heard of them either until we went to Sardinia.

  13. How fascinating, Deb. My house has barely lasted 100 years.

    • Let’s hope it last a few more years.

  14. Wow, fascinating remnants of history. Really doesn’t look like someone could live in these tiny stone houses, seem more like where the kids would play. I recently visited a tribal settlement in southern India, and as it turns out, many people actually sleep outside their ‘homes’ because they like fresh air. Would be interesting to know more about these houses.

    • The rooms did seem to small to do much in. Perhaps there were wooden structures as well, which didn’t survive.

  15. Dear Deb, fascinated so much… You did great post. Thank you, with my love, nia

  16. We went to Sardegna too, Debra, and took many of the same photos, albeing not as well as you have! The giant’s graves gave me the shivers. It’s such a beautiful island…

    • We had a week on Sardinia…not enough.Luckily it is not too far away and we will go again.

  17. There’s more to Italy than ancient Rome! I like to explore the Etruscan-Celtic sites in Emilia but our Italian cousins tell me that I don’t know what I’m missing by not spending some time in Sardegna. Your post was a great incentive!

    • Sardinia is quite different from the mainland. You must go.

  18. Wonderful post. I’ve always meant to get to Sardinia, now I think it may be in the near future.

    • Sardinia is a fascinating island. We only went to the north of the island, there is much more to discover.

  19. That’s quite amazing. I thought Godzillavilla was doing well at 500 or so but I don’t think she’ll make it to 3,000.

  20. Fascinating post, Debra. We’ve been to a couple archeological sites in
    Italy, Pompei, Ostia Antica, and Agrigento in Sicily. We were near Paestum on a visit to Positano but ran out of time.

    • Sardinia is full of amazing sites, I need to go back.

  21. interesting Sardenia..

  22. […] interior, dotted with ancient villages and really ancient Nuraghe, thousands of years old. Click here to see the few we found on our travels, there are thousands […]

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