Santu Lussurgiu sits pretty on the south-eastern slope of the Montiferru mountains in Oristano Province. Its centerpiece is the 18th century palazzo housing an incredible collection of artifacts donated by local residents, over 2000 in all, that make up the Museo della Tecnologia Contadina, one of the best ethnographic collections you’ll ever visit.
The museum was the brain child of Francesco Antonio Salis, who began collecting these objects in 1976. The tireless Mr. Salis had already received a gold medal from Unesco for his work against illiteracy in 1967. We were lucky enough to have seen him explain these objects with his trademark limitless enthusiasm. He died in October of 2007, but those replacing him seem up to the task of explaining the enormous creativity of shepherds and charcoal makers as they created technology out of necessity using crude tools and cleverness. You won’t believe the mouse traps.
You can even buy a bit of the local traditional technology. Fratelli Salaris Coltelli, that is, the Salaris Brother’s Knives can satisfy your desire to own one of Sardinia’s most treasured objects, a handmade pocket knife. You can visit the shop at Viale Azuni, 253.
Just in case your taste runs to liquids to imbibe in front of a fireplace with someone friendly, Santu Lussurgiu also hosts Distillerie Lussurgesi, where you can buy the traditional Filu Ferru or Mirto as well as a fine brandy.
Piazza Bartolomeo Meloni is a wooded space surrounded by shops and bars. If it is a sunny day, you might catch a man with a grill near the Biblioteca Comunale, the local library in the northwest corner of the piazza. He’s grilling fish or the traditional eel. You can get it wrapped in paper to go.
A walk down Via Roma is a way to become acquainted with the village. You’ll be following the route of its most famous festival, a traditional Carnival period horse race in pairs, called “Sa Carrela ‘e Nanti”.
“Sa Carrela ‘e Nanti” is the core of Carnival for the village of Santu Lussurgiu and involves both horseman and horses and spectators. During the traditional races in pairs featuring Carnival in Santu Lussurgiu until today, brave horsemen perform breathtaking feats on horseback and are keen to offer a great show, complying with the rules of an event which originated from light cavalry’s exercises. According to tradition, horsemen must be lussurgesi and must wear a mask on or paint their faces. Spectators are part and parcel of the event. The crowd fills the narrow street of the center, it dissolves to leave the way clear for horses at the gallop and then thicken immediately afterwards, producing a very peculiar effect of vividness and participation. ~ Sa Carrele ‘e Nanti
During the festival time cantinas are open and traditional tenores singing ensues.
On a dreary spring day, splashes of color dot the route.
People are friendly. Stop into the fruit and vegetable market and test it. “How are the oranges?”
“Well, they are quite good now. It was a dry year, so the flavor is sweet and concentrated and there is a little bit of bitterness left in the aftertaste. I like it like that so I’d say it was a very good year for oranges.”
When is the last time your fruit guy did an analysis like that?
Where to Stay
Where to Eat
The top restaurant is operated by Sas Benhas [ facebook ] and is in the center of town. If you’re looking for a good value lunch with interesting choices, don’t rule out Bar Pizzeria La Cascata di Manca at Via Dei Monti 1 in Santu Lussurgiu.
Weather and Climate: When to Go
Nearby Oristano has an amazingly temperate climate, so you can feel quite comfortable even in early spring in this province. For temperature and precipitation charts reflecting historic climate, as well as current weather conditions, see: Oristano Travel Weather and Climate