Nuoro is the the chief town of the Barbagia mountainous area of central Sardinia. Every culturally curious visitor should spend some time wandering this town and surrounding area to discover the original Sardinian pastoral culture. In the city they called “the Athens of Sardinia you’ll discover the local ethnography and literature by visiting its museums, especially the Museum of Costumes and Sardinian Traditions, the largest museum of the island where traditional costumes. Carnival masks and amulets are displayed along with the famous ceremonial breads the women bake on feast days. Other museums include the Museum Mann, an art museum exhibiting works from the most representative 20th Century Sardinian artists such as Francesco Ciusa Romagna and Costantino Nivola and the Grazia Deledda House Museum, the old house of the Nobel prize-winning writer for Literature from Nuoro.
[photo by Mike Mazzaschi, A Path to Lunch, used with permission]
Over time the provincial capital has morphed into big modern center and only the quarter of San Pietro has retained the typical architectural style of the old Nuoro, which was once made of small simple farm houses. The Cathedral of Santa Maria della Neve, a 19th century neoclassic church, is the most important church of the city. If you are in Nuoro at the end of August, don’t miss the Redentore Festival to witness the faithful walking from the city to Ortobene, at the top of which, at altitude of about 1,000m, is the statue of Christ the Redeemer (the Redentore).
A literary city needs its coffeehouses There is certainly one that stands out. Caffe Tettamanzi 1875 on Corso Garibaldi 71 is Nuoro’s oldest coffee house. It’s shelves feature books from Nuoro’s most famous writers. Slip into a seat, order a coffee and read something by Grazia Deledda or poet Sebastiano Satta. (The beguiling Piazza Satta is dedicated to the famous poet Sebastian Satta who was born in Nuoro.)
If you make the trek to Ortobene, the mountain outside of Nuoro, you’ll find one of the top restaurants of the city called Su Redentore Ristorante Pizzeria with the distinguised address of Localita’ Monte Ortobene 1.
In the heart of the city there are many family run restaurants in which you will eat well. For a restaurant a bit more upscale, try Ristorante Su Nugoresu, piazza san giovanni 7.
For a real Nuoro experience, the highly rated La Casa di Boz B&B has a fine location in the heart of town.
For a hotel experience, try Euro Hotel.
Nouro makes a fine introduction to the Barbagia. If you have a car in Sardinia, you can discover the rest of this incredible historic territory with a visit of a week or more.