It’s my birthplace, and I know it like the palm of hand. For the brave travellers who are exploring the hinterland of Sardinia, here are my favourite 7 things to do in Nuoro.
Nuoro is a small city counting about 37k people. It’s called the Sardinian Athens because of its continuous cultural ferment, beside being the hometown of a number of relevant Sardinian artists and politics.
There are a lot of things to do in Nuoro: from the famous Redentore festival to the many important museums such as the Man and its expositions. Here are my favourite 7 picks, the places I check every time I go visit my family.
If you don’t want to read the entire post, I also made a video that sums this up:[youtube https://youtu.be/7IO3-kivXrI]
#1 Rione Santu Predu
Santu Predu, along with Seuna, is the oldest neighbourhood in Nuoro. Not only was I raised in there until I turned 11, but also Nobel Prize winner Grazia Deledda lived most of her life in Santu Predu (see below).
On the contrary of rione Seuna, which evolved into a more modern neighbourhood, Santu Predu has remained very much attached to its own roots, becoming the heart of Nuoro popular tradition. Santu Predu is a lively area where most of the handicraft artists like to have their laboratories.
The people in Santu Predu are the most welcome and warm; they organise lots of ancient feasts and carry on old traditions related with the most important Catholic celebrations. Other neighbourhoods in Nuoro do that as well, and with great success too, however in Santu Predu they tend to preserve the most genuine and old passages of any traditions and festivals, just like centuries ago.
#2 Grazia Deledda’s house
This is a special place for me. I spent my entire childhood playing and living a few blocks from the Literature’s Nobel Prize winner house. I used to dream about being a writer and being able to tell my stories, just like the young Grazia used to do. There wasn’t a time when I passed through Deledda’s house/museum that I didn’t think about that.
The idea of walking on the same places she used to walk too had a massive impact on me.
I know many young women in Nuoro who got influenced and inspired by Grazia Deledda’s example of feminism, as she was one of the few women able to win a Noble Price – giving also she won it in 1926 that’s quite an impressive achievement.
Grazia Deledda’s legacy goes way beyond her writing. I bet her museum/house will leave a trace in you. Paying a visit to this museum has to be one of the things to do in Nuoro to put into your list.
#3 Belvedere La Madonnina
This is a healing place for me. Just have a sit at the belvedere, take some deep breaths, and enjoy the view. From La Madonnina you can dominate the valley below, admire Supramonte mountains, and get soothed by the thousands shades of green of Monte Ortobene (see also below). There’s something in this view that gives me serenity and peace. No matter the weather, this view is magical for me, it really cures my soul.
La Madonnina means “The little Mother Mary”, and it takes its name from a white little statue of Mother Mary that’s located right before the street goes down to the valley, officially leaving Nuoro city.
I’m not a fan of the statue, but I’m definitely a big fan of the panorama you can enjoy from there. Staring at the valley is not really some of the most active things to do in Nuoro, but if you had a long stroll in Santu Predu, here you can reset and rest.
#4 La Solitudine church
From La Madonnina you can have a short walk along Viale Ciusa to reach La Solitudine church. This very small church isn’t anything fancy, to be frank: it’s a semi-empty, simple and “poor” church. However, it hosts Grazia Deledda’s tomb, so it’s a relevant point of interest for tourists, and definitely one of things to do quoted in every tourist maps of the city.
La Solitudine is located at the centre of a fork: the road that goes up leads to Monte Ortobene (see below), while the road going down is the old street that connects Nuoro with many other small villages around, and also leads to Nuoro’s hamlet, Lollove.
I like this place because it’s a bit remote, and is quiet. La Solitudine means “The loneliness”, so I do think that the name of the location has an impact on the way the Nuoresi approach this place :)
#5 Sardinian Ethnographic Museum
Included within the ISRE (Sardinian Ethnographic Institute) organisation, this museum is one of the most important in Italy and Europe for the ethnological relevance and for the content it hosts.
There is no way you will exit this museum without getting high on knowledge! There is so much to see, read and touch, that you might want to allocate a good part of your afternoon (or morning) to go through it, and possibly push back some other things to do in Nuoro for another day.
Jewels, costumes, textiles, popular and cultural traditions, archeological discoveries and Sardinia history, recreations of daily and festive life, temporary exhibitions, and much much more: this is just a fraction of what you’ll see at the museum.
#6 Monte Ortobene
This is the mount that towers above the city. It’s not as high as a proper mountain, but it snows in winter and it’s cooler in summer, so since it’s higher than Nuoro it is a mount :)
Monte Ortobene has a variety of flora and fauna that will leave you speechless (provided you will be able to spot all the shy animals that populate the woods!). The Mediterranean shrubs here is glorious, and even in winter you can smell lots of herbs and plant scenes. Of course, visiting the mount in spring would be the ideal time to enjoy Ortobene’s blossoming nature.
The mount has many religious areas (of course there are churches scattered on it!), fountains, sports facilities, and other locations to check within it. It’s also the ‘house’ of the mighty Redentore statue, a giant Christ’s statue placed at the top of the mountain, which is also the religious core of the homonymous festival that attracts thousands of people every year from around the world.
Fun fact: I took inspiration from Monte Ortobene when I set up my long crime novel Pull the Trigger at Monte Priore, the mountain that shadows Tursenia. Does it recall anything at all to you? ;)
I have so many wonderful childhood memories tied to Monte Ortobene. I think the people in Nuoro are so lucky to have such beauty so close to them.
#7 Pineta Ugolio and Nuragic village
Possibly this is my favourite place to check in Nuoro overall: not only is this a pine forest located in the real city, like a giant park, but it is also the place where my father and I go running and walking together.
Pineta Ugolio has become a very popular meeting place over the last 15 years, and I’m so SO glad to see that, because the people in Nuoro now associate the pine forest with social and fitness activities. You can never be wrong when those two aspects of the life meet together ;)
One of the characteristics that not many people know about Nuoro is that it’s one (if not the only) city in Sardinia that embeds two Nuraghe buildings – and their related Nuragic villages – within the city.
Therefore in Pineta Ugolio you can suddenly stumble upon with a Nuraghe or a Nuragic hut while having a brisk walk with a friend. Isn’t it crazy and cool at the same time?
Beside the video I published about the things to do in Nuoro, here are also some pictures you may fancy to check out:
I hope you liked my top 7 things to do in Nuoro! You’re welcome to add yours in the comments below, and anything relevant you reckon it’s worth a quote :)