The town of Tempio Pausania is in Gallura, in Northeast Sardinia. The distance from the sea doesn’t take away from its beauty compared to other towns, between all the walks through history.
The History Of Tempio Pausania
Thinking about Tempio Pausania’s ancient history, it is said to date back to the Neolithic period as shown by its remains and monuments. Archaeological sites here are full of megalithic sites and nuraghe worth seeing. Ever since it was founded, Tempio Pausania’s riches and prime location have established it as a landmark for the inland towns.
It has been theorised that its peculiar location is the reason for its name. The first documents
that reference it are some ecclesiastical papers from 1137, with a name that comes from the Latin “templum” which means slope or cliff. On this granite plateau they built the church that would be the centre of the town. “Pausania” is a reference to Pasana, the ancient location of the Olbia diocese. In 1300, Tempio Pausania became Villa Templi and it was assigned as a rural town of the Gallura Judicate. Two centuries later, it was designated as the bishop headquarters of the new diocese of Civita e Ampurias. This way, Tempio was not only distinguished for its role in politics as a guide-city, but it also gained religious importance.
Following the expansion and growth of its settlements, Tempio Pausania was identified as the capital and administrative headquarters of a very large province. But the real growth happened in the 1900s, when many residents left the countryside for Tempio Pausania, and many more homes had to be built for them.
The Beaches Near Tempio Pausania
Tempio is well connected with the main coastal towns. The closest destinations are those on the west coast, about half an hour’s drive away. Costa Paradiso in particular has a lot to offer to tourists looking for some peace. In this area you will find beaches with fine pale sand, a crystal-clear sea of many colours, and cliffs that create a charming atmosphere. Nature is centre stage here, and it can host a variety of activities like pedal boats or canoes for the more adventurous travellers, but you can also snorkel or most other water sports. Isola Rossa especially is a beach particularly suited to young families.
Heading North you can easily reach Vignola and Rena Majore, in Aglientu, and even Santa Teresa Gallura. Another amazing destination is San Teodoro, south of Olbia. It is a lot further away than the first two, but it is still only an hour’s drive. The white sand feels silky to the touch and together with the clear waters creates a natural pool that slopes very gently, making it accessible to most. Cala Brandinchi is one of the most famous beaches in all of San Teodoro along with La Cinta, a thin strip of land that separates the sea from a lagoon where pink flamingos fly to in their migration journey.
Sights To See In Tempio Pausania
Tempio is known as the city of stone, a walk along this town’s roads will show the triumph of the material here. A landmark that must be seen is Corso Matteotti, whose cobbled streets in Summer are tinted in the most vivid colours.
But Tempio Pausania’s most important heritage is religious in nature. Given its links to the Church right from its earliest history, many places of worship here are worth a visit for their artistic and historic significance. There are many styles to take in, from Argonian Gothic to Medieval. This is the era from which the most preserved monuments are, like the Cattedrale di San Pietro from 1219, as well as Oratorio del Rosario, Chiesa di Santa Croce and the Teatro del Carmine all in the same square.
Art has been an important part of the city’s history since the 1600s. The convent degli Scolopi was built at the time, which is now host to the museum dedicated to the life and career of Bernardo de Muro, a local famous singer-songwriter. Fabrizio De Andrè chose Tempio Pausania as a home, and they in turn dedicated a square to him. Piazza De Andrè is ruled by 1700s builds and colourful sails designed by architect and close friend Renzo Piano.
Art can be found in the most unconventional places in Tempio Pausania, for instance the train station. Built in 1931 and decorated with frescoes by Giuseppe Biasi, a Sardinian painter who decorated the waiting area, it is also host to the Mostra dei Diavoli Rossi della Brigata Sassari. This is presented as a chance to go back in time and lead tourists all the way back to the area during the Second World War.
Nearby you will find many historically important landmarks, and in fact the high altitude of the area is one of the main reasons so many of the archaeological sites are perfectly conserved. The Nuraghe Majori is one, a few miles out of the city.
Sights To See Near Tempio Pausania
Among the nearby towns, Aggius is one worth a visit. Here you will find the Museo del Banditismo, documenting a phenomenon that was part of this land for nearly three centuries, and the MEOC, the most important ethnographic museum in Sardinia. Here you can admire reconstructions of traditional local homes and the Tappeto Aggese. But in Aggius nature really takes centre stage: it’s a perfect location for hiking. Valle della Luna (also known as Piana dei Grandi Sassi) is an especially charming location, called that thanks to the rocks eroded by the environment to be made to look like moons. If you want a more bucolic walk, the path that leads to Laghetto Santa Degna is gorgeous and covered in cork oaks.
Speaking of cork, another unmissable location is Calangianus, who owes this material much of its fame thanks to the quality of the process of making it here by gifted craftsmen. There is a museum here dedicated to its development and its treatment. If you would prefer a day outside, there are Santuario di San Sebastiano Martire, the Giants’ Tombs of Pascareddha and the valley of Rio Santu Paulu,
And finally, on a small rocky hill you will find Luras, famous for its high concentration of dolmen in its area, with about four of them still in great condition to this day.