The neglected village became famous in the 1950s when Sardinia’s largest nuraghe site was excavated and restored. A prehistoric hamlet had been enlarged some time between 2,000 and 500 BC into a fortress now called Su Nuraxi. Now you see the central cone, four towers north, east, west and south and a girdle of walls with combat towers. Outside the military complex are huts, bakeries and dwellings. You must be active to climb all over Su Nuraxi but it justifies a few aching limbs.
The ancient stronghold commands views of rolling hills, the aboriginals’ homeland. Giara di Gesturi northwest, a basalt plateau, is the habitat of semi-wild ponies called cavallini della Giara. With its rainwater pools and thick belts of oak the whole park is so natural that it has not yet been designated one. Allow half a day unless you have a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Near Laconi, north again, is another park with a beautiful waterfall and a ‘growing museum’ of long-established trees from all over the temperate world. Barumini village, close to the nuraghe, is charming, peaceful and scrupulously clean.