Once many people believed in the existence of Su Maschinganna. They called it a deceptive devil who liked to scare men and occasionally played nasty tricks on them.. When a deformed animal was born, people couldn’t explain such monstrosity and blamed the Su Maschinganna. If a sheep gave birth to a lamb with two heads the cause was always the devil, which introduced itself in the flock.”

"Nughedu Santa Vittoria, a custodian of the village traditions", by Dolores Turchi, 2007, Editions IRIS

Nughedu Santa Vittoria is an Italian municipality with 497 inhabitants in the Sardinian province of Oristano, in the region of Barigadu.

The municipality has been autonomous since 1947 and its economy is mostly based on agriculture.

The Barigadu is an historical region of central Sardinia on which, thanks to its sunny but not too dry climate, there are many oak forests and expansive Mediterranean shrubs, as well as some rare animals such as Sardinian deer, fallow deer, wild boars, foxes, Sardinian hares, martens, wild cats, rabbits and many types of birds.



The small village of Nughedu Santa Vittoria, in its panoramic position, lies on a rocky ridge of volcanic origins in the northeastern edge of the Barigadu region and is close to the Mount Santa Vittoria.

Its territory offers outstanding naturalistic features. Mount Santa Vittoria near Assai forest hosts a naturalistic oasis where many fallow deer live. The forest is characterized by centuries-old holm oaks and cork trees. The toponym of the village originates from the combination of two distinct words. First is “nughe”, which means Nut, indicating a land once rich of nut trees, the second is the name of the mountain that overlooks the village. There are many witnesses documenting an important past in the area.


History between Archaeology, Religion and Legend.

There are numerous archaeological sites present in the territory such as the Neolithic “Giants tombs” of “Sangrone” and the Necropolis of “Arzolas de Goi“, which presents five hypogea completely excavated in a trachytic hill. The whole territory has continued to be inhabited even in the Nuragic period as is evident inthe presence of many Nuraghes: among the most characteristic is the protonuraghe “Su Casteddu” (The Castle).

In the area called “Pranu Santa Vittoria”, where once stood an ancient Benedictine Monastery, the ruins of the church dedicated to Santa Vittoria still remain. During medieval times the village was part of the diocese of Santa Giusta in the “Giudicato of Arborea”. Until 1462 the village was the property of the Dejana house, and then of the house of Silva Conti di Monte Santu until the eighteenth century.

In the center of the village we can find the Church of St. James, a seventeenth-century church that has a façade divided into two orders by a notched frame, highlighted by a course of tiles, aligned with the rose window is alovely late-Mannerist gate with a curved tympanum. The interior of the church follows the Catalan-gothic tradition with a single nave hall with pointed arches and side chapels between buttresses. The side chapels are barrel vaulted and are connected to the hall through arches, a round arch in smooth blocks of red trachyte.

The parish of St. James (before 1634-74) stands in the ancient nucleus of Nughedu Santa Vittoria, formerly included in the diocese of Barigadu, and it faces a large square, which forms the architectural backdrop. The historian Vittorio Angius, who describes the building «rather nice in its shape and decent», reports the inscription that was once placed in the choir and that has now disappeared, dated 1634 concerning the end of the construction work, referring, likely, only to the internal, being procurator Gregory (or Georgio) Plassa: "PROCVRANTE GREGORIO PLASSA HOC OPVS PERFECTVM FVIT ANNO A NATIVITATE DOMINI M. DC. XXXIIII".

The same date is carved in the keystone of the presbytery. For the front, the date, 1674, carved inside a shield located in the tympanum of the portal should be considered. The inside of the church, recently darkened by heavy and questionable restoration, follows the Catalan-Gothic tradition with the single nave hall with diaphragm pointed arches which originally held a wooden roof;The side chapels are barrel vaulted a round arch and are connected to the hall through arches in smooth blocks of red trachytepressing on stocky pillars; The quadrangular capilla major, lower and thinner than the hall –is in accordance with the Sardinian interpretation that is generally realized in the presbyterial rooms and different from the solutions developed in Iberia, which are much more complex and almost always with ambulatory - it overlooks the hall through a trachyte pointed arch molded to ovolo and cyma, resting on capitals figured in phyto-animal motifs, hardly legible because of the poor state of conservation of the stone;

The room is covered with a cross vault with massive "gem" keystone and supported by powerful molded ribs set on corbels and decorated with carved foliage rather abstract.At the two sides of the presbyterial arch there are two arched niches with basins in the shape of a shell topped by overhanging consoles supported by curled corbels with a mannerist style but that is reinterpreted with vernacular sensitivity; some niches and shrines placed in the side chapels are inspired by the same style. The facade, in blocks of carefully cut pink trachyte, also follows the same tradition in the second half with trident battlements, but differs for the wise use of a square module that gives the facade Renaissance proportions. To add to this feeling is the late-Mannerist portal with broken curved tympanum that rests on fluted half-columns set on high plinths, and the cornice, notched with alternating diamond and rose-shaped panels, which cuts the prospectus horizontally. The bold spatial setting absorbs the gothic rose window determines the most harmonious and coherent solution between the proposals of the contemporary parish of Gavoi, of Ardauli and the St. Mauro of Sorgono also inspired by a syncretistic taste oriented in plane color effects which «permits to empty a number of old linguistic signs to blend into new even opposite meanings » (C. Maltese, R. Serra).

In the area of Pranu Santa Vittoria we can find the Novenario di San Basilio where once stood an ancient Benedictine monastery, the ruins of the church dedicated to Saint Vittoria still remain.

The middle valley of the Tirso, formed by the left Barigadu Susu, and right from the plateau of Abbasanta is dotted with countless rural churches all named after Byzantine saints. They are generally small and medium churchly buildings rebuilt in the mid-1600s in the so-called Gothic Aragonese style of previous Byzantine worship facilities.

They all overlook the beautiful valley of the great lake Omodeo and from each one youcan usually see the other, offering, together with their respective villages, a strong, spectacular scenery.

Around each of these churches, ancient and modest little houses called "muristenes" still survive; it was used to host the devotees during the "novenari".For nine consecutive nights,the population expresses, in a sort of spiritual retreat, their devotion to the saint.In addition to the religious devotions that are carried out at dawn and just before sunset in order to leave rest of the day for work, all nights are enlivened by songs and dances, attended by the "novenanti", and by the rest of the population that went to the novena to join the devotees after dinner.

The practice of the novene got lost in time but resurfaced in Sardinia in the second half of the first millennium with Benedictine monks who left their homelands due to the persecutions of Leo the Isaurian, influenced by the Islamic culture that forbid the cult of sacred images. The nine nights of spiritual meditation initially represented a sort of education of the cult of the new saints brought to the island by the monks, then it transformed into a stable devotional cult that is still intact in our time.

In the era of Giudicati, at the beginning of the second millennium, those religious gatherings adapted to the agricultural needs to become a meeting place for the farmers who had the necessity to meet each other to plan their work activity. During the novena they stipulated new agreements for the upcoming harvests. Most of the novenari are built in lands formerly devoted to intense viticulture (The canopy for the processional transportation of St.Basilio of Nughedu still carries the columns adorned with grapevines) .

St.Basilio Magno is a rural novenario distant 2 Km from the village. The church was realized in a late-Gothic Aragonese style dated to 1600 and presents a portico sustained by eight columns on one side and the characteristic muristenes, on the other. From its simple architecture, the church can be dated to the first thirty years of the seventeenth century.

It is currently almost completely plastered with lime mortar both externally and internally. It is composed of a single rectangular nave dividedinto four sections by pointed arches in trachyte. On the shortest side of the nave, opposite the main door there are the presbytery and the apse area, raised a notch if compared to the nave, that host the brick altar with the overlooking sculptures of the Saint , and in a more advanced position towards the nave is the wooden table for the celebration of the Eucharist.

On the left, right and posterior side are the seats covered with slabs of trachyte. The body of the presbytery appears added, with a rectangular plan, barrel vaulted with a heavy frame refined with two pointed pendentivewhere two small windows are inserted.From the presbytery, the sacristy is accessed through a small door with a monolithic lintel of trachite laying this incision"HOC OPUS ANO DMN 1834" (probably the year that determined the actual state of the building with the construction of the presbytery).

The nave near the main and side entrances, of the third and fourth aisles on the left, shows traces of the original trachyte flooring currently covered by recently placed tiles, while from the sidewalls of the first aisle two obliterated arches are visible from both inside and outside. .

The nave roof is made of wooden beams and purlins with wattle and bent tile covering. On the main facade, the main entrance is enclosed with two columns on trachyte plinths, which support a straight entablature.

Two other plinths, modestly sized, support two alveolar columns ending in floral capitals bearing the archivolt on which opens a rectangular window with a deep splay.

On the right side of the facade, a modest bell-gable is inserted and on the same side a colonnade covered by tiles. The porch is sustained by eight trachyte columns, on massive plinths of the same material, surmounted by capitals with brackets holding the wooden cover lintel.

The area around the church is currently bounded on three sides by a series of buildings that currently occupy an area of about 300 square metersthat enclose the space of the churchyard, called by the inhabitants of Nughedu “sa corte de sa festa” meaning “the yard of the feast”. These buildings are built with stone trachytic retrieved locally and bonded with lime mortar and mud. These small huts served as a refuge for the faithful who in the past would spend the whole period of the novena and the feast.At present these constructions include:

  • 12 “Muristenes”: small houses consisting of a single room, on the ground floor, that on the occasion of the novena are granted to those who request it;

  • 3 “Muristenes” partially collapsed;


Natural museum Assai’s Oasis

Natural museum Assai’s Oasis is located in a place called Alamoju. The museum exhibits the Sardinian fauna, a reproduction of the forest, a xylotheque and a collection of minerals and fossils from all over the island.

The museum is in the territory of Nughedu Santa Vittoria, inside the Assais’s Oasis. The wonderful habitat characterized by granites, cork trees, holm and shrubs. It is also being repopulatedwith deer and fallow deer.

The building, renovated and attached to the guest quarters, used to be the refuge of shepherds and flocks, when the area constituted of public pasture.On display, in a unique environment, are taxidermy specimens of the Sardinian and a few other non-Sardinian (flamingo, sea turtle) fauna.

A diorama reproduces a corner of the natural territory of the forest, with a fine specimen of goldeneagle (nesting), the dormouse, the buzzard, the fallowdeer, wildboars, weasels, the wildcat, and the sparrowhawk.There is a xylotheque, with longitudinal and transversal sections of several wood species of the Mediterranean bush and forest trees, and a collection of minerals and fossils coming from the island.Especially notable is the coral specimen from Bosa. The exhibited material is classified by common name, scientific name and Sardinian name.

There are some panels illustrating the various plant and animal species. The visit is concluded outside of the museum with a charcoal pile and a sheperd shelter "Pinnetta" built according to traditional techniques.


A new reception model: Nughedu Smart.

A country that risks depopulation should find bya way to save themselves, valorizing the rural areas and rediscovering the sense of community. This sums up the core of the project, which aims to develop a "smart" policy in a small town of Barigadu, launching the economy glocally by adjusting the view of globalization to local reality.

The protagonists of "Nughedu Smart" are citizens and municipal administrators, called, the latter in particular, to fuel participation and to discuss the issues of rurality. There has been instituted the Rural Lab, a Living Lab where training courses are held and that nurtures consciousness on the potentiality of the territory. It is managed by Nabui society that proposed the Nughedu Smart project.

The analysis of the context have revealed that the development of the village pass through a new model of hospitality that takes in account the international scenario of the sharing economy which propose new models of consumption and new life styles based on recycling rather than acquisition, on the access to goods rather than its possession, on trust towards strangers rather than distrust.

In the specific case, the need of the community emerged to develop an offer of hospitality in particular in the field of restaurants. Nabui elaborates the concept and developes a strategy for hospitality and widespread restaurants.

Seven chefs and innkeeper host are the new protagonists of the new hospitality made in Nughedu. Gathered in the Association “Nughedu Welcome”, they are ready to launch the Social Eating Day, the day dedicated to eating together, scheduled for August 19 in Nughedu Santa Vittoria, and that will be the launch of the hospitality model.

Nughedu Smart, besides being a project of social innovation, communication, storytelling, and urban regeneration is a sustainable model of hospitality based on culinary identity. Parallel to the issue of reception, in fact, we aim to make the protagonist of the model a typical local dish, the pasta in broth. The challenge is to revisit the dish, reshaping it according to international consumer tastes. The scientific director is the star chef Roberto Petza.


Celebrations and Events.

Some of the main festivals that take place in Nughedu Santa Vittoria are:

- On 24 and 25 July, the feast of St. James;

- On July 26, the feast of Sant'Aanna;

- On the first Sunday of August, the Feast of SantaVittoria;

- From 24 August to 1 September, it takes place the feast of St. Basilio.


Photo by Vincenzo Ligios.


Location       Territory       Info       Web site utility
State: Italia       Coordinates: 40°06′04″N 8°57′05″E       Postal code: 09080       http://www.comunenughedusv.it/
Province: Oristano       Altitude: 533 m s.l.m.       Prefix phone: 0783       http://www.comunas.it/nughedusantavittoria/
        Surface: 28,57 km²       Time zone: UTC+1       http://www.sardegnaturismo.it/it/punto-di-interesse/nughedu-santa-vittoria
        Inhabitants: 497 (30-04-2014)      

Seismic classification : Zone 4 (very low seismicity )

        Density: 17,4 ab./km²       Name of inhabitants: Nughedesi        

Neighboring municipalities: Ardauli, Austis (NU), Bidonì, Neoneli, Olzai (NU), Sorradile

      Patron: San Giacomo
                Holiday: --------------        
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