The old town in Ozieri is among the most precious and rich in Sardinia. The small city is located in Central-northern Sardinia, in the historical region of Logudoro, less than an hour’s drive from the stunning coastlines on each side of the island.
Our walk begins in Piazza Cantareddu, the town’s ‘living room’, flanked by beautiful historic buildings. We go up a steep staircase between tall historical buildings and reach a street where the printzipales (landowners) lived in the 19th century. The refined houses are still a testament to the elegant lifestyle they used to have.
A turn left and the Cathedral appears, majestic, in its Neoclassical style. Mass is under way, so we can only stay in for a few minutes.
As we turn into a side alley, we walk past charming archways, cul-de-sacs and flowery doorways until we reach the Church of the Rosary. Next to it is the Poor Clares’ Convent, which has been restored to house the city’s Archaeological Museum.
The terrace in front of it is the best viewpoint over Prometheus, a huge mosaic by Aligi Sassu. Originally a mural painting, it shows scenes from the history of Sardinia and Ozieri, with references to the Mediterranean Mother Goddess, pottery from the prehistoric Culture of Ozieri, writer Grazia Deledda, Sebastiano Satta and other important characters from Ozieri.
An old prison is found in Piazza Duchessa Borgia, which was used until the Sixties. Slowly but cheerfully, we head towards Via Grixoni and keep walking along its picturesque buildings.
We stop and rest by Grixoni fountain. In the late 1500s, the waters from Mount Lizu were channeled here, but never made potable. With its white marble lions and magnificent look, made possible by the generosity of Don Giuseppe Grixoni, the fountain is – unsurprisingly – a town symbol and one of the citizens’ favorite spots.
To the right, Palazzo Pietri hides a long narrow tunnel, a World War II air raid shelter. To date, no one knows where it leads. Some believe it may wind its way up to the Carmelo Grotto, about 500 meters higher up.
After we leave Palazzo Pietri, we set out for an unusual path, up stairs, past open-air artworks such as La Pietra & il Ferro (Stone & Iron) to reach a vantage point over a scenic crowd of houses and rooftops.
Across some of the oldest streets in Ozieri, we stop at a tiny house, probably dating back to the 18th century. Bellu House is an excellent example of ‘humble architecture’ in town, living proof of the way families used to live decades ago. It has four rooms, two per floor. The old style furniture brings us back in time. The famous Copulete bakery is nearby, so we treat ourselves to a sweet break. Copulete are traditional sweets from Ozieri, delicate and delicious.
We resume our walk along winding cobbled roads down to Saint Lucia’s Church, a perfect photo shooting location. Then we climb up steep tirighinos (lanes) to one of the most beautiful vantage points in town, where you can take a close look at Ozieri’s unique amphitheater-like setting.
After a pleasant stroll downhill, we visit the interior of one of the most beautiful buildings in town. Palazzo Vigliaroni boasts frescoed vaults and beautiful doors, a testament to the elegant lifestyle of rich families in the past.
Our last stop for the day is Piazza San Francesco and its church. The unique Spanish House and a precious view over the town is the perfect wrap-up to a day full of surprises in Ozieri.