In the collective imagination, talking about Sardinia means talking about the sea, summer, and getting tanned. But there is another version of Sardinia, just as beautiful and fascinating: it is the Sardinia of the mountains. Several mountain massifs tell the winter story of this beautiful region- the highest of which is Gennargentu. Millions of years old rocks preserve enchanting places and ancient traditions. Right on the slopes of Gennargentu, in the Barbagia region, stands Fonni, the highest village in Sardinia, which is surrounded by centuries-old woods and prehistoric remains. Let us now suggest how to spend a unique winter holiday in Sardinia, while in this area.
Fonni in literature
A fabulous horizon surrounds the village: the high mountains of Gennargentu, with their bright peaks almost silhouetted against silver, dominate the great valleys of Barbagia, which rise, immense grey and green shells, up to the crests where Fonni, with its houses of splinter and its stone paths, challenge the winds and lightning. (Grazia Deledda, 1903).
This is how the great Sardinian writer, Nobel Prize winner, describes Fonni and its landscape. This country, which today has about 4000 inhabitants, is the most populated center of Barbagia, stands at about 1000 meters above sea level, and is also a famous ski destination. The ski lifts are located in the Bruncu Spina complex, and both cross-country skiing and downhill skiing are practiced here.
Bruncu SpinaBruncu Spina, 08032 Desulo NU, Italia
Fonni and its seasons
Winter in this area is characterized by frequent and intense snowfall, while in the warmer seasons, there is a wonderful spectacle of nature: enchanting flowers of all colors frame the surrounding woods. It is the perfect environment for challenging trekking routes, through woods and springs, in close contact with nature and with the possibility of spotting various rare species.
The historic centre of Fonni
In the historic districts of the ancient village of Fonni, there are houses covered with scandulas, ancient wooden tiles, and you can admire numerous murals, which describe local life and traditions. In the autumn, visiting the cellars is a must, especially during the "Autunno in Barbagia," a food and wine event. At the center of the village, there are important churches, such as the late Gothic style Church of San Giovanni Battista, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Martiri, alongside the Franciscan monastery from the 1600s. In the churches, we find frescoes of considerable artistic and historical value. A few meters away is the Museum of Pastoral Culture, set up in an ancient nineteenth-century manor house, where you can relive the rhythms and the flow of agro-pastoral life.
Chiesa San Giovanni Battista FonniVia S. Giovanni, 08023 Fonni NU, Italia
Santuario Madonna dei Martiri FonniPiazza Martiri, 8, 08023 Fonni NU, Italia
Museo della Cultura Pastorale FonniVia Gennargentu, 08023 Fonni NU, Italia
Among the most interesting traditions is the local confectionery production, especially of the typical Fonni ladyfingers biscuits, which are made with egg, sugar, and flour. They have been produced since ancient times. At the beginning of August, the historic "Palio di Fonni" takes place. During the Carnival period, the tradition is resumed with the holding of the Fonnese Carnival, which is famous for the use of the masks of 'Urthos and Buttudos.'
Archaeology in Fonni
The archaeological jewel of this area, a few kilometers from the town, is the Gremanu sanctuary, which dates back to the Nuragic period. Immersed in a thick oak forest, it is the only nuragic aqueduct on the island associated with the Madau Necropolis. It includes the 4 Tombs of the Giants that are in a bull's head shape. This settlement is dated between the 15th and 9th centuries BCE and is composed of three temples in basalt, limestone, and trachyte, which alternate to create pleasant chromatic effects. Then stands the village with about 100 huts and a complex system of canalization and collection of spring waters, a highly engineered work that used water for sacred rites and daily use.
Nuragic Sanctuary of GremanuLocalità Madau, Fonni, SS389, 08023 Orgosolo NU, Italia
Madau NecropolisStrada Provinciale 2, 08027 Pratobello, Fonni NU, Italia
Visiting Barbagia and the Fonni area in winter will be an unforgettable experience, a unique winter holiday in Sardinia, a mix of culture, art, winter sports, good food, and good wine. Rediscover the traditions of the authentic and less touristy Sardinia. Fonni and its hospitable inhabitants are waiting for you!
We recommend to book your stays in Sardinia in advance as it can get booked up quickly during certain periods. If you use this link, you pay the same price and we get a small commission - thanks for your support!
Want to plan this trip? Check out our recommended itinerary and customize it to your tastes, build your own package from scratch, or reach out for personalized advice from one of our travel experts.
Are you ready to experience this story yourself?