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VIVA - New Active Tourism Itineraries in Villanova

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Discover Villanova

Discover Villanova

Mara: The old town centre

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A dive into the past between religious architecture and rural culture.

Technical info


Pathway of historic interest.

Degree of difficulty

Low difficulty route.

Time required

About 2 hours.


Walking and bicycle route.


Info point in town, piazza Marconi 8.


From Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, turning right towards the street with the same name, after a few metres, you get to the Centro di Documentazione sulla Civiltà Contadina (Documentation Centre about Rural Life) located in a typical country house. Inside there is a collection of over four hundred tools, machines and objects for working the soil and for the production and storage of grain and products derived from it. In the adjacent garden it is possible to see ancient agricultural machineries, such as a threshing machine dating back to 1950 and the first tractor with a Sassari number plate.

Turning left and then right you get to Via Santa Croce where there is the church with the same name, built during the seventeenth century, later used as an oratory which housed the sacred objects of the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross. In conjunction with the Second World War, in 1940, the church was deconsecrated and used as a military barracks. Currently, after a phase of restoration works, it has been reopened as a place of worship. The building is characterised by a longitudinal single-aisled structure. The square-shaped apse is roofed by a cross vault and contains a stone altar with columns. The façade, characterised by a limestone portal, is crowned by a bell gable.

Turning right and following Via Nilde Jotti, where the new Town Hall is located along with some areas equipped for shows and for children, you get to Via Gramsci. After a few dozen metres towards Pozzomaggiore, turn left into Via Rinascita. Once arrived at the Stadium, turn left down a side street that leads, just outside the town, to the Grotto Sa Tumba de Tomaso, characterised by few rooms and of speleological interest; crossing an open field, on the right, about 100 metres away, stands the central tower of Nuraghe Tomasu Cabonis, about 10 metres high.

Going back, after crossing Via Gramsci, walking through the streets of the old town centre up to the square with the statue of Padre Pio, it is possible to see the numerous murals depicting rural and religious scenes. Proceeding towards Via Vittorio Veneto, where there are few examples of civil architecture of the late nineteenth century, you reach the scenic route dedicated to Sandro Pertini overlooking the valley in the territory bordering the town of Padria. After travelling down the street, turn towards Via Vittorio Veneto to get to the Parish Church of San Giovanni Battista, dating back to the eighteenth-century, characterised by an octagonal bell tower. The façade presents the same standards of organization of space used for the Shrine of Nostra Signora of Bonu Ighinu, even if on a smaller scale. After admiring some murals, going straight along Via Chiesa, you get to the garden Peralta characterised by a fountain in the shade of pomegranate trees.