The town of Cabras, a few kilometers from Oristano, is one of the most visited in Sardinia and is characterized by the presence of single-story houses that have still preserved their original structure.
The natural pond, 2,200 hectares of naturalistic paradise populated by the suggestive pink flamingos is one of the largest freshwater basins of Sardinia that communicates with the sea through a series of canals and is a few hundred meters from the Agriturismo Pinuccia and the B & B Monte Prama.
The pond is a fundamental resource for the city as fishing (especially mullet) is a pre-eminent activity. Cabras is a destination for many visitors because of its natural and scenic beauty, archaeological sites, and its museum, for cooking and for events related to tradition and religion.
Archaeological Sites and Museum
Church of San Giovanni in Sinis
San Salvatore’s Church
Not far from the beach of San Giovanni di Sinis, there are the ruins of the City of Tharros, an archaeological site of considerable interest, which has been the site of excavations since 1956. This ancient city was founded by the Phoenicians between the eleventh and eighth centuries BC to become a Punic city and finally, in the middle of the III century BC, a Roman city. On the road to Tharros rises Church of St John in Sinis. Its headquarters correspond to a sector of the Phoenician-Punic necropolis of Tharros, and probably dates back to the fifth century, and is, therefore, one of the oldest churches in Sardinia still in use. As soon as you enter the road that leads to the beaches of Is Aruttas and Mari Ermi, on the right is the village of San Salvatore.
The medieval village, whose current appearance dates back to the Spanish domain, owes its name to the church of San Salvatore, which arose in the second seventeenth century, built on a prehistoric sanctuary carved into the rock. Under the left aisle, from a ladder, you enter the hypogeum that shows traces of frequentation that reach up to the Neolithic.
Not far away (reachable on foot) from Agriturismo Pinuccia and B & B Monte Prama there is the Giovanni Marongiu Municipal Archaeological Museum where among the many finds, the statues of the Giants of Mont’e Prama are more than two meters tall and represent fighters like warriors, archers, and boxers. One of the greatest discoveries ever made in Sardinia. The mountain and archaeological site are located just over 10 km from the center of Cabras.
Religious Events and Tradition
An appointment with the tradition of Cabras is the famous “Corsa degli Scalzi”, a ceremony that is renewed every year on the first Saturday of September. 800 men, strictly from Cabras, dressed in only white and bare shoes, fill all the benches, transforming the church into an evocative and exciting painting. In silence, in procession, come out in the churchyard, accompanied by barrels and the heat of the public, every year very numerous, who attend the event both for religious reasons and simply for irrational and emotional adherence to a ritual that is also pagan. Many local people, especially women, come to admire the deeds of sons, husbands, fathers, boyfriends, brothers, grandparents.
One of the legends tells that in 1506, during yet another incursion of the barbarians, while the men defended the coasts, the women would have brought the saint to safety in the village, the novena where the peasants found refreshment on working days. Another legend tells how the dust lifted along the way during the transport of the saint had put the enemy to flight before the battle.
Typical Cabrarese Cuisine
The mullet bottarga is the typical product of Cabras par excellence. Made since 1368 with mullet eggs dried in the air. Despite being produced in different places of the Mediterranean, that of the lagoon of Cabras is considered by the connoisseurs the best ever. The climate and the waters of the lagoon are perfect for mullets, which are caught in September when they are fatter and rich in the pulp. The two pockets of eggs are extracted whole, dipped in salt for two to four hours, depending on the size, and pressed. After three months of drying in the air and in the sun according to the traditional process, today more often after a week in a ventilated laboratory “Sardinian gold” is ready to be tasted. Another traditional dish of Cabras is Sa Merca. It is a dish made from mullet that is boiled and wrapped in a marsh grass called “zibba” or “salicornia”, after which it is dried and salted with an ancient and traditional process that allows the food to be stored for a few days. It seems that this is a dish of Phoenician origin, a people who practiced fishing and kept the fish in salt; the same etymology of the word “Merca” means precisely “salty food”.
The Oristanese and therefore the Sinis represents the noble soul of the western part of the island, with its monuments and its food and wine specialties, such as Vernaccia. The charm of Oristano manifests itself in the equestrian tournament of “Sa Sartiglia”, which takes place every year on Sunday and the last Tuesday of the carnival. On that occasion, the ceremonial complexes linked to the tournament recall the glorious past linked to the historical guilds. The Sinis Peninsula is full of dream beaches. Here lies the fascinating and mythical area of Tharros, a city founded by the Phoenicians around the eighth century BC, and just off the small island of Mal di Ventre and the Scoglio del Catalano, which together with the Sinis Peninsula form the area protected marina Sinis Mal di Ventre.