In Ogliastra, the production of traditional crafts is alive and well, and a new generation of young craftspersons is in in the process of taking over with passion and ancestral wisdom. Among classic productions, you will be able to procure Sardinian ceramics, ornamental dishes or dishes for daily usage decorated with traditional motifs, and wicker baskets created through spiraling technique, mixing the coloured straw on the structure thanks to an iron needle.
Ogliastra is famous for its weaving of house clothes made traditionally on a wooden loom, from sheep wool or vegetable fibres like linen, cotton, or hemp. Moreover, the embroidery is at the heart of traditional craft in the region, especially the production of blankets, rugs, tablecloths, and trousseau for the house and tissues typical of traditional female costumes.
It is common to find objects for sale made from wood trim from the neighboring region of Barbagia, like cutting boards, stools, or sculptures; or the very nice bending knives with trimmed handles made from cervidae wood. It will be impossible for you to come back from your vacation in Sardinia without buying an object made from cork, the island’s lighthouse material.
Traditional folk festivals
The entire region of Ogliastra celebrates ancient traditions through popular holidays. In mid-January, we begin with the the votif fires dedicated to Saint Antony, a tradition still practiced in Bari Sardo, Baunei, Villagrande, Talana, and Seui, while on 19 January the event is repeated only in Villagrande with the lighting of a fire for Saint Sebastian. Sardinian carnivals are fascinating and scattered everywhere in Ogliastra (the Ulassai Carnival is famous with its typical masks), in Barbagia (the carnivals of the region are famous for their anthropomorphic and zoomorphic masks), and in the provinces of Sassari and Oristano (carnivals and horses). For Easter’s holy week, the calendar is intense with numerous celebrations and processions taking place throughout the island, the most famous being in Castelsardo, Cagliari, Cuglieri, and Iglesias. Also in Bari Sardo, Good Friday has the Way of the Cross.
On the second Sunday of July, we celebrate Saint John the Baptist in Bari Sardo during Sagra de Su Nenniri, which goes back to a very ancient tradition. Founded as a pagan tradition, this holiday preserves today non-religious elements that make it unique in Sardinia and that experts compare to the ancient cult of Adonis. The vases contain golden seeds (su nenniri), which are brought in procession to the Church of Saint John, then all the way to the sea where they are thrown into the water, at the foot of the tower of Bari, to serve a propitiatory purpose. The procession is accompanied by magnificent crosses of straw of oat ornated with ribbons of bread typical of the celebration (su pane pintau) and seasonal fruit. Many holidays also occur on 15 August with parties, fireworks, and processions, such as the very famous holiday of Santa Maria Navarrese.