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Luogosanto

The Church of Santo Stefano, Luogosanto

Luogosanto stands in the centre of the Gallura area at an altitude of 320 m. The little village owes its name to the large number of buildings for worship (at least twelve), scattered over the area. In effect, the strong religious tradition of the area, which probably draws its origins from the very foundation of the inhabited centre by the Franciscan monks of the XIII century, actually led to the concession of a very rare privilege: the denomination of “Holy Gate” for one of the doors of the basilica of Nostra Signora of Luogosanto, which is thus opened every seven years for a period of twelve months, attracting a great number of believers. According to another interpretation, the name derives from the discovery of the relics of the Saints Nicola and Trano (a probable deformation of “San Nicola of Trani”) inside a rock in the countryside of Luogosanto, where the church dedicated to these two saints was later constructed. During the period of Aragonese rule, Luogosanto, like many other centres, was depopulated and only found new life from the XVII century onwards, when several shepherds built their sheepfolds in this area, giving life to what is the village of today.

 

This charming urban centre at the foot of Mount Juanni, reveals the nature of the surrounding area, rich with granite outcrops. In fact, granite is the main material used for building here, also used to pave the streets. Luogosanto offers plenty of points of interest to its visitors; it stands at just a few minutes from the famed and famous sea of the Gallura area but at the same time, is immersed in a wooded mountainous landscape, rich with panoramas stretching as far as the eye can see. The Basilica dedicated to Nostra Signora of Luogosanto rises in the urban centre. Its foundation dates back to the XIII century, work of the Franciscan monks. According to a local tradition, the church was erected at the exact point where the Madonna was supposed to have appeared to the monks, to tell them the place where the relics of Saints Nicola and Trano lay. And it is also tradition that tells how the wooden statue preserved inside the Basilica was found on a beach in Arzachena. The church dedicated to the Saints Nicola and Trano rises in open countryside, to the south of the inhabited centre. The relics of the two saints were discovered in a little cave, which has been incorporated in the simple architecture of the one-roomed church. Its altar has been carved out of a single piece of stone. In the Balaiana region there are instead, four churches. As well as the church dedicated to the Madonna del Rimedio, the one to San Gavino of Li Coddi ,(covered in juniper), and the one to San Salvatore, (built entirely in granite), the Church of San Leonardo rises here on an outcrop of granite rocks, originally the chapel of the castle of Balaiana. The latter, built in the medieval period as a probable summer residence for the Judges of Gallura, suffered great damage during the time of the Aragonese rule.

 

The term Balaiana derives from the name of the native population known to live here at least from the Roman period onwards, the Balari. The church, built in the XII century, is one of the smallest Romanesque buildings in Sardinia and has a single nave with a barrel-vaulted ceiling built entirely of granite. An interesting archaeological site rises near the road for Santa Teresa Gallura at Santu Stevanu, in the middle of an oak-wood around the “Palazzo di Baldu”. This is a square-shaped building with over ten-metre high walls on three sides. Originally it was divided into three floors with a terrace and had an external staircase, leading to the main entrance above a sloping base. Next to the building there are a number of other constructions, for a total of sixteen rooms overlooking a single large square. Not far away lies a granite furnace used for the production of clay materials. The little church dedicated to Santo Stefano, dating back to the XVII century, is still preserved.

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15.01.2016 to 23.12.2016
12.02.2016 to 14.10.2016