Set in the foothills of the Montiferru chain, in a territory partly cloaked in oak woodlands and partly cultivated with olive groves, vineyards and orchards, particularly cherry trees, the town is not far from the Sinis peninsula. Bonacado is a town of around 1600 inhabitants 25 kilometres from Oristano; it takes its name and fame from two "jewels" of Romanic architecture: the sanctuary and basilica of Nostra Signora di Bonaccattu, the Sardinian name of the town that derives from Bonarcanto or Bonacranto, in turn a corruption of the Greek word Panachrantos (Immaculate). The two buildings form a complex that overlooks a delightful square in the historic centre, and are the oldest locations for the Marian cult on the island. The Byzantine sanctuary is one of the first Christian buildings on the island: the layout possibly dates from the 5th century, subsequently modified in the 7th and 8th centuries, when the first settlement was probably already beginning to form. It was built using material from the earlier Roman baths, of which an area of mosaic flooring has been found.
The original "temple" was expanded to include two facades, one to the west added in the 13th century, decorated with hanging arches and ceramic basins, and one to the north built in Neo-Romanesque style in 1933. Inside, you can admire a 15th century bas-relief of the Madonna. The basilica is directly opposite the sanctuary, built by Camaldolese monks in 1146 in dark basalt stone, making it particularly evocative. The building was refurbished half-way through the following century by Arabic stone-masons from Spain, and expanded in 1700 with a second nave and some chapels. The Condaghe di Santa Maria di Bonarcado (12th-13th century) were written in the monastic abbey, and remain one of the oldest documents written in Sardinian, providing historic, economic and social information in a period when the town was flourishing, under the Torres Giudicato. The veneration of the Madonna comes to its peak in the celebrations in mid-September. These are held at the same time as the torrone festival, produced using the excellent local honey. The town is also famous for its extra virgin olive oil and cherries, which have their own festival in June. Early August is reserved for the beef festival. Other festivals are held on 19 January to celebrate San Sebastiano, with a horseback procession and pariglie along the streets of the centre, and in early February for San Romualdo.
Fertile land and an abundant water supply have attracted stable settlement ever since the Neolithic, as demonstrated by various domus de Janas. The Bronze Age left nuraghes, including numerous "corridor"-style nuraghes, associated with Giants' Tombs, many of which are found in the plateau on the border with Paulilatino: Campu Scudu, Livandru, Scovera, Serra Crastula, sas Losas, Serra Ollastu and Ziligherto. They are surrounded by oak woods, which also reveal valleys and the sos Molinos waterfall, one of the most spectacular places in the Montiferru range, near the Pranos spring, known for its mineral water.