“Ghosts of the ancient Barons came down from the Castle ruins above Galte”. This is how Grazia Deledda made the ruins of the castle of Pontes eternally famous, in the pages of her masterpiece ‘Canna al Vento’. Today, it is an integral part of the Grazia Deledda Literary Park, an itinerary that includes the places mentioned by the Nobel prize-winning writer. From the 11th century, the fortress, built on a hill at the foot of Mount Tuttavista, which dominates the plain of the Cedrino river, performed a strategic function in protecting the connections between the eastern coast and the hinterland. At that time, Galtellì was an important religious and political centre of the Gallura Giudicato and in the 14th century it was attacked and conquered by the Aragonese Crown.
The castle was inhabited until the 15th century before being abandoned: its last owner was Baron Guiso, around whom there are numerous legends: his ghost would roam the ruins at night, unlike his family, who were forced to wander the underground areas. On one occasion, the Baron’s ghost is said to have met a poor farmer carrying wood. The baron asked him for some wood with which to heat his family and the farmer, despite the hardship he was suffering, agreed without accepting anything in return. From that day on, the farmer became rich. After having supplied the spirits of the castle with wood for the entire winter, he received sacks full of gold in exchange.
You can visit the castle at the end of a path surrounded by mastic trees, where you will notice ancient lime furnaces. The building was inserted onto a previous Roman fortification and incorporated limestone spikes, taking advantage of the shape of the rocky outcrop. It was surrounded by a secondary defence wall at the base and several vestments still exist. There are reports of two towers that were still visible at the end of the 19th century, while today you will be able to identify the remains of one of them in a corner position. A flight of steps will take you to the upper level, where there are traces of an oven and an underground cistern. From up there, you can admire a captivating view of the Cedrino valley as it stretches towards the Gulf of Orosei, following the course of the river. Next to it stands the imposing profile of Mount Tuttavista, the height of which exceeds 800 metres above sea level. During the ascent, you will find sa Preta istampata, a rocky wall on which atmospheric agents have opened a large and unusual circular hole, creating a natural ‘window’ to the valley.
In the village of Galtellì, which is part of the regional circuit of pilgrim destinations, you can visit the complex of the former cathedral of San Pietro, containing a cycle of medieval frescoes, and Casa Marras, an eighteenth-century noble residence in which there is an ethnographic museum.