This town that looks out over the sea was, in the II century BCE, a Roman settlement called Gurulis Nova. Cuglieri fans out like an amphitheatre on Bardosu hill, on the western slope of Montiferru, of which it has always been the main town. At the top of the town is the majestic Basilica di Santa Maria ad Nives (of the Snow), the first minor basilica of Sardinia. While this church is always open, the others in town can only be visited during religious festivities, during Monumenti aperti days, when important landmarks are open to the public, and Holy Week. The town is celebrated for the rituals performed by the local brotherhoods: the processions in celebration of the Addolorata, Palm Sunday, Sepulchers, Coena Domini, s’Incravamentu and s’Iscravamentu and s’Incontru at Easter, featuring a heart wrenching liturgical chant known as gosos. Cuglieri was home to the Pontifical Theological School from 1927 through 1971, the first one to be established outside of Rome. The sa Colonia infirmary for children suffering from malaria is also historic. The feast of San Giovanni (end of June) and that of santu Tilippu, the Panadas festival and carnival celebrations featuring sos Cotzulados are not to be missed.
Draped in a mantle of woods, Mt Ferru and Mt Entu (over a thousand metres high) rise outside of town. The main activities of the three thousand inhabitants are the raising of herds and growing of crops. Another important activity is the production of olive oil, the focus of a museum named after Giorgio Zampa and set up in an olive press. The town is known for its crafts, especially carpets, tapestries, cotton and linen bedding and items made of cork. The making of the fringes for towels and sheets, known as sa prenditura, is also a typical craft. South of town are the beaches of Torre del Pozzo and Is Arenas, while in the north are the white calcareous cliffs of Santa Caterina di Pittinuri, its beach dominated by torre Pittinuri, the cliffs of Cabu Nieddu, famous for the waterfalls into the sea, and above all for the famous natural arch known as s’Archittu, carved by insistent mistral winds. This calcareous bridge is almost ten metres high and has inspired a variety of film directors.
The first settlements here date to the early Neolithic Era. The stone domus de Janas chambers at Fanne Massa and the sa Spelunca de Nonna, with an atrium, vaulted cell and two funerary chambers, all date to pre-Nuragic times. There are 64 nuraghes and 12 Giant Tombs dating to the Bronze Age. On the Corchinas high plains are the remains of the VI century BCE Phoenician-Punic Cornus, centre of an anti-Roman revolt during the Punic Wars. Roman relics include tombs with inscriptions, coins, statues and the remains of a bridge. On the Cornus site you’ll visit the early Christian area of Columbaris with the remains of two basilicas, a rare example of an early-Christian Sardinian baptistery and a Christian cemetery arch. The remains of the XII century castello del Montiferru date to the Middle Ages. At the end of your cultural tour, be sure to visit the archaeology museum at the former Capuchin monastery.