An ancient village in the south-western part of Ogliastra sits at an altitude of 450m above the sea in the rio Pardu valley, encircled by the unusual rocky formations of the high plains: the amazing Porcu ‘e Ludu and Troiscu outcrops. Jerzu is home to about three thousand inhabitants and its steep streets rise upwards over various levels to reveal gorgeous views. The surrounding areas boast peaks with steep walls ideal for free climbing and paths for hiking (or even mountain biking) in the pristine nature provided by woods of oak and maple trees, of myrtle bushes and Spanish broom, of fig, chestnut and almond trees. A network of streams waters vegetable gardens and orchards, the scenery is graced with bare hills skirted by olive groves, cultivated fields and, above all, vineyards that pan out as far as the eye can see, especially in the Pardu and rio Quirra valleys and the Pelau plains. Hundreds of tons of grapes are harvested here every year to make cannonau, the famous red wine that has made Jerzu a City of Wine. The town’s winemaking cooperative came about in the mid-XX century and is well worth a visit. The name Jerzzu shows up in official documents for the first time in the year 1130, when a donation of vineyards was registered. In the XVI there was mention of ‘wine roads’, for the wine was already being exported to beyond the Alps. Early August includes two important events devoted to cannonau. During the sagra del vino, or wine festival, the ancient carts used during the grape harvest parade through the streets alongside locals clad in traditional dress as onlookers are regaled with island folk music and sample the wine. Traditional fare like culurgiones and coccoi prenas is also a must! One of the events during the festival is the Calci sotto le Stelle, or Chalices under the Stars, when after sundown you can stroll from one historical cantina to another sampling their best wines listening to the traditional music of the tenores and launeddas. Other delicacies include su pani conciu (bread soaked in wine) and is tacculas (myrtle flavoured biscuits). There is a new nature museum in town to raise awareness of (and safeguard) the environmental heritage of the area. And then there is the archaeological legacy. The first settlements here date to Neolithic times: the domus de Janas at Perda Puntuta and sa Ibba s’Ilixi. The thirty or so Nuragic settlements that include the s’Omu ‘e s’Orcu were built in subsequent eras. The top of Mt. Corongiu rises to a thousand metres and is Jerzu’s most panoramic spot. There are traces of a Punic necropolis here. And then there is art, the Stazione dell’arte of Ulassai is located in the old train station and houses works by the internationally renowned artist Maria Lai. Jerzu is also a city of theatre, home of the Ogliastra Teatro festival. The feast of St. Antonio da Padova is the most heartfelt of the religious festivals and takes place on June 13, when the simulacrum of the saint is brought down in a procession leading from the upper reaches of town to the small country church that bears his name, in a lovely setting surrounded by Tacchi, or rocky outcrops.