The monte Linas massif provides for endless exploration of ever-changing natural environments: high peaks, deep gorges, woods, Mediterranean brush, streams and waterfalls. One of these, the Muru Mannu cascade in the Gonnosfanadiga area, is surrounded by imposing walls of granite, and you will be amazed at its final vertiginous drop of over 70 metres. Together with the river that feeds it, it owes its name to the rocky crest from which it flows. Near the end of its course – which begins at about 1000 metres – the river encounters a sudden drop in height, first with a few small jumps, and then the final magnificent leap that makes Muru Mannu the tallest waterfall in all of Sardinia. At the bottom, the water plunges into a small lake surrounded by oak and holly trees, and then heads into the valley with a series of smaller falls before it merges with the Linas river to create the larger Cannisoni river.
On the trail that leads to this wonder of nature, you’ll walk through shaded woods and sunny clearings, through narrow ravines dotted with oak and eucalyptus trees, while holly and strawberry trees line the path along two streams that become the Linas river. Here and there you’ll find traces of man’s presence: charcoal pits, abandoned huts and sheepfolds, all of which make the hike all the more interesting. You’ll feel like you’re some sort of fairy tale or fantasy figure as, now and again, you cross streams where, as they join, reveal little waterfalls and ponds. Finally, as you follow the course of the Muru Mannu in the direction opposite to its flow, you’ll find the big waterfall to your left.
Along the way there is a deviation that leads to the Piscina Irgas waterfall. This trail is also surrounded by lush green and ends at the feet of a 45 metre drop of water that pours into an emerald pond. On the side that leads to Villacedro, still at the feet of the Linas, is the gorgeous scenery of sa Spendula, run through with easy trails and a park with a picnic area that lead to the vista of a 30 metre tall waterfall. In his youth, the author D’Annunzio so loved this place he wrote a sonnet dedicated to it.
The natural ‘gems’ of Gonnosfanadiga and Villacidro are part of the Monti Mannu forest complex, some 4,600 hectares of dense woods, granite walls, prehistoric and industrial archaeological remains, not to mention the wildlife, that includes Sardinian deer and mouflons, as well as, for the birdwatchers, Pellegrine Falcons and Royal Eagles.