Gently descending towards the plain, it is dominated to the east by the Monte Arci volcanic massif and flanked to the west by Pauli Majori pond, just a few minutes from the enchanting beaches of the Sinis Peninsula. Palmas Arborea is a town of almost 1500 inhabitants in the Campidano plain of the Province of Oristano, located about 10 kilometres away. The town’s main income comes from shepherding and the cultivation of artichokes, citrus fruit and grapes. The town has Medieval origins: around the year 1000, three small villages stood here, Palmas Majori and Palmas de Ponti were abandoned by the 15th century, while Villa de Palmas, which stood where the present-day town lies, survived. Originally, it was called just Palmas, due to the large number of palm groves surrounding it. In the 20th century, Arborea was added to differentiate it from another Palmas (of San Giovanni Suergiu). In the historical centre, you will see houses made with unfired mud bricks set around the Parish of Sant’Antioco, who has several feasts during the year. One of the festivals held in April is Pariglie Palmaresi, which includes a procession on horseback accompanied by folk groups, and the Is Tre Aneddus during which riders try to thread rings and perform acrobatic tricks. In July, there is a Sardinian Dance Exhibition among other celebrations. In November, the death of the martyr is commemorated, and a must-visit Mushroom Fair is held with a show and mushroom tasting.
The scenery around the town is multi-faceted and multi-coloured, granting unforgettable views. The calm waters of the Pauli Majori, a paradise for birdwatching enthusiasts, is home to the swamphen, purple heron and the white-headed duck. The flora, on the other hand, is characterized by splendid orchids. It is one of Italy’s most important wetlands. In the Park of Monte Archi, the Island’s largest deposit of obsidian, you can travel back in time eight thousand years (during which various Mediterranean peoples settled in Sardinia, leaving traces behind) in search of this mineral – the ‘black gold’ of the Neolithic – abundant on the mountain’s slopes and used to make prehistoric weapons and tools. Archaeological sites range from recent Neolithic to Nuragic stone circles. The massif is covered with basaltic lava flows, while its interior is composed of trachyte. Volcanic conduits come together in three peaks (the highest is Trebina Longa at 812 metres), giving the mountain the appearance of a tripod. A green carpet of holm oaks and Mediterranean shrubs, with occasional cork and downy oaks, covers the mountain. The 150-hectare Forest of Sa Dispensa, populated by weasels, martens and birds of prey (goshawks, kestrels, buzzards and sparrowhawks), is within the territory of Palmas Arborea.