The ‘father’ of Sardinian archaeology Giovanni Lilliu thought they looked like the “debris of giants destroyed by an avenging god from the aiguilles of the mountains up above and rolled down to the plain below, where they have been lying for thousands of years”. In fact, the granite outcrops that populate the Piana dei Grandi Sassi (Plain of the Big Stones), in the locality Li Parisi, on the border of the territory of Aggius with that of Trinità d’Agultu and Vignola, give the impression of having ended up there who knows how and scattered in a disorderly manner throughout the valley. When the plain is before you, you will understand the origin of its second name, ‘Valle della Luna’ (Valley of the Moon), not to be confused with the plain of the same name by the sea where Cala Grande opens up, in Santa Teresa Gallura. The white rocks have soft, uneven shapes, thanks to the erosion of rain and wind, creating the effect of a lunar landscape.
Some clusters have unique anthropomorphic features: whether admiring the plain from the ‘panoramic viewpoint’ on the scenic provincial road SP 74 or while entering the basin, you will have fun comparing the shapes of the stones to animals or figures like a hooded monk or a Moai head. The view is even more impressive at sunset, when the sun’s rays create unusual plays of light reflected on the granite rocks. Some rocks also have natural ravines and cavities, known as ‘tafoni’, which have always been used by the local people for shelter. Thanks to the uniqueness of its landscape, the plain has appeared in several advertisements and films, including the film ‘Il Principe Libero’ (2018), based on the life of the great Italian singer-songwriter Fabrizio de André.
The basin where the valley lies is crossed by numerous roads and paths, some paved and can be travelled on by car, while those that run next to the clusters of rocks are unpaved and suitable for trekking, mountain bike and horseback riding, which will also allow you to see - in addition to the granite rocks - the vegetation that includes cork oaks, holm oaks and fragrant strawberry trees. The Valle dei Grandi Sassi also offers other surprises: in the heart of this valley, you can visit one of the most important and best-preserved Nuragic buildings in Gallura, as well as probably the largest construction dating back to the Bronze Age: the nuraghe Izzana. It is of a mixed type, with characteristics of both ‘corridor’ and tholos nuraghi, and has two entrances and a series of tunnels and corridors that make it similar to a maze. Its distinctive features are the result of a succession of various construction phases. Don’t miss a visit to the village of Aggius, where the Orange Flag of the Touring Club flies. In amidst the alleys and granite houses, two exhibition spaces stand out: the Olivia Carta Cannas ethnographic museum and the Museum of Banditry, the only one on the Island.