Serri sits at an elevation of 600 meters, along the edge of a Giara (plateau), to which it gives its name. According to general belief, it was founded by the inhabitants of the nearby Roman city of Biora as they fled the plague. This small agro-pastoral village on the border of Sarcidano plateau and Trexenta, has a population of 650 and is a member of the Borghi Autentici d’Italia Association because of its natural, cultural, archaeological and culinary riches. The village boasts a view that spans from Gennargentu to Marmilla Hills and the island’s south-western coast. Giara di Serri, close and similar (on a smaller scale) to Giara di Gesturi (Jara Manna), is a natural fortress surrounded by century-old holly, downy and common oaks, and Mediterranean shrubs; an ideal setting for excursions on foot, bicycle or horseback. Its lush greenery is flanked by fertile pastures, where excellent cheeses are made, vegetable gardens, orchards, and vineyards producing superb wines. Meat and excellent oils are at the foundation of local recipes.
Giara di Serri is an open-air museum housing a prehistoric architectural “jewel”, the Sanctuary of Santa Vittoria, a symbol of piety and a crossroads of culture and commerce where you can observe the evolution of Nuragic civilization. It is composed of four groups of buildings: a holy area with a Well Temple and a “hypaethral” temple with two altars linked to a Priest’s Hut; the large Festival Enclosure, an area for social and commercial activities; a group including the Enclosure of Double Betyl; and a fourth complex, where the “Torture Enclosure” and the “Curia”, where the federal assembly of chiefs likely met, are most notable. In the various buildings, nuraghe-altar models, taurine protomes, weapon fragments, bracelets, rings, axes and above all, bronze statuettes (ex voto) made with great skill as well as other objects of everyday Nuragic use were unearthed. All are now on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari. The site continued to be used for worship into the Byzantine period: in the 7th century, this was the site of the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, which was rebuilt by Vittorini monks in 11-12th centuries and gave its name to the site. Its altar niche houses a polychrome wood statue of the saint, whose Feast Day is on September 11. The sanctuary is the most significant of Serri’s archaeological inheritance, which ranges from the nuraghes, such as s’Uraxi, to Medieval period sites.
The town’s historical centre is composed of old rural homes with spacious courtyards and arched entrances. The town lives mainly off agriculture, animal rearing and crafts including bread making, embroidery, basket weaving, and wood carving. Original it was built around the Parish of San Basilio Magno, a Pisan Romanesque church with Byzantine influences built around 1100. The interior is adorned with a 18th century high altar in marble and three 17th century, Baroque style wood altars. The patron saint’s Feast Day is celebrated in late August. In the old section of town, next to the former monte granatico (grain bank, currently a cultural centre), stands the small Church of Sant’Antonio Abate (1770). Mid-January, a large bonfire is lit in the square in front of it in honour of the saint. A few days later, the Feast of San Sebastiano Martire is celebrated. Of the sanctuary dedicated to him remain only ruins next to which some Roman artefacts have been found. On the eastern slopes of the plateau, the churchyard and large square near the Country Sanctuary of Santa Lucia play host to the saint’s feast in late of May, and the associated cattle market-show.