The "S'ortu mannu" (the great garden) covers an area of about 13 ha lying at the foot of the Gioiosa Guardia castle, in the countryside of Villamassargia, about 4 km from the village. It is a woodland of centuries-old olive trees, planted between the 1300s and the 1600s, with majestic large gnarled trunks, topped by a thick canopy of branches and green foliage.
The most impressive exemplar is Sa Reina ("the Queen"), whose trunk span reaches 16 m, a true natural monument on account of its beauty and historical significance. The park originated in the Middle Ages, when the Benedictine monks planted the first olive grove from which "S'ortu mannu" developed. As legend has it, to encourage olive tree cultivation, the Pisans granted the trees to those who planted and grafted them.
Be it as it may, today this woodland is a nature park with about 700 olive trees aged hundreds of years, many of which were until recently property of the villagers. After "S'ortu mannu" became property of the Municipality of Villamassargia, each olive tree was granted in use for 99 years to the respective original owner: thus it is that almost every family in the village owns a tree in the oasis, identified by the head of the family's initials placed on the tree trunk. "S'ortu mannu" is also the stage for the traditional event held every year on the last Sunday in October: the Olive Festival. An event not to be missed by the lovers of high quality olive oil, a prized product which Villamassargia excels in making.
To reach the Park, which lies a few km from Villamassargia, follow SS 130 then turn onto SP 86 to the village.
Information: Comune di Villamassargia Phone +39 0781 75801.