An estate dating to the late XIX century has, over the decades, morphed from being a farming estate to a nature oasis with a verdant garden featuring a wide variety of plant species. Set over four hectares among the hills of Marghine and the Campeda high plain, it is the legacy left by a Welsh engineer who came to Sardinia in 1863 to help design the (Cagliari-Olbia and Chilivani-Porto Torres) railroad line that was being built by the Italian-English company known as the Royal Sardinian Railroad Company. The celebrated figure was Benjamin Piercy, a rich and powerful man who fell in love with Sardinia, where fortune smiled on him until he collapsed during a banquet and died in 1888. In exchange for the work on the largest public works done (until then) in Sardinia he received several terrains in the Bolotana area. There he invested more than a million lire, a vast fortune in those days, to construct a modern company that was defined a “monument to agriculture.”
On the premises of the Badde Salighes estate (the Valley of the Willows) he built a majestic English style villa, his residence, where he lived in luxury and lavishly entertained fellow Brits and Italian friends. They say that Umberto of Savoy, the soon to be King of Italy, was a frequent guest. The rural three storey, square residence was built between 1879 and 1882. The building was topped with four towers covered with metal domes topped with an iron pinnacle. Inside the residence you will see paintings embellishing the ground floor rooms. After a 2010 renovation it was opened to the public along with the gardens, something of a botanical garden that reflected Piercy’s love of nature. Strolling among maples, holly, chestnut trees, holm oaks and downy oaks, you will also admire exotic species, the legacy of the British engineer's travels to various parts of the world. In the garden there is a libocedro, Himalayan tuja, Spanish fir, Balearic box, Lawson cypress and other rare plants. The park is also in English style, with a swimming pool surrounded by trees just a short distance from the villa.
Piercy’s legacy was left to his son and then expropriated in the mid-XX century. It included the lovely villa, the garden and even a small town, Chilivani (part of Ozieri), an important stop along the railroad. The Mediterranean’s largest animal husbandry concern was begun on the thousand hectares of his estate. Many workers worked and lived with their families in the Badde Salighes and Padru Mannu, where a dairy equipped with modern technology was built. It stands to good reason that Piercy’s name is closely linked to the nascent intensive agriculture and animal husbandry of Bolotana, a town surrounded by fertile fields and steeped in rural traditions, including the art of carpet weaving.