An underground universe, camouflaged in the landscape of the Sardinian countryside. Over 3500 domus de Janas are scattered throughout the island, an expression of the funerary rites of people who lived five thousand years ago, and then reused in later periods. Using only stone pickaxes, these people dug and shaped the hard rock to create underground tombs where they laid the dead and 'returned' them to the Mother Goddess, a divinity attested to by the discovery of hundreds of votive statues.
The name of these 'artificial' caves derives from the ancient belief, spread by popular legends, that they were the homes of tiny fairies, the Janas, who wove golden threads in the moonlight and watched over children's sleep. Sacredness and rituals drove the pre-Nuragic men to dig into the rock and decorate the 'rooms' that housed their loved ones, who 'slept' in the womb of mother Earth while waiting for the regenerative journey to the afterlife.
The domus are carved into isolated boulders or grouped in necropolises on rocky ridges. There are many types: pit, oven, chamber and with dromos. Many were built in the likeness of the houses of the living, equipped with double-pitched ceilings, hearths, columns, plinths, basins and false doors, symbols of the passage to the afterlife. Of the thousands discovered, more than 200 retain carved, engraved and painted decorative motifs, largely symbolic, such as cattle heads, bull horns and spirals. All the domus de Janas, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, exude a magical charm.