The name Strisaili appeared in a tax register in Pisa as far back as 1316, while Biddanoa de Strisaili appears in a document dated 1504, when Ferdinando d’Aragona turned the towns the Carroz family had been given as fiefdoms into allodio and made them his own. The history of Villanova Strisaili then darkens, perhaps because of the raids and looting that caused part of its inhabitants to move to a new settlement further east, where in 1579 Villa Manna de Strisaili makes it into the records. In 1813 the two villages officially became one and today the town is a suburb of the larger Villagrande Strisaili. It is with this city that, in 2014, it entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the place with the highest percentage of males over the age of 100. It also belongs to the Blue Zone of Ogliastra, one of five regions in the world that have the highest concentrations of people who have eclipsed the century milestone.
Villanova sits on a plateau on the southern slopes of Gennargentu. The air here is pure and the landscape verdant, surrounded by monumental downy oaks together with luxuriant junipers and holm oaks. Around the village you will find a myriad of must-see attractions, including the Bau Mela natural pools, the Pirincanes gorge and the Rio 'e Forru waterfalls. The town is just a few minutes from the lake of the upper Flumendosa, a regular destination for hikers and mountain bikers, and for the canoeists who ply the waters in search of the most beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. There is a wide variety of archaeological sites too: to the north you’ll find the Nuragic sanctuary of s'Arcu 'e is Forros, where, next to a megaron temple, there is a tri-lobed nuraghe and huts. Then there is the area of sa Carcaredda, with four Giants’ tombs near a rare temple in antis and a village, and, finally, the Troculu complex with two nuraghes, a village and, more importantly, a well-preserved Giants’ tomb.
Traditions here have not changed for centuries. On the third Sunday of June, they celebrate San Basilio Magno and the town fills with thousands of Sardinians pilgrims. Villanova Strisaili is also one of the stops along the Cammino di San Giorgio vescovo, a pilgrimage route that is still in the making to retrace the medieval evangelization journey of the legendary bishop of Barbaria who lived between the 11th and 12th centuries.