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Among the upland plains and hills in the fertile Marmilla plain, marked by the Rio Mannu (torrent) most impressive is the upland plain called Giara of Gesturi.

It is the wider one of the area, with an extension of about  45 Km square, raising up from the surrounding plain in a sort of natural monolitic fortress for about 500 mt. height.

It is constituted by basaltic rock with volcanic origins and covered by all the typical species of the Mediterranean flora (cork oaks, wild pear, bushes, myrtle, cistus,……, ) including the popular Eucaliptus trees.

What makes this upland plain most popular is the presence of its famous wild horses, which are much smaller than the others.  The origin of these little horses is uncertain, they were probably imported by the far East, what is sure is that they live on the upland from time immemorial.

And the little wild horses were already there when the place was garrisoned by the most ancient Sardinian population the Protosardus, as shown by some archaeological sites, even though less important than the ones in the surroundings.

The Giara is a most attractive and even more interesting for the vast nuragic complex at its feet “Su Nuraxi” of Barumini.  UNESCO has recently included this site in its heritage.  Nearby there is the Sardegna in miniatura, a miniature of the whole island, between Barumini and Tuili. 

On the Giara, the flat landscape is interrupted here and there by little hills or peaks like sa zeppara manna and some winter ponds (they dry out in summer) such as the lago Mjori that attract the little horses. 

The Giara is also rich of wild fauna, being a hunting preserve, such as bores, hares, ducks, woodcocks, thrushes, blackbirds, pigeons, woodpeckers, jays, and more.   Also the crop is good, particularly mushrooms and cork.  The highland is used to breed cattle but more so pigs, sheep and horses in the wild for most of the year, which gives particular flavour to the meats.   You can now reach the Giara easily in any time of the year from any of the villages that surround it at its feet:

Gesturi, Tuili, Setzu, Genuri, Sini, Gonnosnò, Albagiara, Assolo and Genoni.    There are also some nice pause areas, particularly on the way from Gonnosnò, Barumini and Tuili.

Running horse near a "pauli"

During winter in the are called “Padenti”, on the road that goes from Assolo to Usellus, near Albagiara, you may admire the little natural cascade called “Sa Spendula” that gathers most of the rain waters of that part of the Giara. 

Towards South, near Gesturi, even though less important, there is the natural prosecution of the Giara, the Giara di Serri and towards West there is the Giara di Siddi.

Typical cork trees on the

(translated by Rossana Ornano)

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