Domus Villa

What to see in Tempio Pausania, the “City of Stone”

You have heard of Tempio Pausania and want to know if it is worth venturing out to explore this destination? Monica, from the Domus 81 staff, went on a discovery trip to tell us in detail how to get to Tempio Pausania, what to see and why it is also called “the city of stone”.

Visit to Tempio Pausania

It is Sunday and the sun is out, after long days of rain.

I want to visit Tempio Pausania, a small town on the hills, 700 metres above sea level. A nice drive awaits me along with my four-legged companion.

The road to Tempio is a succession of green hills and olive trees; sometimes you see flocks of sheep standing out like pearls against the lush meadows.

Admiring the view, time passes very quickly, and so we arrive at our destination.

It is early in the morning and the village is still shrouded in night sleep, in the fresh air coming in from the nearby mountains.

Luckily, however, the cafés are open and I enjoy a nice coffee in a typical local café. Now I am ready to discover all the secrets of Tempio Pausania!

An interesting story

It is a small town, but I have a long list of things to see.

I will tell you an interesting trivia as I walk through the old city streets:

In antiquity it was only called Tempio, even today it is often referred to as such, and in documents, according to the ancient language, it was referred to as ‘Templo’. In 1879, however, the second word was added to the name, in reference to the ancient seat of the diocese Phausania.

Tempio Pausania is known as “the city of stone” because it is built entirely of this material.

The pavement, the narrow streets, the old buildings and even all the newer dwellings: everything is made of granite.

But in spite of the construction material, the town does not look cold at all. Rich in parks and springs, it is an oasis of peace where you can breathe in plenty of uncontaminated air at the top of your lungs.

The colours of the stone are contrasted by the blue of the sky and the lush green of the trees that adorn the city, giving it a sense of life and harmony.

What to see in Tempio Pausania

The appearance of the town makes it clear at first glance what the specialities of the place are: granite processing, in which the town is an open-air museum, and cork production.

In fact, our itinerary cannot miss a visit to the interesting Cork Machine Museum.

The working of this material is so important and ancient that in Tempio Pausania there is even a small atelier that makes clothes with a special cork fibre, patented by the skilled artisan Anna Grindi.

In Piazza Gallura, one can admire the beautiful 18th century palace of the Marquises Pes di Villamarina, which currently houses the Curia and the Templense Museum.

The museum exhibits works of art of enormous importance, including the statue of St Sebastian by Pierre Puget, a sculptor at the court of the Sun King.

But the highlight of the treasure trove is perhaps the valuable antique book collection that preserves incredible typographical rarities.

Right next to the museum is the worship complex of the Cathedral of St Peter Apostle, which dates back to the early 13th century. Today we can admire it in its enlarged and renovated version.

Opposite its monumental façade is the Oratory of the Rosary, also built in the Middle Ages. It is said to have been built to replace the pagan temple of Castor and Pollux, protectors of the Roman militia stationed in Milizzana. 

In the centre of the ensemble, one is fascinated by the architecture of the ‘Spanish-style’ Church of Our Lady of Pilar

But there are many other buildings throughout the town that take one’s breath away with their history and ancient architecture that are well worth a visit.

A cold wind has risen, I walk along these stone paths that tell an ancient story. You can breathe in the air of tradition, culture and a collective recognition of all this beauty.

On the way home, a stop at the Basilica of Saccargia is a must, but I will tell you about that next month. See you soon!

How to reach Tempio Pausania

Tempio Pausania is located in Gallura, right at the foot of Mount Limbara, and is one of the major landmarks of northern Sardinia.

It can be easily reached by car, train or bus.

If you want to reach it by car, as Monica did, Tempio Pausania is connected by state roads with Sassari (SS 672), Olbia (SS127) and Palau (SS133). 

By train, there is the characteristic ‘Trenino Verde’ tourist line connecting Sassari-Tempio-Palau.

From the various main Sardinian localities there are also several lines that make it possible to reach Tempio Pausania comfortably by bus.

Stay at Domus 81 and discover the beauty of northern Sardinia

The perfect holiday is one that allows you to discover all the most magical places in Sardinia and to reach the most beautiful beaches in no time at all, while staying in a place that guarantees you all the privacy and relaxation you need.

Domus 81 villa sardinia
Surrounded by greenery, just a few minutes from the historic centres of Sassari and Alghero, it is surrounded by facilities for sporting activities and routes for walking, cycling or trekking. Consisting of two units with independent entrances, it can accommodate up to 12 people.

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