Nuoro, in the heart of Sardinia, is a great place to discover the island’s culture and traditions. A far cry from the popular seaside resorts, Nuoro offers the visitor a look at the real Sardinia and is a gateway to the traditional Barbagia mountain villages where you can still get a glimpse at life as it was in the past. Nuoro was a finalist for the Italian Capital of Culture 2020.
Nuoro Top Sights
Top sights within the city are mainly museums (usually closed on Mondays). San Pietro Quarter in the historic center still retains some of the original architecture and is a good area to walk through. Corso Garibaldi is a lively pedestrian street lined with shops and cafes including the historic Caffe Tettamanzi 1875.
- The Sardinian Ethnographic Museum, formerly called the Costume Museum, is a fascinating museum and the best place to learn about Sardinian life. Exhibits cover many aspects of traditional life including shepherding, fishing, farming, bread-making, basket-making, crafts, festivals, and costumes. Each Sardinian village has it’s own traditional costume and many of them are on display in the museum. Another museum highlight is the fascinating display of many special breads made for festivals and celebrations.
- The Grazia Deledda Museum is in the childhood home of Grazia Deledda who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1926. It’s furnished much as it would have been when her family lived there, including the kitchen and storeroom stocked with food, so it’s easy to envision late 19th to early 20th century life in Nuoro. Recommended books by Grazia Deledda: Reeds in the Wind and Cosima.
- MAN Art Museum exhibits 20th century exhibits works by Sardinian artists from the late 19th century through the current century. Approximately 600 works are displayed on a rotating basis by theme and include paintings, drawings, and ceramics.
- The National Archeological Museum (closed for remodeling until fall 2019) houses finds from sites in Nuoro province from the paleolithic and neolithic eras through 15th century medieval artifacts. There’s also a palaeontology section.
- Cattedrale Santa Maria delle Neve, built in the 19th century in Neoclassical style, sits above a large piazza and holds several important art works.
Plan Your Visit to Nuoro
Where to Stay:
We stayed at Residence Grandi Magazzini, nice apartments with easy street parking just outside the center.
In the historic center, Bed and Breakfast Silvia e Paolo has a rooftop terrace and internal courtyard.
Where to Eat
Trattoria La Locanda, Via Angelo Brofferio 35 off Corso Garibaldi, is a small, friendly place with good inexpensive food.
Ristorante il Portico, Via Monsignor Giovanni Bua13 near the cathedral, is a little more upscale.
Nuoro has bus service connecting it to nearby smaller towns as well as the cities of Olbia, Sassari, and Cagliari. Trains run between Nuoro and Macomer. A car is recommended for exploring the Barbagia Mountians. The closest airport is Olbia, about 100 kilometers away, and the closest ferry ports are Olbia and Golfo Aranci.
- See Sardinia Map and Guide for Nuoro’s location.
Places to Go Near Nuoro
Su Gologone, a short drive from Nuoro, is one of my favorite restaurants. Here you can not only try all the typical foods but the hotel and restaurant are beautifully decorated with Sardinian crafts and traditional decor. Near it is the Sorgente su Gologone with walking paths.
One of the best archaeological sites is the Nuragic Village of Serra Orrios, about half an hour drive from Nuoro.
Around Nuoro are traditional villages of the Barbagia Mountains, some with murals decorating their buildings. Top villages to visit:
Orgosolo, known for its political and cultural murals, is the village most visited by tourists. It has several restaurants where you can try local specialties.
Fonni, the highest village on the island, is another mural town. It’s also in the the nature reserve of Gennargentu, a good place for hiking and even skiing in winter.
Mammoiada is known for its wooden masks and its unusual carnival costumes and masks. Visit the Mammoiada mask museum for a good introduction, then walk around town to find artisan mask-makers.
Oliena is known for its wood carvers who produce wooden chests and the area around it produces good Cannonau wine.
- Find out more about these and othe villages and things to do in the Barbagia Mountains with this Barbagia Map and Guide.
- A great time to visit the villages is during Autunno in Barbagia – each weekend during autumn one or two of the villages open their artist studios and sites and host special events. See our Autunno in Barbagia photos or read more about Autunno in Barbagia.
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