The deep south of Sardinia is a place of many naturalistic and historical treasures. In the area of Iglesias, in the south-western side of the island, you can find many wonders such as Pan di Zucchero, Masua, Porto Flavia and, of course, Laveria Lamarmora.
This old washery is part of the minerary village of Nebida, founded at the end of the 19th century in order to provide accommodation to those people who worked in the mines.
Laveria Lamarmora is situated on the coast of Masua, and it offers a breathtaking view of the sea, as well as the beautiful cliffs that characterize the area.
You will pass by it on your way to Masua Pan di Zucchero and Porto Flavia – however, the Laveria itself is worth visiting, being the landmark of a long-gone period, when mining work in Sardinia was an important part of the local economy and of people’s life.
So, if you like visiting abandoned places, hiking, and nature, then visiting Laveria Lamarmora is a unique opportunity to have all of these things. Meanwhile, you will enjoy the sea breeze, the sun and a stunning landscape.
Curious to find out more? Continue reading, and I will tell you everything you need to know about this unique place.
Table of Contents
The mine of Nebida is one of the finest examples of industrial architecture in Sardinia. It forms part of the Geo-Mining Park of Sardinia, which since 2007 is a member of a member of the GEOPARKS European and global network and since 2015 is a UNESCO Global Geopark.
The mine was built in 1897 and it was a fundamental part of the work done in the mine. As already mentioned, Laveria Lamarmora was a washery. This means that the raw minerals that were extracted in the mine, mostly lead and zinc, were processed in order to be converted to metal in the foundries. This work was done mostly by women.
Laveria Lamarmora was one of the best washeries in Sardinia, considering the amount of minerals which were processed there, and the technology involved.
The structure was built on four levels, each one characterized by a series of arches that make the building resemble a more ancient type of architecture, or even a sacred building.
It was built with bricks, stones and wood, and on the bottom part, the one closer to the sea, there was a small harbor for the ships to dock and then bring the minerals to the Italian peninsula and to the rest of Europe.
The mine was of utmost importance for Sardinian economy, until the first half of the 20th century, when its decline began. It was shut down in the 1970s, and consequently the village of Nebida, which until then had 3000 inhabitants, began to depopulate.
How to visit Laveria Lamarmora
To see Laveria Lamarora, you can follow a hiking trail that starts in Nebida and that will lead you to approximately 300 stairs. The trail you need to follow is a loop trail starting at the parking lot in the Giardino Belvedere of Nebida. The trail is actually well marked and easy to follow.
If you follow the trail, you can see the different rooms in which the work of the mine was done, and admire the Laveria Lamarmora from what used to be its interiors. You will also stop at Belvedere Daniele Pani from where you can admire incredible views of the coast.
OVERALL WALKING DISTANCE – The entire loop is just 2.5 km (1.5 miles).
DIFFICULTY – It can be classified as an easy hike because it’s really short, except there are 300 steps to go down (and climb back up) which can be a bit tricky.
HIKE DURATION – The entire visit normally takes about one hour, which includes walking down, exploring the site, stopping for the views. Of course you can take more time if you wish!
I know that climbing 300 stairs could seem exhausting, but the view you will see from above, as well as the entire experience, are definitely worth the climb. Just remember that you need to wear good walking and possibly hiking shoes for this – sandals and flip-flops are a no-no in this case as you will be walking down stairs a lot!
Of course, if you go there during summer, it is better not to hike during the hottest hours, and bring fresh water and sunscreen. However, if you don’t feel like hiking and you enjoy activities such as kayaking, you can also see the entire structure from the sea. This offers a completely different scenario, because you can see Laveria Lamarmora in its entirety from below.
Both experiences are unique and worth trying, it’s up to you which one is the one right for you.
Guided Tours of Laveria Lamarmora
While you can certainly visit the mine independently and for free (it is open 24 / 7) it may be worth considering joining a guided tour to fully appreciate its history, development, architecture and works.
Nebida is a former mining village, founded by the people who worked in the mine. It is about 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) from Cagliari, and it is located in one of the most ancient coasts in the Mediterranean Sea.
During the first decade of the 20th century, Nebida had about 3,000 inhabitants, but after the mine was dismissed, the village began to depopulate. Nowadays, approximately 1,000 people live in the village, which has become a charming tourist destination.
It is very fascinating to walk around the area, not only for the beautiful landscape, but also because you can still clearly see how the mine influenced life there. This is visible through the several tunnels, worksites, and the equipment used by the workers.
In Nebida you can walk the picturesque panoramic road, that offers a unique view of the coast, with its ancient cliffs, its limpid waters and its five characteristic rocks. Among those, you can admire the famous Pan di Zucchero, which is the highest stack in Europe, being 113 meters tall (that’s more than 370 feet).
In the area of Nebida, there are several hiking trails you can follow if you enjoy walking in the midst of nature. For instance, the “5 cliffs itinerary” – Sentiero dei 5 Faraglioni in Italian – starts from Funtanamare Beach and arrives in Masua, passing through Laveria Lamarmora.
If hiking is not your cup of tea, there are also many kayak itineraries that you can do, in which you can enjoy the natural beauties that the area offers, but also some unique human creations, like Porto Flavia and, again, Laveria Lamarmora.
How To Get To Laveria Lamarmora, Nebida
Laveria Lamarmora is located in Nebida. The closest town to Nebida and Laveria Lamarmora is Iglesias. It is 14.5 kilometers (9 miles), which is more or less 20 minutes if traveling by car.
Cagliari is the nearest city large city and closest airport town to Nebida, and in fact you can visit on day trips from Cagliari. The city is around 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) from Nebida, which means that it will take you more or less one hour to get there.
When you exit the city, you have to take E25, until you reach SS126. Then, you need to turn right and enter SP83 to Nebida sector A. Look for Giardino Belvedere di Nebida and the nearby Parcheggio Piazza Belvedere as that’s where you can park your car for free. Alternatively, you can park in one of the streets around it.
Other easy point of access would be Pula (1 hour and 15 minutes drive) or Chia, from where it will take you roughly 1.5 hours. In both cases, it’s actually easier to drive back to Cagliari and follow directions from there as the road would otherwise be incredibly windy and you wouldn’t save much time.
I don’t recommend visiting Laveria Lamarmora from either Alghero or Olbia as they are actually quite far.
On a guided tour
This is the best way of visiting Laveria Lamarmora if you don’t have a car or would rather not drive. There are daily tours departing from Cagliari that include hotel pick up and drop off.
I recommend this guided tour to Laveria Lamarmora that also goes to Porto Flavia Mines and departs from Cagliari. You will have an expert tour guide showing you around, and tickets to attractions are already included in the price.
By public transport
Let me start by saying that I don’t really recommend getting to Nebida and the Laveria Lamarmora by bus – it’s a long journey for a day trip from Cagliari. Anyhow, if you are keen on doing that, here’s how to do it:
First, take a train from Cagliari main station (the one located in Piazza Matteotti) to Iglesias.
Once there, hop on bus 808 to Masua – you will have to get off at Nebida Scuole Elementari.
There are 8 daily buses departing from Iglesias, with the first one leaving at around 7:20 am and departures roughly every two to three hours.
Plan to leave nice and early from Cagliari so you can take the second or third bus to Nebida. If all goes smoothly and you don’t miss any connection, you can be there in around 1 hour and 45 minutes.
In conclusion, if you decide to travel to the southern part of Sardinia, know that there is a unique piece of architecture and history that is definitely worth visiting. Whether you decide to see it from land or sea, it is a one-of-a-kind experience that you wouldn’t want to miss.