Lollove is a tiny village near Nuoro (just 15 km or little over 9 miles), its only hamlet, and one of the most special places to visit in Sardinia. It only counts about 12 permanent residents (I told you it’s tiny!) and has been put on the “Most Beautiful Italian Villages” lists; the houses and its vibe are those of a medieval village stuck in time.
The village, which is risking becoming a ghost town, is under several projects to protect and publicize its beauty.
It’s part of the Autunno in Barbagia festival, and it’s becoming a place for the so-called slow tourism, since no wifi or phone signal can reach there: it really is the ideal village to relax, away from everything.
A Short History Of Lollove, Sardinia
There are no clear signs of when Lollove was first founded, but we know for sure that it was a relatively important village during the Middle Ages.
Its proximity to important water sources suggests that the area was inhabited since Nuragic times and probably considered sacred – water was one of the most sacred things for those prehistoric tribes – and the nearby rivers continued, throughout the centuries, to be of great importance for this place, so close to Nuoro but at the same time independent from it.
In the past, Lollove must have been significantly larger than it is now. While in 1615 only 25 people lived there, it is said that in the early 19th century population grew to 180 and there were 25 land owners and 20 shepherd that had a large number of cows, sheep and goats.
In 1950 Lollove counted more than 400 inhabitants, but today the population counts only 12 residents.
The depopulation of Lollove started recently, in the 1950s. That’s when most families left in search of an occupation other than farming, or for a more comfortable life in bigger towns in Sardinia.
There is also a bizarre legend about Lollove, and about why, despite its constant decline, it still hasn’t gone completely desert.
The old folks still living in the village say that there is a curse thrown upon it: apparently, some nuns who lived there were accused to have hidden relationships with the locals and were forced to leave Lollove.
Offended by the accusations, they wished that Lollove would eternally be “As the water in the sea, never growing bigger but never disappearing either”. And that’s exactly what happened to the village’s population: it never grew much but also never went down to zero.
Regardless, Lollove thrived, to the point of being mentioned in literature too – for example, Grazia Deledda (Sardinian Nobel Prize winner) used Lollove as the setting of her novel “The Mother”, the story of the affair between a priest and a local woman.
Lollove started becoming a more popular place to visit among Sardinians (and among the tourists who enjoy getting off the beaten path) when a local decided to offer room and board to visitors, who can now spend the night at “Locanda Lollovers” where they can also try traditional food and participate in cooking classes.
What To See And Do In Lollove, Sardinia
Have a walk in the village
Lollove is one of the last medieval villages in Sardinia, and quite a beautiful one! It can be explored in total freedom and in a few hours, and several picture-worthy spots could make their way into your social media.
You will be enchanted by the narrow streets and the houses built in the ancient Sardinian style – with simple mud and straw keeping them together. You can even try and chat with a local or two if they aren’t too busy tending to their chores!
Visit Lollove’s Casa Museo
Casa Museo is a small museum that has been built to reenact and reconstruct how traditional homes in Lollove looked, and how its inhabitants lived, in ancient times. It’s free to visit and you may also be lucky to find the owner ready to tell you more about the history of the village and to show you around the area.
Visit Santa Maria Maddalena Church
Despite Lollove being small, they still celebrate Mass every Sunday, thanks to a priest who comes from Nuoro every week. The local church was built in the 16th century and has typical Gothic features, mixed with more Sardinian aspects, and is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, whose festival is celebrated on July 22nd – try and visit during this time!
Have an excursion in the area
Lollove is surrounded by forests, and there are many hiking trails in the area. You can definitely follow them independently – they are well marked and there are several signs. But try to go on a guided tour if you can.
An expert will show you around, explain everything there is to know about the old trees surrounding the village, the rocks, the animals hiding from your sight, the historic buildings found throughout the forest and so on. Bring your camera and wear comfortable clothes – you won’t regret it.
If you do decide to go alone, beware of shepherd dogs managing and guarding herds of sheep in the area. They can be quite intimidating and persistent barking at you and following you around.
How To Get To Lollove
Lollove is very close to Nuoro and Orune: only a twenty minutes drive, about 21 kilometers (13 miles). This means you can plan a trip there and go back to the main city on the same day.
The best way to get there is independently by car, because the public transportation service is almost non-existent, especially in the rural areas. To get to Lollove, you just have to follow State Road SS 131 and the road signs pointing to the village. Road conditions get bad almost immediately after you turn to go to Lollove, so drive slowly.
In case you don’t have a car, two buses serve the Lollove – Nuoro route: 6:50 am and 3:00 pm from Nuoro, 7:20 am and 3:30 pm from Lollove.
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