The Nuraghic Sanctuary of Santa Vittori

Societa' Cooperativa l'Acropoli Nuragica .... An outlook on history

The Nuraghic Sanctuary of Santa Vittoria, deep in a highly interesting natural habitat, dominates the surrounding area of the Giara di Serri, from the top, it is possible to catch a glimpse of the variegated landscapes of Sarcidano, Trexenda and Marmilla. The archaelogical complex, situated at about 670 m above sea level, stretches throughout the south-western side of the basaltic plateau. This area has been inhabited since the beginning of the Nuraghic Civilisation in 1500 BC. From the late Bronze Age to the first Iron Age (1100-900/800 BC), this place had turned into one of the most important expressions of the Nuraghic religiousness. In fact the gods of the Nuraghic pantheon, worshipped in the various temples of the sanctuary, acting probably as guarantors for commercial, cultural and ideological exchanges not only among the people of the Island but also from the mainland. The sacredness of the place lasted until the Christian Era, as the construction of the little church which has a probable Byzantine plan and is devoted to Santa Vittoria or Santa Maria della Vittoria, attests. The saint who gives her name to the site is celebrated by masses, pilgrimages and festivals every year on 11th September. In the large archaelogical complex it is possible to observe the evolution of the Nuraghic Civilisation. The passage-like nuragh is attributed to the Middle Bronze Age (1600-1300 BC). In the recent Bronze Age (1300-1100 BC) the 'classical' tholos nuragh was built, which absorbed the pre-existing protonuragh. Between the final Bronze Age and the first Iron Age (1100-900/800 BC) several structures were built:

  • the "Sacred Well" dedicated to the water cult and made of perfectly square blocks;
  • the "Sacred Road" connecting the different cultic buildings;
  • the big "Festivals Enclosure", socio-commercial centre of the sanctuary, with the porches arranged all around, the public kitchen, the nine rooms used as a market, the entertainment hall, the "Founders hut", the "Labrys hut";
  • the "Hypaethral Temple" which preserves two altars equipped with a drainage system for liquids in the middle;
  • the rotunda with the inner ring-like, moulded bench, with an altar base in its middle (the "Circular Enclosure with Bench");
  • the temples in antis (the "Chief's hut" and the "Priest's hut");
  • the large assembly hut (the "Curia"), which was the oligarchs' decision place;
  • the settlements, like the huts with the central courtyard (the "Double Baetylus Hut"), the hut divided into sections with rutunda (the improbable "Torture Enclosure"F).

Events Serri

3ª Domenica di maggio e di settembre
Image 07
Fiera e Festa di Santa Lucia
1º sabato di luglio
Image 08
Rassegna Folk
2ª sabato di Agosto
Image 09
Festa dell'Emigrato

The first archaelogical surveys began in 1907, under the direction of Antonio Taramelli. Since then, very important findings have emerged. They were offerings to the proto-Sardinian gods and used for the rituals officiated in the cultic areas: various stylised nuragh-altar models sculpted in limestone; votive limestone slabs used to contain the bronze statuettes meant for the display; limestone taurine protomes, various bronze fragments of votive weapons, boat-shaped lamp, hairpins, bracelets, rings; double-edged axes that could be compared with the Aegean cults (the "Labrys Hut"); pottery, like askoid jugs, bowls, vessels, etc. A lot of bronze statuettes (ex voto) clearly demostrating the extraordinary skills of the Nuraghic craftsmen in reproducing miniatures, emerged during the excavations: anthropomorphic figures, often interpretated as tribal chiefs, priestesses, seated women keeping male figures in their lap, archers, people making offerings; zoomorphic figures (bulls, rams, pigs, dogs, deers, wild boars, foxes, doves); means of transportation like a two-wheeled carriage, everyday household objects, such as baskets, animal pelts and different kind of vessels. The bronze statuettes above mentioned, often arranged on slabs for the display, could tell stories - difficult to piece together nowadays - referring to the deified ancestors or to the religious and mythological sphere. The various prestigious objects discovered, belonging to the Etruscan, Phoenician and Cypriot world, attest the exchanges that the Nuraghic people of the IX-VII c. BC should have interweaved with the populations outside the Island: a bronze foliated violin-bow fibula, a double silver leaf disc, amber and glazed ceramic beads necklaces, a cylindrical torch-holder base decorated with flower heads, etc. In the site there is evidence of later periods: Punic, Roman and Medieval using the area. Thanks to the sanctuary construction, Serri, the doorway to Barbagie, has represented a crossroad for cultural, ideological and commercial exchanges since the Nuraghic Age. During the Roman times in Sa Cungiadura Manna, in the nearby Serri, the Biora statio was built, which is connected to the inner Island road network leading from Olbia to Cagliari and called: the via ab Ulbia Calaris per mediterranea. In Modern times Serri is still a depository of memories and cultures. It maintains its centuries-old function as a gathering place: Santa Lucia's Festival and Fair boast ancient origins. Nowadays the Nuraghic Sanctuary of Santa Vittoria, attracts scholars, researchers, Archaeology enthusiasts and young people from all over the world who want to be immersed in the centuries-old ruins of the Nuraghic Civilization.