Between the Sea and the Pond, the towns of the wetlands of the area of Oristano treasure ancient knowledge.  Culture, history and nature make these towns authentic and special places, not only for their inhabitants.

Explore the 11Municipalities of the Wetlands of the Area of Oristano!


The municipalities of the Waterlands 

Edificio della Bonifica città d'arborea zone umide in sardegna terre d'acqua maristanis

The town of the Reclamation

The town was founded in 1928 under the name Mussolinia di Sardegna after reclamation works. It took the name of Arborea in 1944 and it is today one of the most productive pastoral-agricultural hubs on the island.

Many of the buildings are in Art Nouveau style such as the town hall and Villa Dolcetta, the dwelling of the first chairman of the Società Bonifiche Sarda (Reclamation Sardinian Society). The MUBA Museum (the Museum of Reclamation) is dedicated to the past of Arborea from the Nuragic period to the establishment of the town. Regarding nature, the sandy expanse of?Marina di Arborea?is surrounded by a splendid and extensive pine forest and the pond of S’Ena Arrubia is a RAMSAR site.


Between the Pond and the Mines

Arbus is a unique and contemplative place with its beautiful and appreciated seaside resorts such as Torre dei Corsari, Marina di Arbus and Funtanazza and the high dunes of the beaches of Piscinas and Scivu. But, it is also a testament to the hard and exhausting work of mining in the abandoned mines of Montevecchio and Ingurtosu. The town, in the southwest of Sardinia, includes the ponds of Marceddì and San Giovanni.

Vista dalla Costa Verde Arbus Maristanis Terre d'Acqua
Cittadina di Cabras zone umide in sardefna Maristanis Foto Egidio Trainito

The pulsating Heart of the Sinis

Cabras overlooks the pond of the same name that plays a central role in the social and economic context of the town. Its 30 kilometres of coastline houses the Marine Protected Area of the Sinis Peninsula and the waters of the pond are perfect for mullet fishing from which they get the tasty bottarga. The Civic Archaeological Museum “Giovanni Marongiu” preserves important archaeological discoveries such as the Giants of Mont’e Prama and finds of the ancient town of Tharros.


The Biggest Mining Centre in Europe

Guspini is a town in the south of Sardinia and one of the most important mining centres in Europe (zinc and lead extraction). It shares the pond of San Giovanni with the nearby town of Terralba and the lagoon area houses endangered species such as glossy ibises, pink flamingos, common terns, little terns and Eurasian spoonbills. The old town is a testament to its medieval origins and within the town, you can admire the columnar basalt of Guspini, a geological spectacle that is three million years old.

Miniera di Montevecchio-Guspini-foto-di-Alessandro-su-Flickr-CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0-

The Town of Raw Earth Bricks

The territory of Nurachi is between the Sinis Peninsula and the pond of Cabras. Inhabited since the Neolithic Age, Nurachi is an agricultural town with deep-rooted traditions and an important archaeological heritage. Among them, are the production of the typical raw earth bricks called ladìri and the Neolithic settlements of?Mare e Pauli,?Pauli ‘e Fenu,?Cuccuru e Mari?and?Gribaia. In addition, Nurachi produces the valued white wine Vernaccia.


The Capital of an Ancient Kingdom

Oristano is a town rich in history. It was founded in 1070 by the inhabitants of the town of Tharros who escaped from Saracen raids. Its first name was Maristanis due to its location between the sea and the pond, then the name became Aristanis and finally Oristano. The ruins of the 13th-century defensive wall are still visible and they are a testament to the Sardinian Judicate of the Middle Ages. Oristano is famous for the equestrian joust of?Sa Sartiglia held during the Carnival period.

Piazza Eleonora D'Arborea ad Oristano Foto di Giulia Eremita
Palmas Arborea Terre D'Acqua Maristanis Zone Umide in Sardegna Foto dal sito del Comune di Palmas Arborea.
Palmas Arborea

The Town of the Palm Groves

Palmas Arborea is located at the foot of the volcanic massif of Monte Arci and its name comes from the large number of palm groves surrounding it. Palmas Arborea borders the pond of Pauli Maiori where there are several species of fauna and flora such as the purple heron, the sultana bird and wild orchids. Many of the houses are made of raw earth bricks.

Riola Sardo

The Town and the River

The name of Riola Sardo comes from the river Rio Mare Foghe which crosses the village and flows into the pond of Cabras, and its territory includes the majestic cliffs of Roia de Su Càntaru. Riola Sardo is a small agricultural centre that produces fruit, vegetables and fine wines, especially Vernaccia. The small town is also known for its organic lavender fields and the Feast of Sant’Anna.

San Vero Milis

The Ancient Technique of Weaving

San Vero Milis is the heart of manufacturing techniques unchanged over time, such as the technique of weaving. It is located near the sea and the temporary pond of Sale ‘e Porcus where you can see different migrating birds, such as the common crane. San Vero Milis is surrounded by valuable landscapes like the beach of Is Arenas with its fine sand and the high cliffs of Capo Mannu popular with surfers.

Santa Giusta

The Most Important Medieval Church in Sardinia

The bond between Santa Giusta and its pond is essential. Every year, the traditional fishermen’s boats made of cattail and called is fassonis are protagonists of a regatta in August. Regarding the monuments, the Basilica of Santa Giusta is one of the main Romanesque churches in Sardinia.

Chiesa romanica di Santa Giusta Foto su Panoramio
Torre di Marceddì Terralba Foto di Andrea Liverani

The Small Fishing Village and The Tower of Marceddì

Terralba is one of the most densely populated towns of the Terre d’Acqua. The wetland of Marceddì is rich in picturesque glimpses like the Spanish tower called Torre Vecchia and the small fishing village. You can also visit the Orchid Garden between March and June.

The Terre D’Acqua municipalities are the reference centres for the ponds and lagoons of the area and share with Maristanis projects and activities to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the coastal wetlands of the area of Oristano. In 2021, they stipulated a Contract that includes, among the goals, the integrated management of the wetlands. 

The Towns of the Waterlands (Terre d'acqua)

Basilica di Santa Giusta Itinerario di Santa Giusta Maristanis
Torre di Marceddì Terralba Foto di Andrea Liverani
Vista dalla Costa Verde Arbus Maristanis Terre d'Acqua

Image Credits

Pic Arbus “Idyllic Coastline” Arbus Sardegna Pic  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by  Christopher Grote
Pic  Cabras © Egidio Trainito
Pic  Guspini Miniera di Montevecchio by Alessandro on Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)
Pic  Nurachi, Comune di Nurachi
Pic  Palmas Arborea from Comune di Arborea
Pic  Terralba Torre di Marceddì © Andrea Liverani