Useful Information

Location: Near Oliena and Dorgali. Access nearly impossible without a four wheel drive.
SS 125 Main Road (Orientale Sarda) to Dorgali, then towards Oliena. 5.8 km from Oliena turn left to the springs at Su Gologone. Just before the spring turn right on dirt road behind the hotel, follow road for 8 km. From the end of the road folow the mule trail marked with red arrows.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave SubterraneaCave House.
Light: not necessary
Guided tours: D=6 h.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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4th century BC inhabited by the Nuraghi.


The island of Sardinia was inabited during the Bronze Age by mysterious people, the Nuraghi. They lived between 1,500 and 300 B.C. and then vanished, leaving strange and mysterious remains, especially their megalithic towers, called nuraghe. This characteristic buildings gave the people their name, as their original name is lost. Unfortunately we know only very little about them.

There are numerous archaeological sites on the island, especially there are four important Nuraghic towns, Serra Orrios, Romanzesu, Santa Vittoria, and Tiscali. The cities are complex arrangements of circular huts, only Romanzesu and Santa Vittoria do have Nuraghe towers. The sites are excavated and now open to the public. Because of their age, do not expect to see much more than some base walls. But some of the meghalitic buildings have remained in an extremely good shape. The excavated findings and a lot of background information can be found at the Archaeological Museum of Dorgali.

Tiscali is only one of the cities, but there are a few things which makes it special. Many people know this name as a huge telecomunication company of Italy and Europe, based in Sardinia, was named after it. Only few of the people phoning and surfing with Tiscali know the origin of the name.

But there is also another specialty of this city: it is a cave city, as the whole city is located inside a huge natural cavern. And this is the reason why it is listed on showcaves.com. The cave is what speleologists call a cave ruin or, more accurate, a cave in a very late stage of its development. The cave once formed far below the surface, has developed and became bigger. But also the covering limestone was eroded and so the ceiling became thinner. Finally the roof collapsed at several places and what remained looks like a huge dome with big windows, forming a natural shelter. The floor of the cavern is very steep as it is completely covered by the debris of a collapse from one side. But as the cave is open and thus subject to weathering a lot of debris is produced by spalling walls and ceiling.

Tiscali is either a magical place or a refuge, but anyway it is really special. It was inhabited very late, right before the Nurghe vanished, during the 4th century BC. Some archeologists speculate, that it was built insde the cave to be a refuge from the Roman invasion. The walled huts are clustered near the limestone walls. There are two sections, one at the north wall near the entrance and one at the south west. The northern quarter consists of about 40 huts, the other of 20 huts.

This place was never intensively excavated, so it is rather difficult to tell when it was inhabited. But a continuous or at least longer use of the cave for living seem unlikely. Despite its pros, this places has several cons too: there is no spring which would supply water, and it is not possible to do farming so high in the mountains.

A visit to tiscaly is only possible on full day guided tours by Coop. Ghivine, the caretaker. This trips include some ride on 4WDs and some walking. Appropriate clothes and shoes and a little physical fitness are a must.