Santu Jacu in Sardinia: a Way among nature and country churches
Religious tourism is still a niche market in Italy.
The Way of Santu Jacu or Santiago in Sardinia, however, the emblem of religious tourism on the island, involves a wide target audience, especially trekking lovers.
The Santu Jacu Trail runs from the south to the north of the island in a magical itinerary among country churches.
It passes through archaeological sites, villages and natural parks, linking historical and cultural places of interest.
The stages are many: before we discover them, we provide information on the origin of this fascinating Camino.
The origin of the path of Santu Jacu
The establishment of the Santu Jacu Trail is recent.
It dates back to late 2009, when a group that had undertaken the Ways of Spain, starting with Sardinian municipalities whose patron saint is St. James, created an itinerary based on the agreement between municipalities to enhance the heritage of the area.
The public presentation of the Way of Santu Jacu or Santiago in Sardinia took place in Mandas the following year at a festival dedicated to D.H. Lawrence.
Soon after, the amateur association marked the first directions of the Way using symbols related to St. James: yellow arrows and shells.
We are at the official presentation in 2012, in Galtellì, during the Cultural and Religious Tourism Forum.
There, the Region of Sardinia declared the Way to be of regional significance and included it among the island's tourist itineraries.
Trekking among churches, nature parks, seas and mountains
The Santu Jacu Trail is about 1,600 km long and consists of 4 main routes:
THE CAGLIARI-PORTO TORRES AXIS
THE BOLOTANA - ORISTANO AXIS
THE OZIERI OLBIA AXIS
THE CAGLIARI SULCIS AXIS, which reaches as far as the islands of Sant'Antioco and San Pietro
To these are also being added the OLBIA - PORT TORRES ASSOCIATION. and the variant CAMPIDANESE - SERRENTI.
As you travel the streets of Santu jacu you have the opportunity to visit most of the churches dedicated to St. James in Sardinia.
The itinerary also touches on archaeological sites, nature parks, volcanic and mining areas, and the island's most picturesque villages.
Between coasts and mountains, basilicas and nuraghi, you will learn about the uniqueness of Sardinia's historical regions, the variety of traditions that distinguish them, and curiosities related to folklore.
The Satu Jacu Trail routes touch places of regional and national significance.
Just think of the Basilica of Saccargia and the Basilica of Sant'Antioco di Biscarcio in Ozieri.
They also pass through ancient villages such as Aggius e Tempio Pausania, the ancient stone town with its traditions.
The Routes of the Way of St. James
The map of Santu Jacu. Source: Camminiditalia.org
1. CAGLIARI - PORTO TORRES
The Central Axis has 21 stages and includes several variations. The route is easy, except for the two inland stages, which are a bit longer.
It can be undertaken year-round but the best times are Spring and Fall. It passes through natural parks and archaeological sites of national importance.
2. THE WAY OF THE NORTH
The Gallura variant, which runs from Porto Torres a Olbia, consists of 10 stages and is quite challenging especially in the mountainous part.
3. THE HORIZONTAL AXIS
The horizontal axis runs from Olbia to Orosei, from Orosei to Ozieri and from Bolotana to Oristano or Oristano/Bolotana.
The route includes the beautiful coast of Cala Gonone, Oliena, Dorgali, the Tiscali caves and the Lanaitto Valley.
4. SOUTH SARDINIA: SULCIS AND ISLANDS
This route runs from Cagliari to Sant'Antioco to Carloforte for the mountain variant, and from downtown Sant'Antioco to Cagliari for the coastal variant.
N.B.: The Camino di Santu Jacu or Santiago in Sardinia can be undertaken on foot, bicycle or horseback in any direction. The preferred arrival and departure points are Olbia; Porto Torres; Oristano; Cagliari and Sant'Antioco.
MORE INFO on: Walking.eu.