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Arcosu (948 m.) is in the north-east part of Sulcis. It
was a boundless private preserve, more than 3000 hectares and
including, more than the mountain, a tangle of valleys that encircled
it in the south and in the east; it is characterized by the presence
of the cliffs, rocks, brooks, glades, tangled basin and the Sardinian
When, in 1984, the preserved were abolished the owners decided
to sell the whole area: it was risked, in that occasion, to
lose one of the bigger jewellers of Sardinia.
Fortunately, the WWF undertake immediately an exciting campaign
After numerous meeting, discussions, vicissitudes of enthusiasm
and uncertainty, but above all, thanks to a big ability to hazard/of
risk, the WWF arrives to a unique fund-raising that allowed
to buy the Monte Arcosu area.
In 1985 the oasis became a WWF property and in 1987 it was declared
wildlife reserve. Up to today it represents the sole accomplished
example of park in Sardinia.
In 1995 were bought also the 600 hectares of Monte Lattias
(1086 m.), opposite (to) Monte Arcosu, with the proceeds of
Today Monte Arcosu is one of the most prestigious and symbolic
wildlife reserves of WWF.
The entire complex has been declared “Oasis
for the protection of the Wildlife of Sardinia”. It is subjected
to landscape and ideological bond and marked as a protection zone
by the CEE directive of the constituting Sulcis Regional Park.
whole complex is constituted by the massifs of Monte Arcosu and
Monte Lattias, by the valleys of Guttureddu
and Sa Canna and by
a little part of the Gutturu Mannu Valley.
In general, the landscape appears rough and uneven; here granite
and metamorphic formations standout and produce typical morphologies
and geologic structures, often unique. Narrow valleys (some of
them are also sunken), rocky faces and crests as those of Monte
Lattias, of Su Scaloni and Sa Perrima follow one another.
The ideographic grid is very developed but the regime and the
flow of all the rivers is torrential; the main rivers rise on
Monte Lattias and Monte Arcosu: here we remember the Guttureddu
and its main affluent, the rivulet Sa Canna.
With regard to springs, the most striking is without doubt that
of Su Suergiu. The water gushes out from a wonderful trunk
of Juniper ably carved. The springs of Su Tragu and Sa Canna
very important too. The vegetation of the reserve is typically
Mediterranean; In fact, here dominated the woods of holm-oak,
cork-oak and bushes, in particular of heather and strawberry
tree; also ancient specimen of juniper and carob stand out.
The undergrowth is the ideal habitat for numerous species
of mushrooms (some of them are very rare and exclusive) and
(until now have been determined 219 species). It is possible
to admire the viburnum, ferns (as Irish spleenwort, southern
and maidenhair spleenwort) and wonderful flowering of cyclamens.
In the glades and in the edges of the woods it is often possible
to run into common foxglove and species used in pharmacy as
the cat thyme.
Near the torrents, dominate the scrub of oleander, the brush
of purple willow and the wood of alder.
As regards the observable faunal area, the specimen more
present in the reserve is, without doubt, the Sardinian
a large presence of wild
pigs, as well as some specimen
deer, fox and weasel. In the clearings it is possible
into Sardinian partridge and wild
rabbit. It is more difficult
retiring nocturnal animals such as the Sardinian wild cat,
the marten or the garden dormous. It is remarkable the presence
of bird of prey, buzzard, kestrel, peregrine falcon, sparrow
the flashy and noisy jay, thrush and Sardinian variety of
goshawk. In the crags of Monte Arcosu nests the golden eagle.
Among the reptiles are present the viperine snake and the
rare grass snake, the western wip snake, the country lizard
Among the amphibian, instead, it is possible to admire the
Tyrrhenian painted frog, the Italian cave salamander and
tree frog always ably camouflaged on the leaves of some
the butterflies deserved to be mentioned the Sardinian swallowtail,
the Two-tailed Pasha, the spurge hawk-moth and the fearful
oak processionary, insatiable devourer of the leaves of
How to get there
By car from Cagliari: turn into the SS 195 (state road) to Pula.
After about 5 km turn right, in the direction of “Zona Industriale
Macchiareddu” and then take the 2nd strada ovest (west road)
until the country Church of Santa Lucia.
Going on to Santadi you will find very soon a dirt road, well
showed by road signs, which leads to the reserve’s entrance.
The forest is in the interior of the oasis, after 10 km of a perfectly
practicable dirt road.