The central region of the Barbagia holds the Gennargentu chain of mountains – the name means “silver gate”, referring to the snow that covers them every winter. Here, you’ll find the island’s only skiing facilities on Monte Bruncu Spina, Sardinia’s second-highest peak (1829m). In spring and summer, you can explore this and other areas on mountain treks, best undertaken with a guide; the tourist office at Nuoro can supply a list.
Buried within chestnut forests, the isolated villages of the region make useful bases for both skiers and trekkers, for example FONNI, 36km south of Nuoro and at 1000m the island’s highest village. Try to coincide your visit with one of Fonni’s costumed festivals, principally the Madonna dei Mártiri, on the Monday following the first Sunday in June, and on San Giovanni’s day on June 24. Other centres for excursions and to get a flavour of the moutain culture include TONARA, a quiet, traditional village some 30km southwest of Fonni, famed for its chestnuts and torrone (a sticky, sweet nougat confection), and ARITZO, 15km further south.