is janas

In the heart of Barbagia di Seulo, in the territory of Sadali, a small town on the border between the provinces of Cagliari and Nuoro, an ancient legend surrounds a lush forest of holm oaks. In the luxuriant vegetation, on the border with Seulo and a stone’s throw from su Stampu ‘e su Turrunu, a 16 metre high waterfall that jets from a rock, Is Janas are hidden. Shrouded in a halo of mystery, the caves, 240 meters long, recall ancient fables and their protagonists, the fairies. It is said that they lived far from prying eyes preparing delicacies and sweets and were petrified by God for having killed (and mocked) an old monk.

The underground cavity today contains a naturalistic treasure of great value and a particular fauna. Divided into six rooms, it will open up to you after a few steps leading to the vestibule, a large hall with a slight slope where particular stalagmites grow drop by drop, wrapped in a vegetable patina. Entering, you will access to s’Omu de is Janas, the house of the fairies. In this ovoid room, 25 meters long and 8 meters wide, you will find the janas that have become – according to legend – three imposing stalagmites. Castings, columns and marble draperies make the place enchanting. From the top of the ceiling, a storm of white stalactites will dazzle you. Past the hall of the ‘ancient hosts’, you’ll reach su Mulinu, the third hall with a massive ochre-colored casting. Nearby is a small stalagmite that resembles a Madonna and Child. The next room is su Longu, a bare corridor on the bottom of which you will admire low columns overlooking a small lake. From here you will access the Bridge, a blade of rock that leads to the last room, the Hall of Guano: a large colony of bats has made it their shelter. Just the cave fauna is characteristic: molluscs, centogambe, spiders, pseudoscorpions, lepidopterans, various types of insects and the salamander eutroglofila are the inhabitants of a place that has remained still in time.

Sadali is a picturesque medieval village at 750 meters above sea level, developed around the late Byzantine parish church of San Valentino. Next to the church you can admire a waterfall whose waters end up in the abyss of sa Bucca manna (the big mouth). The village is surrounded by woods of holm oak, oak and cork trees: not far away, it is worth visiting the nuraghe Accodulazzo, where prehistoric fragments of obsidian and pottery shards of the Roman age have been found, and the ancient water mill.