The town of Ozieri is situated on a steeply sloping terrain with a characteristic amphitheatre layout. It has about 12,000 inhabitants and a territory that stretches for about 273 square kilometres. It is the capital of Logudoro.
History, culture, traditions...
Since prehistoric times, Ozieri has always been an important location for human settlements, favoured by the presence of large caves and its position of dominance over the vast plain.
Already in the Neolithic period, when the first villages were established, Ozieri became an important centre for civilisation of the time. In fact, the valuable decorated ceramic artefacts found in the St Michael's Caves are considered the most significant of this civilisation spread throughout Sardinia and therefore identified as Culture of Ozieri (3500-2700 BC), one of the most significant cultures of that period in the Mediterranean (exhibits in the local Archaeological Museum).
Even in the Nuragic period, the territory of Ozieri had enough settlements to show a substantial population density for the period. More than 120 nuraghi (one of the highest densities in Sardinia), several tombs of the giants, sacred wells, and walls testify to the importance of the area. In particular the great Nuraghe Burghidu is a remarkable example with its complex three-towered structure, which still towers over the plain.
During the Roman period, the territory of Ozieri gained further importance. In particular, the area became a crossroads of the roads that connected Karalibus with the ports of Turrem and Olbia. The villages, milestones and, above all, bridges bear witness to this. Among these beautiful example is the Pont'Ezzu, a remarkable example of monumental architecture, is still one of the most interesting monuments in the area.
In the medieval period, the area became an important reference point for a vast territory defined as 'Logudoro' due to its economic importance with respect to the whole of Sardinia. Ozieri increasingly represented a centre of considerable political-administrative and military importance.
Already the chief town of the Monte Acuto curatorate, during the Spanish domination, it gained more and more consideration over the centuries, thanks also to the presence of wealthy noble families, which led to the development of livestock breeding activities.
During the Sardinian-Piedmontese kingdom, Ozieri became the seat of the Bishopric and the Court, Provincial capital and Royal depot for horse breeding.
Because of this importance, in 1836 King Carlo Alberto elevated it to the rank of City. With the birth of the Italian State, Ozieri had the great honour of sending Giuseppe Garibaldi to Parliament as its deputy. Among the various initiatives in favour of the city undertaken by the hero of the two worlds, we recall the one that led to the establishment in Ozieri of one of the first Italian technical schools.
Over time, education became one of the city's resources, thanks also to the presence of the Bishop's Seminary. In various historical phases, the evolution of school activity is constant. Primary schools, gymnasium, agricultural school and scientific and technical schools were founded. Even today, Ozieri is still the reference point for education in a large area of north-central Sardinia and work is underway to start a centre for university students.
From a cultural point of view, Ozieri represents an important and unanimously recognised symbol for Sardinia, and has always been a reference for the island's culture. In the 16th century, a painter known as The Master of Ozieri enriches several churches in northern Sardinia with valuable works in Mannerist style with innovative northern European influences.
In the late 18th century, a patrician from Ozierese Francesco Ignazio Mannu is the author of the hymn known in Sardinia as 'Procurade 'e moderare barones sa tirannia', which became the Sardinian Marseillaise in the uprisings against the Piedmontese.
In the 19th century, famous poets from Ozieresi toured the squares of Sardinia to put on a show with their artistic flair.
In the 1950s, the Ozieri Prize for Sardinian Literature. After more than 40 editions, it is certainly a must for authors of poetry and prose in the Sardinian language. Over the years, the Prize has constituted a valuable instrument for the codification of literary production in Sardinia.
Equally important is Ozieri in the sphere of Sardinian music with the presence for over 30 years of a prize called 'Usignolo della Sardegna' dedicated to the traditional cantigos a chiterra and with the presence of the Ozieri Choir, which has been researching and recovering the deep-rooted polyvocal tradition.
The historical centre of Ozieri is a remarkable cultural and tourist resource. Palaces of Spanish and neoclassical influence create a perfect symbiosis with churches, former convents and fountains. All embellished by special architectural features such as the traditional 'altane', terraces enclosed by colonnades.
A historically important landmark is the Piazza Cantareddu, the site of the city's festivals, events and popular performances by improvising cantadores and poetas. From here you can easily reach the ancient Ortu 'e su Contenow Piazza Garibaldi, the Church Square and Old Convent of St Francisthe Cathedral and the monumental Grixoni Source, built in the late 19th century on an ancient Spanish source.
Interesting rehabilitation work has also enhanced the historic centre through the laying of cobbled streets and the construction of museums and social centres in old buildings such as the Archaeological Museum set up at the beautiful complex of theFormer Convent of the Poor Clares, The Museum of Sacred Art, The Sardinian Language Documentation Centrethe Museum of Milling Art and the Bakery Museum.
From a socio-economic point of view, Ozieri, with its 11,000 inhabitants, is the centre of reference for the Monte Acuto territory and is therefore home to institutions, offices and educational establishments.
Among others, Ozieri is home to the Mountain Community, the Hospital and the Health District, the Industrial Consortium, the Land Reclamation Consortium, the Equestrian Institute, the Railway Station, the Bus Station, the Ersat, the Agricultural Inspectorate, the Forestry Station, the Police Station, the Carabinieri Company, the Revenue and Registry Office, the Inps, the Technical Institute for Accountants, Surveyors and Agronomists, the Scientific High School, the Classical High School.
Social facilities include the civic theatre, swimming pool, sports hall, several playrooms and libraries.
The economy is mainly focused on agro-livestock production, with a notable presence of highly selected sheep and cattle reared using modern production techniques. The development of agro-alimentary production activities is also interesting: meat, cheese, bread, typical sweets.
In this context, an interesting programme is being implemented to valorise typical productions, in particular the fine bread of Ozieri, also known beyond Sardinia as Spianata di Ozieri, for which interesting projects are being implemented, such as the construction of ancient ovens and membership of the National Association of Bread Cities.
Other projects include the protection and enhancement of typical Ozieri sweets: Sighs e CopulettasGreviera cheese (a production imported during the Sardinian Piedmontese Kingdom that is being rediscovered today) and typical wines produced in the hills.
Industrial and craft production is also developing, favoured by the availability of municipal, private and Z.I.R. industrial consortium areas in Chilivani.
Important and very popular are the fairs held at the San Nicola Fairgrounds: the Provincial Cattle Show and the Agro-Food Review held in April and the Crafts Fair held in September. Equally popular are the horse races that attract amateurs even beyond the island at theHippodrome of Chilivanithe most important equestrian facility in Sardinia.