Thanks to the vision, passion and concreteness of a courageous couple, an abandoned Sardinian farmhouse becomes Gallicantu Stazzo Retreat, a special place that offers authentic hospitality in Upper Gallura

Set in over three hectares of Mediterranean scrub, anthropomorphic granite forms conceal the five bedrooms and two suites of the new Gallicantu Stazzo Retreat near the village of Luogosanto, in Alta Gallura.

Gallicantu, which in ancient Sardinian means "dawn", is a 1930s farmhouse abandoned for almost half a century. The two (visionary) owners, Marco Maria Berio and Raffaella Manca , have understood the potential of the place, have followed the external and entire renovation works, have looked for materials, furnishings and objects, having each piece designed as they had imagined it. And now, after two years, a lot of effort, a lot of work, a lot of effort but also a lot of satisfaction, they open it to guests.

What they offer is a welcome in the name of natural well-being: a stay isolated and silent, authentic and genuine, country and material, or rather, raw. Among olive trees, almond trees and myrtle trees, contained in the spaces and not linked to seasonality, the retreat rather than a resort (in fact) can accommodate a maximum of 10 people. In short, exclusive, in the most sophisticated sense of the term, since those who stay there can collect seasonal vegetables and then cook them.

Read also: Experience Hotel Su Gologone in Barbagia: the wildest and most authentic Sardinia

The fulcrum of agro-pastoral life

The stazzo, the fulcrum of Gallura's agro-pastoral life for hundreds of years, is part of the culture of Gallura: there are hundreds of them throughout the territory, often abandoned. The term derives from the Latin "statio" (station, resting place) and simultaneously indicates the farm and the building inhabited by the owners or sharecroppers.

The recovery project of the two stazzi

Gallicantu preserves two stazzi, the main one and the one that originally served as a stable, restored with traditional materials: the granite cantons of the original structures are left exposed and the old tiles recovered or reinvented as indoor lamps. In full respect of the type of agricultural construction and the wild environment in which it is inserted, the architect Jean Claude Lesuisse who oversaw the interior design project of the retreat, has created special elements: digressions such as the bull's-eye windows give both buildings a sculptural and at the same time fairytale character.

The rooms and the spa

The main stazzo houses five bedrooms, each one different from the other, a sitting room with fireplace for cooler evenings and a wellness area with sauna , Turkish bath, emotional showers and a small relaxation area. A little further on are the two suites Igna and Mendula, which overlook the almond grove where once there was the small vineyard that served the family's needs.

Organic architecture and modern Sardinian craftsmanship

Each space is designed according to the principles of organic architecture: natural elements such as iron, stone and juniper find a harmonious balance with fabrics, carpets and ceramics of modern Sardinian craftsmanship, made for Gallicantu by Mariantonia Urru in Samugheo, the most important textile center of the island. The ceramics are signed by Mediterranean Ceramics which creates them with raw materials extracted and processed by local labor, inspired by the Sardinian tradition.

The kitchen and the terrace

In the shade of trees, the old stable now houses the kitchen of Gallicantu. A warm and welcoming place where recycled furniture and furniture created to measure by local artisans conceal the latest generation AEG appliances, which allow you to reduce consumption and pay attention to environment. Breakfast and dinner, only for retreat guests, are served on a terrace from which you can see the towns of Alta Gallura and Corsica.

The swimming pool

At the center of the estate is the swimming pool created among the rocks and served by the honesty bar housed in a wooden hut, a corner of relaxation where you can forget the frenetic pace of the city in the shade of secular trees.

The cave

The cave is not to be missed: already inhabited in the pre-Nuragic era, it is an evocative cellar for tasting cold cuts, hams and cheeses from nearby farms or from small local producers.

Country life

Country life takes place all around with the care of the garden that feeds the kitchen and where guests, basket in hand, can collect seasonal vegetables. Then hundreds of olive trees from which the estate's oil is produced; the almond grove, fruit trees, citrus groves and cherry trees of different qualities. Over two hundred myrtle plants give life to a delicious, handcrafted liqueur, while ten bee families produce the honey that guests taste for breakfast or during an aperitif in the cave.

Green energy

All the energy used on the estate is green. Gallicantu independently produces 40% of its needs with solar energy. In the car park there is also a charging column for cars and electric bikes.

Raffaella and Marco’s project: from recovery to welcome to promotion

It was 2017 when Marco Berio realized the great potential of a 1930s stazzo that had been abandoned for over fifty years in Alta Gallura. He begins the cleaning of the ground, while carrying on his work at the Pevero Golf Club in Costa Smeralda, which he has been managing for twelve years. At the end of 2019 he leaves Pevero and throws himself headlong into the demanding construction of Gallicantu. He personally follows the construction site, researches the materials, designs it piece by piece.

In this extraordinary adventure, in every possible sense, he is joined by his partner Raffaella Manca, who has been dealing with communication and marketing for the hotel sector for almost twenty years. Together they manage Gallicantu, taking care personally of design, hospitality and promotion.

Luogosanto and Upper Gallura: the secret soul of Sardinia

The Gallura of the coasts and beaches famous all over the world hides a secret soul made of granites forged by the wind, of a wild nature surprising and authentic villages full of ancestral traditions that have a lot to tell.

Gallicantu is located a few steps from Luogosanto, a typical Gallura village which owes its name to 22 rural churches scattered throughout its territory. Seat of the Holy Door with the Basilica of Our Lady of Luogosanto, it is an ideal destination for lovers of active and sustainable travel : you can go hiking, biking, horseback riding, bouldering. , canoeing and yoga.

archeology enthusiasts can discover not only the traces of the Nuragic civilization (do not miss the "meeting hut" of Monti Casteddu) and the Neolithic (the inhabited tafoni and funerary), but above all the greater concentration of medieval remains of Gallura with the Castle of Balajana, the Palazzo di Baldu and the religious architecture.

You can also visit farms, vineyards, stazzi, dairies, a herbalist's shop and a pottery workshop.

City of Wine, but not only

Luogosanto is the home of Vermentino di Gallura , the only DOCG on the island, and of important internationally recognized wineries. The town also hosts small trattorias and shops where you can taste the local gastronomic specialties based on fresh pasta (chjusoni and pulilgioni, typical in the slightly sweet variant), or the suppa cuata (known as "Gallura soup"), Cured meats and roasts of farmed meat or game (especially wild boar), cheeses (typical fresh cow's milk ones) and traditional sweets such as cucciuleddi, papassini, acciuledd'e meli.

Strategic position

From Gallicantu in less than half an hour you can reach the Costa Smeralda and, to the north, some of the most beautiful beaches in Sardinia. The other internal centers of Alta Gallura are nearby such as Tempio (famous for the historic center with stone houses and Piazza Faber that Renzo Piano designed in honor of the Genoese singer-songwriter), Aggius (a small jewel that is part of the Authentic Villages of Italy) and Luras (the land of millenary olive trees).