The municipality of Villacidro boasts some of the most striking waterfalls in the whole of Sardinia, set in unspoilt, fascinating natural scenery. At about 1 km from the town, groups of tourists flock every year to the Sa Spendula locality to wonder at the striking waterfall, the last leap of the Rio Coxinas from the upland of the same name. ‘Spendula’ in Sardinian means just that – waterfall, and indeed for Sardinians Sa Spendula is “the” waterfall, set against a backdrop of extraordinary natural beauty. While it is at its best in the rainy season, even in summer it is well worth a visit, both because it is one of the few year-round waterfalls in Sardinia and on account of the beautiful night lighting system. Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio was so fascinated by the beauty of the glittering Sa Spendula waterfall that in 1882 he dedicated a sonnet to it.

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The protected area of Monti Mannu, clothed in lush Mediterranean maquis, holm oak trees and scented undergrowth, has two more waterfalls: Piscina Irgas and Muru Mannu. They can be reached by following paths signposted through the forest. Path 113 leads to a panoramic plateau offering a stunning view of the waterfall as it dashes into a deep pool with a leap of about 45 m. Over time, the waters has delved great pools in the rock, from where it flows swiftly along a gully between holm oaks, strawberry trees, heather and oleanders, finally joining up with the water of the Leni torrent. Path 109, which in several places crosses streams and therefore is best avoided on rainy days, leads to the most imposing of Sardinia’s waterfalls – Muru Mannu, about 70 m high in its highest leap tumbling down between two sheer rock walls. At its foot, the water collects in a charming pond surrounded by holm oaks and holly, completing the beauty of the place.