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Monti Arcuentu. A place of history and legends

The Arcuentu mountain chain is situated to the north of Guspini and Arbus, and on the southern end it  borders on Monte Linas. The geological typology is mostly basaltic, and the rocks makes up a series of basalt pinnacles that make this volcanic, uninhabited, landscape landscape. The main peaks are Monti Arcuentu (784 m) and Monti Maiori (725 m). From the highest peaks one can enjoy the view of the whole Campidano plain, as far as Cagliari in the South and to Montiferru in the North. On the top of Monti Arcuentu is a forest of ancient oaks, inhabitated by wild boars, foxes and Sardinian deers.

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Monti Arcuentu, forest of ancient oaks

In the middle of the forest are located the ruins of the Arcuentu or Erculentu, that once belonged to the Giudicato di Arborea . In the Middle Ages, from the Eighth to the Fifteenth Century, the four Giudicati sardi were the authorities that governed Sardinia. The first document that mentions the Erculentu Castle dates back to 1164, but the area where the Castle is located was inhabited for centuries before, as told by the Punic and Roman remains.

Arcuentu Castle had the perimeter masonry systems specially adapted to the terrain on which they were anchored. The castle had  only entrance on the east side. Nowadays we can only see the ruins of what once were the rooms and cisterns of the castle. Due to the fortress location, on the border between the Giudicato di Arborea and the Giudicato di Cagliari, scholars believe that it was of defensive importance for the Giudicato. The Castle was also a monastery for the Vallombrosano order (until their downfall in the XVI century), and for this reason the story of Fra Lorenzo is a curious connection. This monk, for thirty years of the Twentieth Century, lived  for a month every year on Monti Arcuentu to mediate, surrounded by a wonderful vegetation and absolute silence, and by stories and legends that inhabit this magical place.

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A view from Monti Arcuentu

Indeed, there are two legends concerning this place. The first tells that among these ruins, amidst the centuries-old oak forest, is hidden a treasure, guarded by a witch; not everyone can find it: in fact, legend says that only  a young betrothed couple can find the treasure. The second legend tells instead of a beautiful and young girl from Guspini, Luxia. A gentleman of the village fell in love with her, but the young girl did not love him, causing his anger and desire for revenge. So the lord ordered to take her by force to Monti Arcuentu, where she was buried alive with a golden loom and other riches. For centuries Luxia has been wandering through the the Arcuentu forest, singing and weaving with her golden loom, surrounded by inestimable treasures.

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