Freshwater Excursions

Bell'Italia (Beautiful Italy) May 2013 - Original Italian Text By: Emanuele Dessi Photo: Elisabetta Loi

«When I first started at the end of the 1980s, they thought I was crazy, or at best just a day reame. They would say, “You’re just a farmer and you want to bring in tourists to boat around the lake! Forget it.”

Today Nanni Nieddu can say with pride – and from his cozy agritourism on Lake Cedrino – to have proved his neighbors in Dorgali wrong. «I never doubted», Nanni repeats, «but my only worry was over certain sacrifices, costs. But I did it, and I’m happy; it brings a smile to my face every time to see our guests return from an excursion. I can see it in their eyes, and they say “Nanni, that was worth it!”

  • Bell'Italia
  • Bell'Italia
  • Bell'Italia
  • Bell'Italia
Cited more than once by Nobel Laureate in literature, Grazia Deledda, in her works, the River Cedrino begins in the Supramonte di Orgosolo and, after a tortuous path of 80 km, arrives in Orosei and flows into the Tyrrhennian Sea. This wild and gurgling river was always a bit feared for its periodic flooding, until 1983 when the Pedra 'e Othoni Dam was built, thus creating an artificial lake of one square kilometer and used for irrigation. A few years later Nanni Nieddu founded his paradise for excursionists.

“I began with 15 kayaks; today they are double that, plus canoes,” explain Nanni. His Agriturismo Canales is the starting-off point and, once excursionists have chosen their means of transport, they can set off for adventure.
Excursionists can go it alone or be led by a guide. Lake Cedrino (also fed by various karst sources of water) is surmounted by the basalt walls of the Gallei su Giuncu Plateau. The kayak is an ideal way to explore this area.

One stroke after the other, kayakers can arrive in a large gullet that is rich in vegetation and water fowl, such as the grey heron. After a few-hundred meters, standing out from the Mediterranean maquis is the silhouette of the little 16th-Century Church of San Pantaleo. Isolated and forgotten after the creation of the artificial lake, the Church was restructured several years ago with the initiative of a local committee. Those fortunate enough to find themselves in Dorgali on 27 July should not miss the the Feast Day Celebration of San Pantaleo and the traditional banquet.

Another obligatory stop is the scenographic Grotta del Guano, in the territory of Oliena. Studies of the grotto have allowed for important documentation on Neolithic history in Barbagia (6th Millennium B.C.). Here, archaeologists have found many artefacts, including the mysterious “Bat God.” In fact, the little winged mammals have frequented the cave since time immemorial.

  • Bell'Italia
  • Bell'Italia
  • Bell'Italia
  • Bell'Italia

All this also takes place at the feet of Mount Corrasi (also in Oliena), near the Su Gologone springs and easily accessible depending on water levels. The Su Gologone springs are of karst, spout 300-400 liters of water per second, and are the most spectacular on the entire island. They are a huge draw for speleo-divers from all over the world. A trip from one shore to the other is 8 km in total, and after all that effort, a delicious meal awaits at the end!

When he sees his guests return, exhilarated, from their excursion on the lake, Nanni Nieddu is certain that all the work to make his dream come true was worth it.