The road to Su Gologone hotel leads right to the mountains – and what a stupendous sight they are.
Rising speckled, straight up from the valley floor like huge chunks of nougat, they dominate this placid, rural area of central Sardinia.
If you’re looking for a rustic Mediterranean island retreat, then this may be just the place. Located in the shadow of Monte Corrasi, the highest peak in the Supramonte mountain range, its 74 rooms and suites are designed along a series of rising terraces with colorfully-tiled steps leading from one to the other and abundant open seating areas with soft comfortable cushions on each.
On the highest levels are special terraces such ‘Bread Terrace,’ where traditional Sardinian breads are baked, the White Magic Tablao terrace and Terrazzo dei Desideri (‘Terrace of Wishes,’) all offering panoramic views over Supramonte, the spectacular limestone backdrop to this creative hotel property.
The brainchild in the ‘60s of Peppeddu and Pasqua Palimodde and artist, G.A. Sulas, the hotel’s multi-faceted design is characterized by a wealth of local artifacts, a collection further enriched by the former’s daughter, Giovanna. Today, with hundreds of items including ceramics, embroideries, antique and homemade furniture and furnishings, sculptures, textiles, tapestries, paintings and pottery, Su Gologone highlights the impressive diversity of Sardinian culture over the centuries.
12 of the hotel’s suites are dedicated to leading artists – Francesco Ciusa’s sculptures, enamels of the Melis brothers, folk scenes of painter Giuseppe Biasi, Edina Altara’s expressive portraits, puppets of Eugenio Tavolara, ceramics of Gavino Tilocca and Giuseppe Silecchia, masterpieces by Maria Lai and drawings and paintings of Dino Fantini.
A wall plaque outside Room 90, our upper-floor junior suite, informed us it was dedicated to the rich tradition of Sardinian costumes. Inside, the walls were resplendent with 36 framed drawings illustrating regional differences and fashion changes down through the generations. The three-room suite featured a canopy bed, an open fireplace, windows looking out on to an orchard, its fruits almost close enough to touch, as well as a spacious outdoor terrace with a jacuzzi.
Such has been the attention to detail at this luxury countryside resort, design elements within our suite included shapely limbs of varnished branches banded with copper bracelets, embedded in the walls, as well as ceilings adorned with reed and heavy dark and white wooden beams.
The restaurant is as rustic as one could be, encompassing a homey collection of gleaming copper pots and pans hanging from the walls; a huge open fire with slabs of aromatic sides of veal, pork and lamb slowly roasting there; a dark wood beam-and-bamboo ceiling; cowbells; traditional wooden spoons; old iron keys; gourds; bunches of thin, dried peppers; woven baskets and marble pestles.
Options for the antipasto are a comprehensive buffet or the Sardinian traditional one. We chose the latter, comprising gelatin di maiale (pork terrine), fresh cheese balls served with chicory leaves, fava means in a mint sauce, mushrooms with sorrel leaves, breaded brain and sweet breads of lamb with wild fennel and ‘corratela,’ lamb offal cooked in tomato sauce. For pasta we enjoyed gnocchetti with wild boar sauce, fresh pesto and herbs. An alternative is homemade ravioli with fennel and cream cheese sauce.
Due to the tantalizing aroma of grilled meat wafting towards us from the open grill, our main was a shared ‘meat on the spit’ dish, which came as a mix of homemade pork sausage, piglet and veal chops with a zucchini salad. Other cooked dishes we tried subsequently, not less delicious, included flavorful goat cooked casserole-style with wild fennel accompanied by pan-fried peppers, onions and tomatoes and ‘bortigalesa’ steak, a T-bone for two. Several desserts are also offered as part of the buffet, but we preferred a selection of three delicious homemade ice-creams – mirto, honey and ricotta. Some of the vegetables and herbs come from the hotel’s own garden.
Don’t forget to taste the homemade myrtle digestive, mirto, or the special fennel grappa.
Activities are plentiful and diverse at Su Gologone. Cooking workshops, include making pasta by hand with skilled cooks using semolina, flour, eggs and salt to create ‘pasta jewelry’ of all kinds such as ravioli, culurgiones (ravioli filled with local ricotta), macarrones de busa (bucatini) and bocciu (gnocchetti sardi). Another innovative activity is a traditional art passed down through the centuries – embroidery. At a workshop with local women from Barbagia, guests learn how to embroider flowers with nuanced colors and stitch-work that make creations look like paintings. Yoga classes are also offered – in the tranquil setting of the Herb Garden or high on the Terrace of Wishes.
Although the sea is a mere 30-minute drive away, the hotel’s swimming pool (open end-April to October 15) provides a fine alternative. Twenty-five meters long, the water’s source is the Su Gologone natural spring, just 500 meters from the hotel. Near it are two hydromassage tubs (one located among the olive trees), as well as a gym with Technogym-brand equipment. There are also wooden board games and a gazebo bar that serves a buffet with snacks and local specialties. Bicycles on the property offer guests the chance to leisurely explore the local countryside.
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