Cala Luna

Cala Luna

A freshwater lake that separates the sandy shore from the land behind it, the oleander wood that frames the beach, and that suggestive name that evokes romantic lunar luminescence. It becomes immediately obvious that Cala Luna is a beach that fully deserves the definition of “Pearl of the Mediterranean”, which it is often given in tourist-promotional descriptions of the coast. Here, on this fabulous beach, the territory of Baunei borders Dorgali, a fact that may seem a little odd to visitors who know little of Sardinian matters, given that the coastal village of Dorgali, called Cala Gonone, is just 7 km from Cala Luna, while Santa Maria Navarrese, a district of Baunei, is located 40 km south. According to some scholars, the situation is easily explained if we accept the hypothesis that Dorgali was founded by Baunesis herdsmen. This theory is also mentioned by Angius, who noted the following when describing the Dorgali behaviour and customs: “These settlers came from the nearby territory of Ugliastra, Baunèi or Ursulè, (…)”. There is another interesting detail about the history of the beach’s name. It is not common knowledge that the poetic name “Cala Luna” is perceived by local people as a corruption of the Sardinian town’s name, which in Baunei sounds like Cala “Elùne” and in Dorgali like Cala “Ilùne”. It seems that the “romantic” deformation is owed to geographers who arrived from Piedmont in the nineteenth century with a mandate to update the maps of the “Kingdom of Sardinia”. Cala “Elùne” thereby became “Cala Luna” just like, for example, the “Golfo de li ranci” (the “Gulf of crabs” according fishermen) near Olbia, became “Golfo Aranci” (the “Gulf of Oranges”) and the island “de Malu Entu “(“of the bad wind”), in the Channel of Sardinia, became the island “di Mal di Ventre” (of stomach ache”). At Cala Luna, as at Cala Sisine, a tavern (opened in 1978) was built on the ruins of the coalman’s pantry whose name, “Su Neulagi” (“the oleander”, in Sardinian) is a kind of homage to the wood that facing the freshwater lake. In 1974, this spectacular scenery attracted the attention of director Lina Wertmuller, who decided to shoot some scenes of the unforgettable film “Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto”, starring Mariangela Melato and Giancarlo Giannini at Cala Luna. A film that somehow, with its long title, seemed to predict “the unusual fate” of the territory of Baunei and Santa Maria Navarrese: a territory that over the space of a few decades turned from a depressed land of herdsmen-farmers to one of the most attractive tourist destinations in all of Sardinia.

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