“Ispuligedenie” – Cala Mariolu

“Ispulegidenie” – Cala Mariolu

Between the flat rock that marks the border of “Cala dei Gabbiani” and the sheer cliff that limits the “Ispuligidenie forest” in the north, is one of today’s most famous and popular beaches on the coast of Baunei. This beach, about 300 metres in length, divided into two parts by a big rock used as a mooring by boats carrying tourists, is now known by the dual name of “Ispuligidenie – Cala Mariolu”. The two names are explained by the curious history of this stretch of coastline and in a sense admirably summarise a past in which the stories of herdsmen and fishermen intertwine. First of all, the name “Ispuligidenie” precedes “Cala Mariolu”: this is because the former was given by the Baunei herdsmen who roamed inland, while the later was imposed by the Ponzese fishermen who settled in Cala Gonone and Arbatax in the early twentieth century. “Ispuligidenie” comes from “su pulige de nie”, which in Baunesis Sardinian literally means “snow fleas”, a poetic metaphor used by the local herdsmen to define the white pebbles smoothed by the waves that make up the beach and that probably, later on, came to mean the entire forest overlooking the beach. “Cala Mariolu”, on the other hand, more prosaically, means “thief’s cove” and this definition was given by fishermen from Ponza, who in their dialect that is derived from Neapolitan would call monk seals (which once used to frequent this part of the coast assiduously) “o mariuolo” (“the thief”), because they used to “steal” fish directly from the nets cast from the boats. Shortly afterwards, the term was given a Sardinian flavour by adding a “u” at the end, and from then on “Ispuligidenie” also began to be called “Cala Mariolu”. The Ponzese who renamed the Ispuligidenie beach had a lasting effect on the seafaring history of the coast between Arbatax and Cala Gonone. They came aboard special boats, called “mbruchièlle”, with which they fished for lobsters which they would then transport, still alive, up to Marseille. These skilled fishermen with unmistakably Neapolitans surnames such as Aversano, Vitiello and Morlè, having departed from an archipelago twenty miles off the coast of Lazio, brought the art of fishing to the coast of Baunei, where in 1834 Angius noted that “no one (…) ever dedicated themselves to sea fishing (…)”. Curiously, in 1959, over a century after Angius’ words, a woman from Baunei called Speranza Maddanu, who was married to a Ponzese fisherman, Giovanni Aversano, opened the first seafood restaurant of the entire Ogliastra region in Arbatax.


Cala Luna

A beach, that of Cala Luna, which already at first glance shows that it fully deserves the definition of ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’.

Cala Goloritzé – Baunei’s coast

Cala Goloritzé, Baunei Coast: spectacular beach framed by limestone, crystal clear sea and mountains. A popular destination for excursions and climbing.

“Ispuligedenie” – Cala Mariolu

Divided into two parts by a large rock used as a docking pier by the barges carrying tourists, it is now known by the double name of ‘Ispuligidenie – Cala Mariolu’.

The ancient “Montes Insani”

The roughness of navigation along the cliffs of Capo Monte Santu has been known since antiquity, and many historians identify this stretch of the east coast with the ‘Insani Montes’ mentioned by numerous authors, especially in connection with tragic shipwrecks.

Pedra Longa

Along the coastline, a few miles north of Santa Maria, is the limestone peak of “Pedra Longa”.

Capo Monte Santu cliffs

The promontory of Capo Monte Santu marks the southern border of the Gulf of Orosei, whose northern border is at Capo Comino.

La Grotta dei Colombi (Cave of Pigeons)

The “Grotta dei Colombi” is only accessible by sea and in order to see the stunning majesty of the vault up close, it is necessary to sail very close to the cliff.

Cala Birìala

The beach of “Cala Birìala” (called “Birìola” by the Cala Gonone fishermen) was one of the beaches most often visited by monk seals.

Grotta del Fico (Fig Tree Cave)

Sailing northwards, about a mile away from the ‘Mudaloru’ beach, is the ‘Grotta del Fico’ (Fig Cave), which opens up in the limestone cliffs, about 10 metres above sea level.

Cala dei Gabbiani (Seagull Cove)

‘Cala dei Gabbiani’ (Seagull Cove): this beach, about 250 metres long, owes its name to the fact that dozens of seagulls gather here every evening around sunset.

Cala Sisine

Cala Sisine is, without doubt, along with the more famous Cala Luna, one of the most interesting beaches on the coast of Baunei.

Venus’ Pools

Venus’ Pools, located on the coast of Baunei, a short distance from Grotta del Fico and Cala Biriala, crystal clear water.

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