Discover Sardinia’s authentic stays at historic stazzi – locations where nature, hospitality, gourmet food, and a true opportunity to blend into the local culture come together. Places such as Stazzo Lu Ciaccaru, Cascioni Eco Retreat and Gallicantu Stazzo Retreat offer a familiar and reserved welcome in the Gallurese hinterland, not far from the island’s most beautiful beaches.
The Rebirth of Sardinia’s Stazzi Galluresi
In Gallura, in the northeastern part of Sardinia known for its beaches and seaside villages, visitors have been witnessing for a few years now the birth of a new hospitality linked to stazzi, the ancient peasant dwellings that become charming hotels where guests can spend slow vacations in contact with nature and local communities.
The term stazzo comes from the Latin “statio” meaning station or resting place, and has been the focus of rural life for Gallura’s shepherd-farmers for hundreds of years. It indicates simultaneously the peasant farm and the building inhabited by the masters or sharecroppers who tended the countryside.
There are several stazzi that have recently changed their uses, opening their doors to a more genuine and familiar welcome than the large resorts on the coast. Few rooms for guests seeking an intimate and private vacation, where they can get to know the knowledge and flavors of an island that has much to reveal and wants to attract travelers beyond the summer.
Managed by families who have inherited their property or by private individuals who are passionate about their history, the stazzi are living their second life. Renovations enhance their architecture while maintaining a connection with the land through the use of local materials and collaborations with artisans. Rooms are being equipped with every comfort and spaces are being enriched with modern spas, swimming pools, restaurants with traditional or gourmet cuisine, caves for tastings and wineries with vineyards.
Each stazzo has its own history and peculiarities, but they all tell the genuine hospitality of this corner of Sardinia that has always been open to the rest of the world. Each resort interprets it with its own character, benefiting the guest who can enjoy services and experiences that are always different.
Stazzo Lu Ciaccaru
An old country estate once inhabited by sharecroppers is now an elegant resort with swimming pools and private villas not far from Arzachena and the Costa Smeralda.
The landlady, Geraldina Giovannoni, a Florentine lawyer who spent her summers on the estate, personally oversaw the restoration work: “I wanted Stazzo Lu Ciaccaru to look like a house, I didn’t want to distort it. So I kept all the original spaces alive and personally cared for each room, combining furniture made by local artisans with furnishings that belonged to my family.”
The resort houses 17 rooms of different types, four with private heated pools, and two villas: Lo Stazzo and Il Pagliaio. Lo Stazzo, a typical shepherd’s dwelling dating back to 1850, has been carefully restored by Geraldina, who has been able to preserve its rustic and genuine soul while accompanying it with modern services and amenities such as a swimming pool for exclusive use with a solarium from which to enjoy the peaceful country life.
Il Pagliaio was once “the straw house” where sharecroppers stored hay for their livestock. Today it is an elegant two-story villa with three cool, quiet rooms, a kitchen, and a furnished outdoor patio, perfect for dinners on summer evenings.
At the center of the estate is La Ciminea, the resort’s gourmet restaurant, prized for its straightforward, direct, genuine, and fragrant cuisine, just like this corner of Sardinia. Soon, to accompany chef Gianfranco Mameli’s dishes, will come the estate’s wines.
Last year, in fact, Niccolò, Geraldina’s son, planted more than two hectares of vines: the first bottles of Vermentino and Cabernet Franc will be ready in 2024 and will feed the La Ciminea wine list, which already houses fine Italian and French labels, and the cellar of what will become the island’s first wine resort.
Cascioni Eco Retreat
Cascioni Eco Retreat rises at the top of a verdant hill overlooking the bay of Cannigione and the sea of the Emerald Coast. Cascioni is the name of a fertile plain, watered by a generous stream that lingers here, widening placidly into the nature reserve of Saloni Pond before slowly mixing with the sea.
The retreat reinterprets the stazzo, Gallura’s characteristic peasant dwelling, declining that rustic living into intimate, private hospitality for a few guests: 10 Deluxe Pool Suites and 5 Prestige Pool Suites, each with its own porch, private garden, heated pool, and country or sea view, airy living room, and spacious bedroom.
The central building houses the reception and the Ulia restaurant room with its stone fireplace and a large mezzanine; on the porch, the lounge bar, overlooking the lawn and panoramic pool; behind, the industrious, steaming kitchens; below, the wine cellar: a cozy, oak-scented room dedicated to tastings; to the side, the spa, with its heated pool, sauna, special herbal teas, and natural beauty treatments.
Cascioni’s cuisine is attentive to the island’s traditions and feeds on the finest local ingredients. Many of the delicacies that come to the table come from the lands of the property itself: the products of the vegetable garden, first of all, and those of the orchard, used in every season for jams.
The olives, grown naturally, give a fragrant extra virgin oil after pressing. It is not uncommon for the kitchen to prepare what the guests themselves harvest during their walks on the estate. The Vermentini di Gallura wines, awarded worldwide, the rich and soft Cagnulari reds, and the famous Cannonau, are never lacking alongside sheep’s milk cheeses and mountain-cured meats served on crunchy discs of carasau bread.
At Cascioni Eco Retreat, wellness can be felt at every turn. There are multiple trails to explore on foot or by bicycle. The body of water of the Saloni nature reserve is navigable by kayak to reach the bay of Cannigione; its shores offer stopping points where tourists can practice birdwatching or gather in meditation.
The gym is a scenic setting in which to keep fit while enjoying the enchanting landscape of Gallura. To the same natural harmony invites the Mediterranean Spa: a peaceful corner where visitors can indulge in the pleasure of a relaxing olive oil massage in one of three treatment cabins, or where guests can regenerate with a Turkish bath or sauna, scented with helichrysum, lavender, and myrtle.
In the heated pool, among the water features and waterfall, hydro massage and thalassotherapy find their most natural place. Inside, sofas in the relaxation area welcome guests for herbal tea made from the island’s herbs.
Gallicantu Stazzo Retreat
Gallicantu, dawn in ancient Sardinian, is a 1930s stazzo that has been abandoned for nearly half a century in Luogosanto, a village known for the camperesti churches and medieval remains it houses on its grounds.
The two owners, Marco Maria Berio and Raffaella Manca, oversaw the renovations, and searched for materials and furnishings, designing each piece as they imagined it.
Gallicantu retains two stazzi restored with traditional materials: the granite cantons of the original structures are left exposed and the old tiles are recovered or reinvented as indoor lamps. Some digressions by architect Jean Claude Lesuisse, such as the ox-eye windows, give both an original, almost fairy-tale-like character that is also found in the retreat interiors, where tradition meets the Belgian architect’s dreamlike creativity.
The main stazzo houses five rooms each different from the other, a living room with a fireplace for cooler evenings and a wellness area with a sauna, Turkish bath, experience showers, and a small relaxation area.
A little further on are the two suites Igna and Mendula, which overlook the almond grove where the small vineyard that served the family’s needs once stood. Each space is designed in the style of organic architecture: natural elements such as iron, stone, and juniper find harmony with fabrics, carpets and ceramics from modern Sardinian craftsmanship.
The old barn now houses Gallicantu’s kitchen where cakes, tarts, biscotti, and traditional pastries made strictly by hand are baked daily. Breakfast and dinner, only for retreat guests, are served on a terrace from which the entire Alta Gallura can be seen.
At the center of the estate is then the swimming pool carved out among the rocks, a relaxing corner where everyone can forget the rhythms of the city in the shade of centuries-old trees. Not to be missed is the Grotta: a spectacular wine cellar for tasting cured meats, hams, and cheeses from nearby stazzi or small local producers.
All around is country living with the care of the vegetable garden that feeds the kitchen and where guests, basket in hand, can pick seasonal vegetables. Then hundreds of olive trees, the almond grove, fruit trees, citrus groves, and cherry trees of nine different qualities. More than two hundred myrtle plants produce a delicious, handcrafted liqueur, while ten families of bees produce honey that guests enjoy at breakfast or during an aperitif in the cave.