Tortolì, Province of Nuoro, Sardegna

Tortolì - including also the harbour town of Arbatax - is on the east coast of Sardinia and since 2004 it was the new province capital (with Lanusei) of the former province of Ogliastra. Arbatax is also an important connection with the rest of Italy, with its small airport and important tourist and commercial harbor. Nowadays Tortolì-Arbatax is known for its beautiful beaches and natural wonders, associated with traditions and historical areas.


  • Altitude: 13 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 10,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal codes: 08048
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0782
  • Patron Saint: Sant'Andrea Apostolo, celebrated on 30 November
  • Frazioni & Localities: Arbatax
  • Official website: Città di Tortolì

The Territory

The area is very different from the rest of the Ogliastra coast, due to the presence of red porphyric cliffs and dolomite rocks. Along this coast there are many important beaches and natural grottos, that make this area famous for its rich underwater world. Here nature is a triumph of great cliffs hanging over the blue sea, Mediterranean plants, scents.

History - Antiquity

Tortolì - Arbatax has always been a strategic place for merchants and armies. In this part of the east coast, there are many remains of ancient civilizations. During the pre-nuragic period there were different kinds of ancient structures known as "Dolmen" and "Menhirs", in burial areas. In the Nuragic period many Nuraghi were built as forts and towers. Then the town came under Roman domination.

History - the Middle Ages

In the early Middle Ages it was part of the Byzanthine Empire, and for a time under the Mariner Republic of Pisa, to pass finally under Spanish domination, which left many traces in the culture and traditions. During the 12th century Tortolì was included in the "Giudicato" of Cagliari. In 1327 the Spaniards established the County of Quirra around Tortolì, under the Carroz and Centelles families of Catalonia.

History - Modern Times

In 1928 the town was united to Girasole and Lotzorai, under the name of "Arbatax di Tortolì", but after the Second World War was reinstated within its previous jurisdiction under the name of Tortolì.


  • There are many traditional events during the year and usually end on Sundays with fireworks and Sardinian ballets.

What to see

  • Torre di Arbatax, is a 13 mt tower built in the 1500's and used as a store.
  • The Domus de Janas, burial caves in the rocks.
  • The Torre di Zaccurru in San Gemiliano, a conic tower, 8.14 mt tall, one of the oldest Ogliastra towers used as a checkpoint for the two landing areas to the north (Portu Frailis), and the south (Orrì).
  • Ethnographic museum Sa Contonera, hosted in a 19th century granite building between Tortoli' and Arbatax, preserving traditional tools used in the past. Link suggeriti
  • The open-air Museum of Contemporary Art "Su Logu de s'Iscultura"

Where to stay

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Provinces of Sardegna
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