The Giara of Gesturi

Guided tours from € 10 (english and french guide speaking)

About the Giara Park

The Giara plateau lies 500-600 m (1,640-1,969 ft) above sea level and extends over 44 sq km (27.3 sq miles), of which 16 sq km (9.9 sq miles) lie within Genoni Council’s territory.Giara horse

The name ‘Giara’ (Sa Jara or Pranu ‘e Jara in Sardinian) appears to originate from the Latin term ‘glarea’ (gravel), in reference to its predominantly stony terrain.

Sheer cliffs of dark lava rock, from which pelting waterfalls sometimes cascade, surround this vast plateau. Its surprisingly flat summit is embellished with suggestive pools of water known as paulis (Pauli Tramatzu, Pauli Minori, etc.) and their splendid springtime displays of white water crowfoots (ranunculus aquatilis) in bloom. The steep slopes of the Giara, carpeted in verdant woodland and Mediterranean maquis, have taken shape in the soft marly marine sediments of the Miocene and are sculpted occasionally by vertical seasonal streams. On these slopes, recurrent natural springs (funtanas or mitzas) often emerge due to rainwater infiltrations seeping through the cracks and fissure openings which cross the basalt rock summit.

Giara foal

Thanks to its spectacular landscapes and notable naturalistic importance, the Giara plateau has been listed as one of the nine Natural Parks established by the Regional Law n° 31 of 1989.

The certified Giara Horse

The Giara horse certified is living in the Giara of Genoni, managed by the Agenzia Agris (Agency for Agricultural Research)

The Agenzia Agris (Agency for Agricultural Research) works for the protection of the Giara horse via its horse-breeding research department, the Dipartimento di Ricerca per l’Incremento ippico, which has taken over this role from the former Istituto di Incremento Ippico (Horse-breeding Institute). The Department has access to a significant area on the Giara plateau, approximately 700 hectares (1,730 acres) belonging to Genoni Council. The area, which is a sort of naturalistic oasis, houses the Casa Lavra in its centre, a rustic building typical of the Giara. It is also equipped with wooden signposts indicating trekking footpaths of approximately 25 km (15.5 miles) in length.

At present, around 180 horses can be counted within the area, a figure which however must not exceed 200 units, so as not to give rise to incidents of excessive environmental competition. The programme, focused entirely on the horses, has the objective of both preserving the breed – a highly important source of genetic variability – as well as restoring its original morphological characteristics. For this purpose, the area features enclosures, forced passageways to herd the horses into checkpoints, drinking troughs and feeding areas. All activities take place under the close supervision of the staff of the Cooperative, who operate in the designated area following the technical guidance of the Department.

The animals in question also undergo health checks by Agris, thanks to the aid of a special veterinarian, who is responsible for monitoring the state of health of both groups and individual components, and, when necessary, for capturing and accordingly curing disease-stricken horses.Giara horse in the paulis

The procedures that are routinely performed are akin to group management practices in experimental zootechnical companies. For example:

•Applying devices for electronic recognition (microchips), which has supplanted branding for obvious reasons relating to animal wellbeing;

•Daily monitoring of individual horses;

•Capturing for health or experimental reasons when necessary;

•Feeding in designated areas during fodder shortages.

Furthermore, occasional experimental measures are carried out by the Department and are performed, if required, in collaboration with third party bodies.

Typical Constructions on the Giara Plateau

The pinnetta (also pinnettu, pinnette, etc.) or barraca is a shepherd’s hut and is the most typical pastoral construction in northern central Sardinia. It is used as a place for producing and maturing cheese, as well as serving as a store and dwelling for goat- and shepherds, especially in the winter months. It usually forms part of a sheepfold (cuile/i, ovile) together with other structures, such as the corte/i or mandra (sheep pen), lacus (drinking troughs) and other enclosures for milking and weaning lambs and kids, to name but a few. As a rule, it consists of a circular dry stone base approximately 2 m (6.6 ft) high, on top of which a cone-shaped thatched roof is erected. The thatch of load-bearing logs and boughs (antas and fustis), covered with leafy branches bundled together with rushes, ropes or wire, is replaced on average every two years or at least repaired seasonally. The foliage of the leafy branches is arranged pointing downwards as to encourage rainwater to drain down and outwards, and to draw smoke out of the hut. Several stones or pieces of wood placed at the top of the roof add stability to the structure, as do those surrounding the entrance. The entrance does not always have a door or can have one made of branches. It can even be built entirely in masonry, using binding mortar and an architrave – at times a square-cut stone – above the threshold. Internal flooring is flattened by beating with large stones, while dug out of its centre is a hearth (foxile, foghile), utilized mainly for cheesemaking. Cheese is left to mature on boards hanging from the roof logs (antas). A pinnetta can sometimes be constructed entirely from logs, boughs and leafy branches, and fixed directly to the ground, either in a circular cone shape or with two large sloping roofs. In this case, it would most likely be called a barraca. The origins of the pinnetta can be traced at least as far back as nuraghic times.

Giara hiking and guided tours

Giara horse in the water

Visit the Giara of Gesturi with a local english speaking guide, is the best way to discover this amazing park. Our guides lead you in the Agris area to see the certified Giara Horse.

The guided tour include the entrance to the Giara Horses Museum, at the fossils and archeological PARC museum and the guide service for all the visits.


A video about the living fossils: Lepidurus apus lubbocki Brauer e il Triops cancriformis Schaff

Call us to visit:

+39 339 16 76 863 also on whatsapp

Photo Gallery

How to reach the Giara Park from Giara Horses Museum