A charming town in the Sarcidano area, surrounded by lush greenery and prehistoric ruins. Since 2005, Laconi has had Orange Flag recognition awarded by the Touring Club of Italy and has been linked to the Franciscans since the middle of last century. Its original fame is linked to Sardinia’s first and best-loved saint, Saint Ignatius (18th century); indeed, veneration of the saint attracts thousands of pilgrims here each year. A devotional journey through the narrow streets stops at ten different sites, including the house where the saint, who lived by all Franciscan rules, was born. Thanks to his simple messages, it is a pilgrimage of spiritual healing. The traditional image of the saint is that of a humble monk, bent over and deep in prayer, who always helped everyone. A visit continues with the Statue Menhir Museum and beautiful Aymerich Park, which houses the remains of an ancient castle.
A lush green oasis in the town, unique prehistoric ruins and community values, Laconi is a "gem" with two thousand inhabitants, nestled in a forest near the hills of Sarcidano, which boasts an Orange Flag (Bandiera Arancione) awarded by the Touring Club of Italy. Its original fame is also linked to Sardinia's best-loved saint, St Ignatius. Veneration of the saint attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims, especially during festivities commemorating him, held at the end of August.
Any visit should begin at his birth house that, along with the museum of sacred art and the parish church dedicated to the saint and to St Ambrose, built in the 15th century and modified several times throughout the 19th century, are stages on a devotional journey through the old town. Other monuments here include the ancient Church of San Giovanni Battista, with its wooden roof, and the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate, in whose honour fires are lit in January to accompany the feast of traditional pastries. At the end of the year, Ocraxus is an event during which many old houses and noble villas are open to the public.
Visitors here can admire this open-air museum; the first traces of human presence date back to 6000 BC, whilst between the end of the Neolithic Age and the start of the Metal Age (3700-2400 BC) a unique sculptural phenomenon developed - statue menhirs or standing stones. These can be admired in the Statue Menhir Museum (Civico Museo Archeologico della Statuaria Preistorica) in ancient Palazzo Aymerich.
The building houses dozens of sculpted monoliths dating from between the 4th and 3rd millennia BC, some of which are huge. They were mainly found in the area near Laconia, particularly in Perda Iddocca and Pranu Maore. The museum itinerary is completed by ceramics and obsidian and metal items, discovered in other sites in the municipal territory; these include the megalithic tomb of Masone Perdu and the Dolmen (burial chamber) of Corte Noa. Nuragic civilization is represented by the Genna ‘e Corte nuraghe; yet to be dug out completely, it consists in a central tower, a courtyard and a bastion with five towers, two of which are more evident.
Thanks to its woods, the habitats for many rare birds and mammals, including the rare autochthonous breed of Sarcidano horse, Laconi is a haven for botanists. The area abounds with truffles and has the biggest number of orchids on the island. Close to the town centre is resplendent Aymerich Park, which owes its name to the last noble family of Laconi. It stands around the mediaeval ruins of a castle whose main tower dates from the 11th and 12th centuries. The castle is on two floors; the lower floor that dates from the same period as the tower and the upper floor that has Catalan-Aragonese windows and mouldings. The castle's portico is particularly impressive. The marquises were responsible for the layout of the garden, in which exotic plants have been integrated with the holm oak forest. Visitors can admire a majestic cedar of Lebanon, a weeping beech, a Corsican pine, a southern magnolia and other interesting tree species and series of paths lead to small caves, streams, waterfalls and lakes dotted all around the park.
Also, well worth visiting is the hamlet of Santa Sofia, which boasts the ruins of a Byzantine church, and the fascinating area of Su Dominariu.