Sa Stiddiosa – Gadoni, Italy - Atlas Obscura

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Sa Stiddiosa

Gadoni, Italy

Greenery covers the face of a gently-dripping waterfall deep in the mountains of central Sardinia.  

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While the coasts of Sardinia are often highly developed playgrounds for boaters and seasonal tourism, inland is a different story. Cell phone service comes and goes, dusty flora often encroaches on unkempt highways, and sleepy towns like Seulo—home, by some measures, to the oldest people on earth—receive little in the way of tourist traffic. One hike in the heart of Sardinia, just outside of Seulo, perfectly encapsulates both the ruggedness of the island’s hinterland as well as the unyielding and often overlooked natural beauty that lies within.

The phenomena at the end of this one-kilometer descent into a narrow mountain valley evades clear categorization. While it may fit into the realm of “waterfall,” its name, Sa Stiddiosa, translates into the Sardo dialect as “dripping,” which more accurately belies the gentle nature of the falls. A natural spring crests a sheer cliff face—itself covered in calcareous rock formations that are, themselves, blanketed in lush maidenhair ferns—which in time has eroded thousands of slim channels down the steep ledge, such that the lightly cascading water reaches the Flumendosa River below in a long, thin curtain of crisp, clean drops. The plants clinging to the dripping wall issue a gentle shimmer with the passing water, lending the imposing vegetal wall its own playful sense of motion.

Families descend to Sa Stiddiosa to picnic and bathe in the Flumendosa’s cool, shaded waters (parking oneself under the dripping water lending an especially chilling effect, even in the dog days of summer). A fig-tree-laden boulder at the river’s center allows visitors to take in the view before jumping into some of the deeper pockets of water, while those with energy to spare can follow the river downstream to a field of pools and boulders before the river reaches the Flumendosa Lake.

Know Before You Go

After paying the entrance fee (€7 per person), find a shady spot to park at the top of the trailhead. Be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes, as the descent is steep and, in some spots, requires light scrambling. Carry snacks and plenty of water, as there are no amenities at the falls. Be mindful that the area also receives spotty cell service.

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