Itinerary detail

Holyday of San Sisinnio

The large portal of the Parish of the piazza Santa Barbara, located in the heart of Villacidro’s old town centre portrays the image of San Sisinnio clenching a witch.

A series of ex-voto objects are on display at the Museo d’arte e arredi sacri, (Museum of Sacred Art and Furnishings) across the piazza that feature the locusts that devastated the fields which San Sisinnio miraculously was able to capture.

These two tours introduce the image of San Sisinnio, one of the town’s most venerated saints, known for his miracles, as the saint who protected the townspeople from the terrible witches that wandered throughout the area. There is a sanctuary dedicated to him located in the vicinity. To get there, follow the road leading from Villacidro to the Parco di Monti Mannu. park. At a certain point the street widens and becomes a crossroads where the directions for San Sisinnio are clearly indicated: turn right and after the fork in the road a left turn will take tourists directly to the sanctuary.

The chapel of San Sisinnio stands immersed in the green countryside on a small hill that is visible from the entire surrounding area. Originally, this country chapel was a pagan temple. Its current framework dates back to 1600 but it has undergone many transformations. A painting portraying the saint surrounded by witches can be admired in its interior. Some of these hags are in prey of violent winds and others engulfed in flames. There is a 17th century loggia around three sides of the church made from woven reeds that are held up by stone pillars.

The sanctuary is surrounded by immense olive trees that are thousands of years old, the most important grouping of its kind on the island. Their twisted branches offer a prodigious scenario to the legends of San Sisinnio, protector from the witches that have been handed down from generation to generation. To this day, it seems almost as though they are still here, imprisoned in these distorted age-old trunks. These witches are monstrous, terrible… and caught in the roots of these trees. Their immense and exasperating effort to break free and escape is in vain.

I villacidresi dedicano a San Sisinnio una grande festa che si celebra la prima domenica d’agosto ormai da quasi 400 anni. Le celebrazioni in onore di San Sisinnio hanno inizio il venerdì che precede la prima domenica di agosto. Nei quattro giorni in cui si svolgono i festeggiamenti, le reliquie del Santo vengono portate in solenne processione a piedi verso la chiesa campestre, accompagnate da una scorta di cavalieri armati che, per tradizione, le difendono dagli abitanti di Serramanna i quali, nella notte dei tempi, “rubarono” i sacri resti.

The citizens of Villacidro have been offering San Sisinnio a great holiday that has been celebrated the first Sunday of August for almost 400 years. The festivities in the saint’s honour begin on the Friday before the first Sunday in August. During this four-day holiday, the relics of the saint are brought to the country chapel in solemn procession, escorted by armed knights who – by tradition – defend the relics from the townspeople of Serramanna who “stole” them many centuries ago.

The evocation of this place with the grove of age-old olive trees surrounding the chapel, the many legends about the saint and the wealth of colours, music and chants make this commemorative event “sa festa manna”, the most important and heartfelt celebration of the local and non-local community. The faithful celebrate for three days, singing, dancing and banqueting together in the shade of these gigantic olive trees surrounding the chapel. The most exciting and evocative moment of all is the Mass celebrated Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. in front of the churchyard in an atmosphere of powerful sentiment and communion between the hundreds of participants. After Mass, an ancient tradition dictates that the faithful be served su cumbidu, coffee and a biscuit.

We would like to suggest to our visitors to learn more about this by reading Dessì’short story published in the collection Un Pezzo di Luna. (A Slice of the Moon).

Route type:
by car to reach the Park and sanctuary

Travel time:
full day

Geographic map


To be seen

Church of Santa Barbara

The Church of Santa Barbara, along with the Church of the Anime Purganti (Purged Souls) and the Oratorio di Nostra Signora del Rosario (Oratory of Our Lady of the Rosary) form a triad of churches that overlook the main piazza of the townand it is Villacidro’s oldest church (13th century).

Museum of Sacred Art and Furnishings

The Museum of Sacred Art and Furnishings was established in 1998. It is located in the rooms of the Oratory dedicated to the Vergine del Rosario (Virgin of the Rosary) and is one of the few examples of permanent exhibits of its kind on the entire island of Sardinia.

San Sisinnio Church

The numerous archaeological finds from the Nuragic and Roman ages found in the surroundings, however, testify that the site was a "magical" place and particularly suitable for religious celebrations since ancient times.