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Situated just 28 km. from Oristano and in the Rio Mannu valley, Arborea is surrounded by numerous farms, roadways, eucalyptuses, poplars and pine trees. All of this vegetation holds the sandy ground together. The whole area was classified as a pre-desert area in 1931, when the city was established.
Today Arborea is a town with over 3000 inhabitants but in the past, it influenced the architectural environment of most centres throughout the province of Oristano. Between the X and XIV Centuries, Sardinia was divided into four small states inherited from the Byzantine jurisdiction. Each state was called a Giudicato because it was managed by a Judge (giudice), a sort of governor and prince.
The Giudicato of Arborea held out for a long time, past 1400, until the arrival of the Aragonese in 1417 when the whole area was submitted to Oristano's Marquis and the Lords of Goceano.
One of the most well-known Judges was definitely Martino IV, who had experts write in the Sardinian language the famous "Carta de Logu". The Carta de Logu is a collection of legislation and was completed by Martino IV's daughter, Eleonora, Judge of Arborea. This collection of rules was inspired by Italian law and spread throughout Sardinia, remaining effective up to the XIX Century.
In 1919, Arborea underwent important changes regarding political and urban planning. The marshland to the area south of Oristano was reclaimed. In 1937, due to the drying up of Sassu's big, salted pool, about 3000 hectares of land was reclaimed for livestock and agricultural use. Today the landscape comprises rows of cultivated fields, bordered by trees, modern stables and canals. In the 1928, during Fascism, an area called Mussolinia was built in the middle of the reclaimed territories.
Since 1945, after the end of the Second World War, the name of the village was changed to the current Arborea. New farms were assigned to farmers coming from Veneto and Emilia Romagna; only a few went to Sardinians. These new farms were enlarged and connected by a roadway network. Cereals, vegetables, watermelons and strawberries started to be cultivated and are still typical today. Also to be noted is the production of wines (red and vermentino) and the local gastronomy characterised by roasted eels, mullets, cheese and dairy products.
The most interesting area is the centre of the village, with its buildings and its mixture of architectural styles dating from the late Liberty period of 20's to the neo-Gothic period. There are green areas and grounds everywhere. The most beautiful garden is situated in Maria Ausiliatrice Square in front of the Church of the Cristo Redentore.
The Palazzo Comunale (city hall) is definitely worth seeing as well as the Archaeological Museum that conserves numerous findings from the near-by Necropolis of S'Ungoni.
As the years go by, Arborea is becoming more well-known to tourists not only because of its history, but also for its beautiful beaches and facilities such as restaurants, hotels and a centre for equestrian and hiking activities.
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