Located in the northeastern part of Sardinia, in the Gallura subregion, the municipality of San Teodoro is part of Sassari Province, and lies at the foot of Mount Nieddu. It faces the Tyrrhenian Sea, a few minutes from Olbia’s harbour and airport: whether by land or sea or air, San Teodoro is easily reached from all the main European capitals.
The name of the town derives from its church, dedicated to San Teodoro of Amasea, Roman soldier and martyr of the fourth century AD. Although the first clearly documented traces of the church date back to the seventeenth century, the territory had been inhabited since the Neolithic Age, as finds of prehistoric remains prove: the most relevant is a nuraghe in Naracheddu suburb, of which only a few rows of stones are preserved.
Archaeological finds, on display in the local museum, strengthen the hypothesis of the existence of a Roman settlement, called Coclearia, in San Teodoro.
The history of the territory throughout the medieval period is almost unknown. Some certified documentation on the life in the area dates back to the thirteenth century AD. The territory was then known as Offolle and had become a property of the mainland city of Pisa in the final phase of its history. The latest news about Offolle date back to 1348. Later, probably because of the serious plague which struck Europe, and even Sardinia and Gallura, this community got lost. Travellers and geographers of the fifteenth-sixteenth century describe the territory of San Teodoro and the coastal areas of Gallura as forested and semi-deserted lands visited by shepherds.
Traces of a stable community date back to the sixteenth-seventeenth century, when the area seems to have been populated by people from high Gallura and the south of Corsica, who established themselves in the thick of the untouched woods. San Teodoro d’Ovidde is the name with which this strip of Gallura, congregated around a country church, has been known since about 1700.
The civilization of the Gallurian sheep pens was born, and survived the course of history until the 1950’s. In the 1960’s, a great impulse toward renovation was dragged by the investments of Prince Aga Khan in Costa Smeralda; since then, San Teodoro has undergone an extraordinary urbanistic re-organisation, which has made the centre one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island of Sardinia.
Today the city has a population of about 4,900 inhabitants and its economy is based mostly on the tourism industry, although also agriculture, farming and the food processing industry are relevant. The Gallurian community today continues celebrating its history with rural and religious festivals.
In San Teodoro, the most important celebration is the festival of the patron saint, taking place during the third week of June; two other similar festivals occur in other parts of the region: the festival of Sant’Andrea in the community of Montipitrosu (to the north), celebrated during the first week of June, and the festival of Sant’Antonio of Padua, in the community of Straula (to the south) during the second week of June. On the 16th and 17th of January, a celebration dedicated to Sant’Antonio Abate is called Lu Fuculoni, which means “the great fire”.
For further information: www.santeodoroturismo.it