Off the beaten track, the territory of Ussassai deserves the attention of travelers curious to discover the innermost, secret corners of Ogliastra.Perennial springs and small streams feed lush holm oak forests and Mediterranean maquis, and the various natural pools created in the rocks or the river bed invite you to bathe or take a relaxing break amidst the sounds of nature.From the village, the road that climbs up the mountain leads to Niala, the isolated locality in the holm-oak wood where a spectacular 19th-century railway bridge crosses the gorge over the San Girolamo stream; the little train that crosses it coming from Arbatax gives passengers unforgettable images and sensations. Just a short walk from the Niala restaurant, the limestone spires, and natural rock pool are worth an unhurried visit. If you are in the area in the right season, try the fragrant apples of Ussassai: a real treat for the palate. A few minutes’ drive separates Ulassai from Osini. The village was built in the 1950s following a flood that damaged Osini Vecchio, which was built one km downstream. This ghost town is worth a short stop to discover among the ruins the signs of the original architecture of the villages of Ogliastra.Starting from the centre of the new village, you can reach the Taccu plateau, a starting point for nature and archaeological excursions. After a few kilometres, the mountain road curves and twists to reach a narrow passage between high walls. This natural monument is called the San Giorgio pass; a widening at the side of the road provides access to the short but steep path, which allows a view of the unique karst monument from above. If you continue by car, you’ll reach the Taccu plateau in just a few minutes, from where archaeological paths lead off, the one to the Nuraghe Serbissi being the most interesting.Less than 20 km from the sea, the village of Ulassai is a destination not to be missed. The road from Cardedu crosses the narrow plain of small plots of land cultivated with vegetables and citrus fruits, climbs steeply up the hillsides dedicated to the Cannonau vineyards, and reaches Jerzu.“The centuries-old winemaking tradition of this centre suggests a visit to the cellars and a stop to admire the wide panorama of the sea.“ From the wine village, after a few minutes’ drive, you arrive at Ulassai.The mountain village is overlooked by the Tacchi, the high limestone bastions typical of Ogliastra that crown the town and give it the magical charm that certainly inspired the artist Maria Lai, who was born here and returned to offer her beautiful works that add magic to the village. The art station is a museum dedicated to her, and for its originality and location, it is certainly worth a visit. Not far away is the Sardinian textile workshop where many of the artifacts come from the artist’s original designs. The cave of Su Marmuri, the treks in the woods and on the plateau, the climbing walls, the beautiful waterfalls active until spring, and the extraordinary views attract travelers who do not opt for the commonplace.From Ulassai, follow the signs for the Sanctuary of Santa Barbara to reach the Lequarci waterfalls, considered to be among the most impressive in Sardinia, with a drop of 50 metres.From Ulassai, follow the signs for the Sanctuary of Santa Barbara to reach the Lequarci waterfalls, considered to be among the most impressive in Sardinia, with a drop of 50 metres.