The path of the charcoal kilns

In the summer of 1983 a huge fire burned down the whole forest surrounding La Cerra. After the fire, a narrow path remained visible that climbed straight towards the “Sarra di lu Tassu”. Walking along it, I noticed round terraces built of stone and earth in the most unexpected places. I asked the elders about the nearby stazzi, from whom I learned that they were “chei”, a word that in Gallurese means “coal pile”.


Starting from the second half of the 19th century, the incessant demand for coal that followed the first industrial revolution initially prompted teams of Tuscan charcoal burners, but then also the inhabitants of the stazzi themselves, to exploit forest resources for the production of charcoal. The burning of the cut wood took place in these artificial clearings, built perfectly level, located along the wooded territories. A conical structure was built made of wood logs and covered with grass and earth and, once the combustion had started from inside the “chea” it was fed every twelve/fifteen hours for fifteen days, adding burning embers. Once the fire had been smothered, the coal pit was dismantled, yielding 20 quintals of coal for every 100 quintals of wood.


During the pandemic we started clearing the steep path of vegetation and cleaned up the undergrowth to encourage the slow regrowth of the precious essences (holm oaks, ash trees, cork oaks, strawberry trees, alaterni and filirree). Hard and tiring work, but also exciting and which in the end led to the discovery of fifteen “chei” which today are connected by paths of various lengths and difficulties, the map of which we will give you upon your arrival in La Cerra.