Detailed sheets

Church of Santo Stefano

The church of Santo Stefano is located in the Balaiana region, a few dozen metres from the Palace of Baldu, outside the court, in an arrangement often used in medieval towns (fig. 1); it is possible to find similarities with Gallura country churches of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, as it is characterised by a single chamber, without an apse and with a sloping roof (fig. 2).

Fig. 1 - Luogosanto, area of Santu Stevanu: site plan of Lu Palatzu di Baldu (Graphic reconstruction by C. Cocco).
Fig. 2 - Facade of the church of Santo Stefano (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

he structure is made of granite with an arch which divides the nave internally; the masonry altar leans against the back wall and above, there is a niche in which the marble cult statue is placed (fig. 3). Underneath there is a walled marble inscription which reads Santo Stefano Protomartire.

Fig. 3 - Luogosanto, Church of Santo Stefano: interior (photo by Unicity S.p.A.).

It is possible that it was built over an earlier medieval church: this hypothesis is supported by the usual orientation to the east and by the presence of other walls near the nave. Moreover, the dedication to Santo Stefano binds it to the Villa de Sent Steva in the curatoria of Balanyana mentioned in a document of 1358: the inhabited area must have been close to the palace and not far from the place of worship.

The church is still used to celebrate the festival dedicated to the saint, which is held on the second Sunday of May.


  • R. CAPRARA, A. LUCIANO, G. MACIOCCO (a cura di), Archeologia del territorio. Territorio dell’archeologia. Un sistema informativo territoriale orientato sull’archeologia della regione ambientale Gallura, Sassari 1996, p. 289.
  • P. BOFARULL Y MASCARÒ, Repartimientos de los Reinos de Mallorca, Valencia y Cerdeña, in Colección de documentos inéditos del Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, XI, Barcelona 1975.
  • J. DAY, Villaggi abbandonati in Sardegna dal Trecento al Settecento: inventario, Paris 1973, p. 123.
  • F. FRESI, La Gallura, in M. BRIGAGLIA (a cura di), Le chiese nel verde: architetture religiose rurali nella provincia di Sassari, Sassari 1995, pp. 125-143.
  • A. MURINEDDU, Gallura, Cagliari 1962, pp. 115-117.
  • F. PINNA, Luogosanto, Palazzo di Baldu e chiesa di Santo Stefano, in L’Alta Gallura, territorio, cultura e tradizioni, pp. 9-13.
  • F. PINNA, Un villaggio medioevale nel cuore della Gallura, in Almanacco Gallurese, 10, 2002-2003, pp. 77-84.
  • F. PINNA, Una testimonianza del culto di San Simplicio nel territorio di Luogosanto (Olbia-Tempio), in Theologica & Historica. Annali della Pontificia Facoltà Teologica della Sardegna, XX, 2011, pp. 329-346.
  • S. PIRISINU, Repertorio, in M. BRIGAGLIA (a cura di), Le chiese nel verde: architetture religiose rurali nella provincia di Sassari, Sassari 1995, pp. 157-189.
  • T. SELIS, I castelli medioevali tra storia e leggenda, in AA. VV., Luogosanto. Storia e vita, Sassari 1969, pp. 23-28.