The social imaginary needs places to exist; it creates them and then feeds on them. One of these places is Barumini, and in that place stands Su Nuraxi, its mythical heart, live and pulsing. Its very name tells us this is not ‘a’ nuraghe, but ‘the’ nuraghe. Not the most ancient, the largest, the best-preserved, the most beautiful in Sardinia. Quite simply, the monument which marked the start of archaeological research in Sardinia. The place where the great archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu discovered the nuraghe in a scientific sense – its physical existence was certainly no secret to the villagers – and established the interpretation framework known as ‘nuraghic civilization’. We can feel the sacred nature of research among these walls. We are welcomed by a dark monument built in huge rough-hewn basalt stone, imposing and massive. A four-lobe nuraghe with an imposing central keep and four towers linked by straight stretches of curtain walls. Another outer ring of walls linking five towers. A large village surrounds it, witness to centuries of life and transformations. Archaic huts and more complex multi-room dwellings lead us back on a trip through time. A timeline running from about 1400 BC through successive phases until the complex was abandoned in the late Iron Age (800 BC). But in Roman times and in the early Middle Ages it was once again sporadically brought back to life.