The Sardinian shepherd who defeated real estate lobbies and saved his land

Anni di battaglie e di tribunali hanno dato ragione al contadino sardo. Quei resort di lusso resteranno sulla carta

David against Goliath: that told by journalist Nicola Pinna and published in Italian newspaper LaStampa is the same old story. Ovidio Marras, 85-year-old Sardinian shepherd, has been fighting against real estate giants for years. But finally, he won his battle: no construction activities will be allowed on his land and the surrounding area.

Vista di Capo Malfatano.
Capo Malfatano, Sardinia, Italy


No luxury, five-stars resorts designed for wealthy people then. The old shepherd of Capo Malfatano, Sardinia, Italy has saved one of the most beautiful and suggestive places of southern Sardinia from being overrun by 190,000 cubic metres of concrete, thanks also to the support of Italia Nostra, Italian association for the safeguard of the national cultural, artistic and natural heritage.


pastore sardo
Ovidio Marras, in front of one of the buildings under construction


Marras started his legal battle by contesting the authorisation for the allotment issued by the municipality of Teluada and region of Sardinia, and then appealed to the Italian Court of Cassation. The Court recognised the illegitimacy of the project, since “allocation plans did not undergo an environmental impact assessment”, which aims to analyse the impact and compatibility of the entire project with the environment, potentially suggest systems with lower impact, or even privilege the so-called “zero option”, i.e. the non-implementation of the project.

I’m not one of those who dream of living in luxury places. I want to continue to live on this land, and I want it to be kept as it is,” said the Sardinian shepherd. “Some people started calling me a fool, but I didn’t give up. They wanted me to be surrounded by buildings, they wanted to trap me in cement, they hoped I would leave. But now, they’re not allowed to build. It wasn’t acceptable for us to be forced to leave our home and land to make space for wealthy people. This land is everybody’s and I felt I must protect it”.

Translated by

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