/ Reviews / Pietra di Luna
Review by Keith Sharples on 25 April 2003
the definitive guidebook for a whole country,
in this case a medium-sized island, that covers
sport climbing, trad. climbing and bouldering,
in an informative and yet inspirational stylee
is a tall order. And yet, with this guide to Sardinia,
that’s just what Maurizo Oviglia has attempted…
and for the fourth time.
how has he done? Well not half bad as it happens,
but first let me put the climbing on Sardinia
year I spent nearly four weeks there in total
and managed to climb at over a dozen crags in
three completely separate areas across the island;
the ‘popular’ areas in the east (Cala Gonone),
the middle (Isilli) and the southwest (Domusnovas).
By the end of that I was starting to think that
I’d made a dent in what Sardinia had to offer.
Checking out this latest edition it looks like
I was wrong; way wrong! Of Pietra di Luna’s 387
pages, I’ve managed a scattering of the routes
at 13 crags which account for a measly 38 pages.
Just on the page count alone that’s only about
10% of what Sardinia has to offer. Factor in that
I could easily spend the same time again at those
places I’ve already visited and I figure that
I’ve got more like 95% left to go at! I am therefore
in awe at what both Sardinia and Maurizio Oviglia’s
Pietra di Luna has to offer. I’m a fan of both
the climbing and the guide. For me photos add
enormously to a guide and very few of these disappoint.
There is one photo (at least) for each crag. And
when I say that virtually every second page is
either an action photo or crag shot, then that’s
not at all a bad hit ratio. The rub though is
that the space available for the rest of the guide,
the crag descriptions etc. is severely restricted.
‘touchy-feely’ writing that accompanies many crag
intros becomes more than a tad overbearing. It
adds little and wastes space, but the guide has
been translated from Italian so I suspect that
something has been lost (or added) along the way.
the vast majority of crags, Maurizio gives a crag
topo and a one-line entry per route. You get a
name, a star assessment, a grade, a height, the
protection type, the first ascensionist and year
and a brief note on the route’s principal characteristic(s).
Star rating is over-cooked in places and it becomes
difficult to tell the good three star’ers from
the average routes without doing them all. Then
again, some routes are absolutely the dog’s bollocks
and should be on everyone’s tick list and get
crag topos are variable, some being pretty poor!
Take Tina delle Tigri (Tiger Cave to you and me)
at Domusnovus – a stunning crag but a really crap
topo. The lines on it are completely indistinguishable
from each other on the wing walls of the cave
and a much better job should have been done to
reflect the importance of the crag. Similarly,
the topos for Pietra Filosofale at Isili and Biddiriscottai
at Cala Gonone are both pants; way too small for
the crags. And the topo for Cala Fuili, one of
the most popular crags at Cala Gonone, has 130
routes at nearly 20 crags shown on a simple one-page
map. What’s all that about? Let’s hope the fifth
edition gets it sorted! Inevitably, including
bigger and better topos for many of the crags
will lead to more pressure on the rest of the
guide. If Pietra di Luna is to remain a single
guide to the entire island with every crag and
bouldering spot described, then as much as I like
the photo coverage, this is where the fat would
need to be trimmed. There is no point being fired-up
by a guide if it doesn’t get you to the base of
your chosen route! On a more positive note, the
multi-pitch stuff comes with full route descriptions
and a topo, and the topos for these crags are
also (generally) better than the others – something
of a double whammy.
my reservations about the topos, the guide will
get you there and after a bit of head-scratching
you’ll be alright. You’re not going to be over-impressed
with the info in the guide about where to stay
and what to do on rest days, so make a note of
the one of the more useful websites at www.sardiniapoint.com
that has links to www.rent-sardinia.com
and other useful sites.
Pietra di Luna gets a thumbs-up, but it needs
improvements to get into the first class honours
list. Still what’s 30 Euros for a lifetime of
Maurizio Oviglia's answer
me make a few comments on your review on my guidebook
Pietra di Luna; furthermore I will also try to
answer to your criticism about my guide.
a matter of fact every now and then I keep on
wondering myself at how English people, and believe
me, only English people, disapprove my work. On
the other hand I cannot forget that the English
have been the only people in Europe to write guidebooks
on Sardinia in competition with mine, or in any
case, taking inspiration from Pietra di Luna for
all the information they needed. I do not accuse
anybody, but you will agree that this is a fact.
am ready to take your criticism in good faith,
and, if you give me the chance, I’ll try to explain
my point of view hoping to get this letter published
of all I have been obliged to include all the
crags and boulders in one single guide, obviously
for commercial reasons and supported, in this
choice, right from the beginning, by the editor
Fabula, (that was in 1988) .
now the guidebook contains already 387 pages.
If I were to write a guide as you suggest, I would
certainly and easily reach the 600 pages, which
is, as you can understand, unthinkable for a guide
which is supposed to be also sold (I live on this,
I haven’t got another job). You clearly do not
know the guide CAI/TCI “Sardegna” (not translated),
which might satisfy your expectancies from a guidebook
on Sardinia. Written by me in 1997, it was rewarded,
at the Trento’s Festival, as the best Italian
I do not think I would have had the same luck
in one of your English festivals!
the historical descriptions that you, English
people, see a ‘unnecessaries’ are, on the other
hand, of great importance for Italians, Swiss,
Austrians and Germans. I have received from them
words of appreciation and admiration especially
because they have perceived the character unique
and different of this guide from all the others
on the subject.
is true, as you point out, that I have sacrified
the topos, but this has been a choice, certainly
not due to the fact that I am not able to make
them, but to the lack of space at my disposal.
then, how is it possible to criticize the topo
of one cave where there are 20 routes which cross
each others in the vault of the same cave and
where the name of the same routes are written
at the basis of the wall? Do not forget that we
deal with rock-climbing and not with trad-climbing!
The aim of the topos, in our climbing tradition,
is to help you to get an idea of the place, nothing
as far as I am concerned, in the future I will
certainly consider positively your remarks, trying
to improve the topos. I all the same underline
that the structure of the guidebook has been positively
welcomed in Europe and has had a flattering success
till now, which is very important, for me.
am grateful to you, in any case, for the space
devoted to my guidebook in your web-sites and
in your reviews.