The Bear Rock


Where is the Bear Rock? From the town of Palau take the Capo d’Orso road and proceed for 4.3 kilometers until you meet a bar. Leave the bar on the right for about 100 meters on a dirt road. When you reach almost the end of the white road, turn left through a wooden gate and follow the path, remembering that the rock representing the bear lies on the top of the granite rock. It is advisable, once you arrive at the sighting tower, to continue overthe rocks to the left to see the true image of the plantigrade.

The Bear’s Rock, or geographically called ‘Bear’s Head’, has been shaped in such a way by the winds that, for millions and millions of years, all the fragile parts of the rock have been removed leaving a structure that, seen from a certain angle, resembles extraordinarily the shape of a plantigrade.

The rock was already known since antiquity and was a basic point for all sailors who ventured into the seas of the Gallura coasts and the Boulevards of Bonifacio. Ptolemy gave him the geographic coordinates and referred to the name with which he was then known: ‘Promontorium Arcti’, or ‘Promontorio dell’Orso’.

According to writer Victor Berard, Capo d’Orso is the only resort in the Mediterranean that can be identified with the land of the Lestrigoni, that land where Homer places the landing of the Ulysses in search of food and water for the crew and where the same Greek leader experienced a serious defeat. The episode is described in the Book of X of the Odyssey, and it says that Ulysses landed to supply its three ships in a so-called ‘Artacia’ (or ‘the Bear’), and as he drew the water, he saw standing in the distance between the mountains, a line of smoke, a presage of the presence of indigenous peoples.

As he approached the place, he met a remarkable stingy maiden to whom he tried to speak to, but frightened she shouted for the attention of her men. Led by Antifate, King of the Lestrigons, they were people of anthropophagus (cannibals) and made a banquet of Ulysses’ men who they captured  with their great physical strength, and destroyed two of the ships by throwing them over the boulders, so Ulysses was forced to retreat precipitously with the only boat left behind.