I leave early in the morning. I’m aware a big climb awaits me so I am already well-disposed psychologically. I take the old 125 road that leads to the mountains. Curve after curve the road always goes up until it enters the valley of the Pardu river and I see the limestone heels in front of me. The lands in the river plain that I see under the road are cultivated with vineyards, the famous Cannonau of this area. I arrive at the Genn’e Crexia pass and take the provincial road to Jerzu. On the mountainside you can also see Ulassai, Osini and on the other side of the valley Gairo where I will be in the next few days. I’m entering the heart of Ogliastra.
I pass several Cannonau production headquarters, and then I arrive at the entrance of the village. I go up the main road and enter a bar to find accommodation for tonight. I find the bnb Selu and Alberto comes to get me in the car “I’ll take your luggage, there’s a bit of a climb”. Following the car I understand. Jerzu is on the mountainside and the bnb is right at the top, so I’ll have go up a lot! I settle in a small dependance right next to the wood and a limestone boulder dangerously inclined forward, but as a geologist I trust its position! The view is beautiful, with limestone heels behind.
Alberto advises me to take the Sentiero Italia which passes right under the limestone walls. So I put myself on a bicycle and start to climb, mixed roads, a little bit of tarmac, but most of all stones. After a while I arrive right under the immense limestone walls, and stay here for a while to contemplate the landscape. I have a snack and I do a bit of bike maintenance, then return to the village, flying downhill and admiring the view that never tires the eyes.
In the afternoon I take a tour of the village by bike. I already know that I will have to go down a lot and then go up again. I enter the historic center and I am struck by the narrow streets and the stone steps that often join them. The houses are almost all renovated but some are still visible in stone. I pass next to the modern church of San Sebastiano, and then I return on the main road, which I cycle to the end of the village at the bottom. Here I admire some limestone statues in a square, depicting the emblem of Jerzu, the wine, in its various facets.
I go back slowly, passing next to the other church of Sant’Erasmo, modern, arriving at the Piazza del Comune, with a pretty lookout adorned with benches in front of the war memorial, and then I face the hard climb that brings me back to the bnb. Not far from here there is the old Jerzu train station, closed since 1956, where now there is a museum dedicated to the artist Maria Lai. However, being in the Ulassai territory, I decide to leave this visit for tomorrow. I work in my little house “under the rock” and go to bed without having tasted a drop of Cannonau!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
A very original initiative was born in Jerzu: the nuragic fires. For some years now an event has been taking place called the Sacred Fires of Our Fathers, in which fires are lit in the vicinity of various nuraghi of the territory, Corongiu, Gedili, Erriu Pessiu, Tecodì and S’Omu ‘e s’Orcu, by night, so as to put the different sites in visual communication with each other, and thus reconstruct a plausible scenario of how the ancient inhabitants of these places could communicate.
This event is also taking place in the neighboring municipalities, which have joined the idea in the various editions, thus extending the surface and the connection network between the nuragic sites. First Ulassai, then Osini, Gairo and Ussassai. I wonder if over the years this network will extend. Can you imagine what a night with all the Sardinian nuraghi lit up would be? You would probably see it from space!