Today, a few kilometers but all uphill! The day is sunny but cold and very windy, and the windward climb is not the best. I arrive at the Lanusei sign but before getting to the center there is still a lot of climbing to be done within the town, characteristic of all the internal Ogliastra villages!
I arrive at the church square where I receive a great welcome, with a banner ‘Welcome to Lanusei’, by a group of councilors and two journalists. A counselor is Maria, my former colleague at the University, who organized a super day for me! Together with Betty, Simone and Francesco we immediately go to have a coffee at the bar, and once out in the square we enter the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, of the ‘600, although traces of human settlement have been found since the Nuragic era. The interior has been completely redecorated and makes a nice impression. There is a beautiful triptych by Mario Delitala, an artist I have already admired in his native Orani.
We walk along via Mameli, what was once the old High Street, where many old buildings overlook. We arrive up to the Town Hall and then we go up again from the Via Roma, also rich in historical buildings, some very well kept, and with marble plaques that recall the landowning family, or famous guests who stayed there.
At this point we take the car and drive up the mountains behind the village. We arrive almost at an altitude of 1000 meters, at the Seleni wood. Here is the Nuragic site of Gennaccilli. We enter and visit first a couple of tombs of the giants, impressive for their good conservation, and then we move into the nuraghe, unique in its kind because it was built against pre-existing granite boulders, with an absolutely unique structure, and all around the huts, also incorporating granite boulders.
We walk for a while in the dense wood with granite boulders scattered here and there, sometimes incorporated into the roots of the trees, and we arrive up to a rocky outcrop that overlooks the entire valley below. Another perspective of this panorama that I have admired for some days now, but always different. We move up to another vantage point from which we can admire Mount Tricoli and the entire valley below, on which they are planning a thrilling descent on a cable that from the tip should lead to the other side of the valley.
We return to the village, or rather the town, and we cross the historic center again, made up of narrow and winding streets, to get to the railway bridge, which passes over a series of urban gardens, where some citizens still grow fruit and vegetables and breed some animal. On the side of the mountain at least five rivers flow, all well channeled, one of which is the one we are passing. We walk along the stretch of railway, enjoying a beautiful view of the village and we arrive as far as the little station of the Trenino Verde, with the original waiting room of the time!
After a lunch at Maria’s house, based on typical Ogliastra dishes, culurgiones and casu axedu (sour cheese), I can take an afternoon nap, before going to visit the civic music school. Director Simone warmly welcomes me and lets me visit the various classes where the lessons take place. I can play with different students and teachers. Here, I also find two singer friends, Claudia Aru and Martina Garau with whom I improvise on a jazz standard.
When I am taken to the bnb Barigau I am already tired but I can do some work, before going to dinner that Tonino organised for us in a room just below the central bar. There is a large group of people, of whom after a while, miraculously, I can remember all the names (even though now that I write I have forgotten them all!). We eat and drink happily, and in the end I can also play the ukulele, connected to a mini amplifier that someone has accidentally in the car!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
In one of the historic buildings on Via Roma, the Piedmontese Alberto La Marmora lived for a certain period, a very important character who wrote the famous Voyage en Sardaigne, a great source of inspiration for this trip. This titanic work is divided into three volumes, the physical and human Geography of Sardinia, the Antiquities and the Geology. Each volume describes in detail the aspects taken into consideration, and it must be said that La Marmora passed long periods of his life in Sardinia, and dealt with a bit of everything, geology, botany, archeology, costumes and customs. His is the first measurement of the highest peak in Sardinia that takes his name, Punta La Marmora, 1834 meters, in the territory of Arzana.
In my journey I often think about how long it would take to note all the aspects related to all these disciplines, and to do it methodically. From day to day I sometimes focus on different aspects, sometimes geology, sometimes archeology, sometimes customs, and the more I tour Sardinia the more I see a huge diversity, not only between one area and the orther, but also between one village and another, which would need a lifetime to be recorded. But this is not the intent of my journey. I limit myself to observing what I find in my passage, and somehow transferring it into musical impressions. At the end of the journey it will be hard to combine all this diversity into one piece of work!