Again, today it’s all downhill! Again today, sun! I fly down to Barisardo on the provincial road and not long after I enter the village. Today I still have no contact here, but Elisabetta and Gerardo from Loceri advised me to go and see the local mill. When I arrive, the owners Antonello and Agostina welcome me. I explain what I’m doing and Antonello shows me the mill, the old machinery and the flour production process (which I also saw at the Zeddiani mill).
Antonello and Agostina put me in touch with Veronica, a councilor to the Municipality, who gives me an appointment at the central church. Meanwhile, Raffaele from Jerzu calls me to tell me that he’s going to take care of my hospitality and that I will be at the San Giorgio hotel. As I walk to the church, someone stops me in the street. It is Cristian, the guy who hosted me in Cardedu, who has a jewelry store right here on the central street. He offers me coffee and takes me inside to see his jewelry workshop, still with old equipment belonging to his grandfather. In short, I arrive in a village without having an idea of what will happen, and within an hour everything has been resolved, and I have too many commitments!
I get to the church of the Beata Vergine di Monserrato where the councilors Veronica and Angelo are waiting for me. Next to it there is also the small church of Our Lady of the Rosary. We enter the large church, where I am struck by the quality of the marbles used for the main altar and those of the side chapels. On the square, very bright, in the shadow of the baroque bell tower, there is a beautiful colored mural representing the procession of Su Nenniri, an ancient pagan rite Veronica explains to me, of Middle Eastern origin, where the statue of San Giovanni is taken from the church to the Tower of Barì together with the Nenniri, terracotta vases decorated and filled with wheat, which are then thrown into the sea.
Bari Sardo was originally called Barì, but to distinguish it from Bari in Puglia it was renamed by King Vittorio Emanuele II. Walking in the well-kept historic center, they explain to me the existence of different neighborhoods, which were separated by rivers, now channeled and covered. Barì was called the land of waters due to the presence of these rivers and various fountains and wells found in many domestic courtyards. The village was hit by several floods, the most serious in 1951, in which an entire family lost their lives. We head to the outskirts and go up a small road to reach the top of a hill, where there is the small church of San Leonardo, all in basaltic stone coming from the surrounding highlands, now deconsecrated. From here I can admire the whole town, with the dome and the bell tower of the central parish, and the surrounding hills.
After an aperitif in company, I head to the San Giorgio hotel, where Raffaele joins me for lunch. I am pleased to meet again the person who took care of my hospitality in Jerzu, and now also here. We leave each other with the hope of seeing each other again soon, and once I have arranged my things in the room, I take the bike and cycle the few kilometers that lead to the Torre di Barì and the beach. I leave the bike leaning against a rock, I lie on the warm sand behind the rocks just below the tower, and soon after, when I wake up, I find Elisabetta and Gerardo, who hosted me yesterday in Loceri, looking at me! Haha !! Together with them we turn around the tower, admiring the view of the beautiful beach and the two sides of the promontory.
Shortly afterwards the councilors Veronica, Angelo and Francesca join me again, to take me by car to the Teccu basaltic plateau. This was a volcanic area, and the traces of the nearby mouth of the volcano can be seen in the basalts, which in some places have traces of rapidly cooled lava flow. After a little walk we arrive at the Sellersu nuraghe, one of the many in the area. All around there are signs of Nuragic huts. We climb to the top and admire the coastal panorama, and the Cea beach in the distance, with the pink stacks that stand out from the sea.
It starts getting dark, I pick up the parked bike and cycle my way back to the village. I go to work, and for dinner I am invited by Antonello and Agostina, the owners of the mill, to the restaurant L’Imperfetto, where we eat delicious seafood! I go to bed happy to have spent another full day, started without any contact or expectation.
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
Shortly before leaving from Bari Sardo, the jeweler Cristian offers me a coffee and remembers of this guy, Luca Amaduzzi, from Tuscany, who produced direction arrows for bicycles. Luca lives in London, but his father Carlo has lived in Bari Sardo for more than forty years and manages the Domus De Janas hotel near the Torre di Barì. Cristian calls Carlo, talks to him about my project and asks him to contact his son Luca.
PS a few days later I contact Luca, who is happy to give me a set of Winglights arrows, this is the name of the product. I am already in Tortolì and I am kindly driven by Maurizio to the Domus De Janas hotel, where Carlo welcomes us, and presents us with the Winglights, a beautiful product, whose latest Winglights 360 model, in addition to being arrows, are also lights, white forwards, red on the back, operable independently of the arrows. Carlo gives me two sets, and I (secretly) give one to Maurizio. Then he proudly shows us the rooms of the hotel, now closed for preparations for the season.
Luca, 34, was born in Florence, grew up between Florence in winter and Bari Sardo in summer, studied economics and now lives in London. It is by cycling in this city, where I myself lived as a cyclist for several years, that he became aware of the dangers of cycling, and of the usefulness of being able to signal the intention to turn without risking extending an arm. This is how, together with a partner, he designed and perfected the Winglights, founding CYCL, also thanks to the victory in the BBC’s Drangon’s Den program, a competition between young entrepreneurs.
Maybe I’ll meet Luca the next time I’m in London, even though with Brexit he’s more likely to bring his company back to Italy! I’ll have to try the Winglights 360 next time I ride in the dark, rare in this journey in which I travel only in the morning. But in the stretch of tunnel between Tertenia and Cardedu I really would have needed them!