Today, a few kilometers … the sentence that makes a friend of mine crack down with laughter because I too often use it as an introduction! But what do you want me to say, when you do the same thing every day for a year it’s hard not to be repetitive, either it’s ‘a few kilometers’ or ‘a long way’, either it’s ‘all up’ or ‘all down’ or a mix of the two (but NEVER, and I repeat NEVER ‘all flat’, as in most cases the local inhabitants tell me), either it is ‘British weather’ (very much so this year) or ‘a beautiful day’ (very few…sigh!)
So I proceed in the direction of Galtellì, today (a beautiful day …) almost all downhill (hahaha), admiring the majesty of Monte Tuttavista in front of me. I arrive in the village, I enter the streets of the beautiful historic center of this ‘Authentic Italian Village’ and the councilor Laura and guide Marzia welcome me to the Town Hall, with whom, after leaving my luggage at Pasqualina’s b&b Santu Pretu, we immediately go to visit one of the most important places of this territory, the Castle of Pontes, built in the Judicial period.
We climb the steep slope on foot and arrive at the ruins, passing also the remains of nuragic huts. From here on you can enjoy a fantastic view, the whole Cedrino river valley, with the three villages on the other side waiting for me in the coming days, Loculi, Irgoli and Onifai, and Monte Tuttavista behind, on which stands clearly visible a Christ bronze crucifix. Once back in the village we go to visit the domus de janas next to another castle, Malicas-Guzzetti, which is now a hotel. In the characteristic and well-kept streets of the town there are plaques with verses by Grazia Deledda. We are in fact in the Literary Park dedicated to her. Her famous ‘Canne al Vento’ was in fact set in Galte (Galtellì itself).
In the afternoon, we take a tour of the churches. First the church of San Pietro, described by Deledda in her novel, built where a Roman necropolis was located. History has it that a cathedral had to be built here. It was started and never finished, only a large wall remains. Instead a smaller church was built, today well restored, inside which there are very ancient frescoes with stories from the old and new testament. Then we visit the central church of the Holy Crucifix in which we find some beautiful wooden statues and an organ of the ‘700.
We finally stop at the Sa Domo ‘e Sos Marras ethnographic museum, a beautiful renovated house, where Salvatore, the president of the Pro Loco, guides us through the various rooms set up with the furniture and objects of the past, and the beautiful courtyard where he still find tools of work activities of the past.
At the end of the evening the Mayor Giovanni Santo joins us, with whom we go to have an ‘aperitivo’ in the Domo Asara, a former convent of the mercy that now houses part of what was the cellar of Zio Battistino. His grandson Giampaolo welcomes us to this authentic place, where time seems to stand still, among dusty bottles, barrels, presses and more. After a couple of glasses of Cannonau, San Giovese and Nebbiolo, we walk through the even more suggestive streets with night lighting, inhabited with ghosts.
An elegant ghost
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
Up at the Castle of Pontes Marzia tells me how there are legends about this place, and mainly one linked to its last owner and inhabitant, Baron Guiso. This was also masterfully narrated by Grazia Deledda, who in her ‘Sardinian Legends’ tells of hearing this story from a woman from Orosei.
It is said that the ghost of the Baron still wanders, restless and sad, among these walls, and in the surrounding territories. Legend has it that a farmer, on the evening of his return from the countryside on a cold day, saw an elegant figure walking around the castle. This stopped and asked the farmer for the wood he was carrying to heat his castle. The farmer brought it to him without accepting the reward the gentleman offered him and left.
Some time later in the village, the inhabitants became aware of the growing wealth of the peasant, who had to admit that from that first time, he often returned to the castle to bring wood to the invisible inhabitants, being always rewarded by the Baron with bags of gold coins, and thus confirming his great generosity. There is also another legend linked to the castle but I do not reveal it, you can find it in the writings of Deledda!