Today I travel with friends. I was contacted by Andrea “I’m the one you crossed and greeted on the road going to Dorgali. Me and the girls of the MBK Orosei Group would like to come and pick you up at Onifai to take you to Orosei”. So the group come in Onifai, where we enter to take some photos, when a lady comes out of a door, recognises some girl and returns with a basket of candy for everyone! And the noise attracts other inhabitants!
We are able to leave and cycle along a short but busy stretch of state road before arriving in Orosei. Here Pietro welcomes me, who has organised my day and of whom I will be a guest. After crossing the beautiful old town, made up of narrow streets and arches which we pass (from below), we stop at the Town Hall for a quick salute to the Mayor, then to the Smeralda ice cream bar for a quick aperitif (not so quick!) Then we get back on our bikes for a little tour.
We leave the village, cross the bridge over the Cedrino river and after a little way we arrive on the coast, at the little church of Santa Maria. Outside, from a small terrace with an altar for outdoor ceremonies, we can admire the beach and the whole mouth of the Cedrino, Orosei with the limestone mountain behind it and the entire Gulf of Orosei to the south. We return towards the town along the river and climb a steep hill to reach the church of San Gavino, all built in basalt, coming from the surrounding hills, the same ones that surround Onifai. Even from here you can enjoy an excellent view of the coast. We end the tour with a detour to the Nanni pastry shop owned by Rosa, one of the group’s cyclists, who offers us sparkling wine and handmade desserts of the day!
Reunited with Pietro, his wife Bianca and his son Lorenzo, we are all guests for lunch at Antonella’s restaurant Su Barchile, another cyclist of the group. The lunch is of excellent quality with a phenomenal seafood pasta! At this point I am very full, and sleepy, but the afternoon is full of events. Pietro shows me his bar by the beach The Gasoline, ready to open for the new season, then we visit one of the famous marble quarries, at the foot of Monte Tuttavista, very precious marble sold all over the world. Here Pietro’s brother works, and we manage to get in and take some photos right from the edge of a quarry front. The view towards the bottom is impressive, since the quarry develops in depth for a hundred meters.
The next stop is the Don Giovanni Guiso museum, right in the beautiful historic center of Orosei. Here we are welcomed by Elisa who guides me through the exhibition of beautiful models of theatrical opera scenes from all over Europe and collected by Guiso. In addition to these, the museum contains old and valuable stage costumes, an exhibition of drawings, including some by Pasolini, Guttuso and Papi, and a collection of antique books from the 1500s onwards, as well as the first original editions of the works by Grazia Deledda.
When we go up to the top floor of the building, I hear the sound of female voices. It is the Urisé choir that welcomes me with beautiful music. As soon as they finish, I greet the director, Daniela, whom I met about twenty years ago at the Nuoro Jazz summer workshops, and I tell everyone about my journey, leaving room for curiosity and questions. We conclude by playing together No Potho Reposare. We then move to the Rector’s House where a reception buffet is held and additional music awaits me with the trio Etnos and with Giacomo on the organetto, 13 years old, son of Daniela, excellent player!
It’s time to go again. Pietro takes me to see the procession that is taking place in the town center for the Via Crucis. Between one station and another we can also see the beautiful little church of Sant’Antonio Abate, in basaltic stone, and the medieval tower in the front square. When the procession ends we head to the oratory of the beautiful church of Santa Croce where the homonymous Brotherhood offers us wine and salami. It is now dark and the center of Orosei is fascinating, with its churches and its orange lights. We are also able to visit the old prisons that are currently open, an ancient renovated building. From the third floor you can admire the night view of the town.
The last stop is a visit to the home of Tore Mula, the voice of the Tenores Antonimilia, which also includes his son Francesco, who contacted me via Facebook. They welcome me with a series of songs, and from the first note I am struck by the very high quality of these voices. Once again I find myself trying to separate the various voices and their harmony but I just can’t do it, the chords they produce are so in tune and rich in harmonics that they sound like a single and compact block, I would say like the square ones of the marble quarries, but the grain of their voices reminds me more of granite!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
On this trip I cannot avoid the various recurrences of the year, and during this period near Easter the rites of Holy Week start more or less everywhere. Pietro is keen to let me witness the Via Crucis, and despite the fact that over the years I have lost interest in the meaning of religious ceremonies, I am always intrigued by observing the devotion of the faithful and the diversity with which it manifests itself on various occasions and in various places.
Pietro explains to me about the existence of three Brotherwoods in Orosei, the Holy Cross, the Souls and the Rosary. Today that of the Souls, whose members are dressed in red tunics, carry the statue of the Madonna while the members of the Holy Cross (of which Pietro is a member) have white tunics and carry Su Ziommo (the statue of Christ) around the various stations and small churches of the town until being deposited in the church of Santa Croce, where the Via Crucis ends with a celebration accompanied by songs ‘a concordu’. This happens for 6 weeks in which the confraternities take turns carrying the statue of the Madonna while Su Ziommu (there are five different statues that alternate from week to week) is always carried by the Holy Cross. Only during the Holy Week, last before Easter, the three confraternities parade together.
PS When I leave Orosei again, Bianca, Pietro’s wife, gives me a rosary, “even if you don’t believe in this, it won’t hurt you, take it as a protection for your journey” she tells me. And I welcome it with gratitude, I put it in the front bag of the bike, where now I am accumulating so many small gifts of the kind, or even small objects that I find on the street and that attract my attention … and I must admit, they all worked … I have not punctured my tires once!