Today it’s a long way, 37 kilometers, and they will be hard. I leave early and for more than an hour and a half it’s a very hard climb, about 600 meters in altitude in 8 kilometers. I cycle up the road that goes to the hamlet of Sant’Anna, just behind Monte Albo. The wind is very strong and in some moments it almost makes me fall and I have to stop several times. I arrive at the water spring of S’Ulidone ‘e Bassu and I stop for a drink, filling the water bottles.
At Sant’Anna I turn in the direction of Lula. I am right on the slopes of Monte Albo, under the white limestone ridge. Every time I drove along the 131 motorway and saw this mountain chain, I always wondered what was on the other side, and now here I am. The view is incredible. To the north the whole of Gallura, an area that I will soon begin to beat, and to me quite unknown. I ride along a false plain, I stop at the spring of Sa Mela to refresh myself with energy given the hard climb, and I continue. Fortunately, the descent begins, along the Monte Albo, but the road is full of very dangerous gravel slipped away from the ridge. I pass some limestone quarries. I am now very late, and the last short stretch for Lula is a slight but steady climb.
I arrive at the b&b Sa Corte Nova where Mariangela warmly welcomes me. She had contacted me since before I started the project and had also come to the inaugural concert for the Nuoro stage, in Lollove, not far from here. By now, it is already time for lunch and we eat a pasta with an excellent sauce and delicious boar meat! Mariangela tells me about the event she recently organised here in Lula, where singer-songwriter Piero Marras presented his new song on the text of the poet Antonio Mura Ena ‘Jeo no ippo torero’ which talks about a boy from Lula who was killed by his bull in the backyard.
Then she lists the rural churches in the territory, but given the wind I decide not to take the bike and I won’t see any of them: the church of the Miracle, San Nicola and San Matteo, whose celebrations are all held in September, period of end of agricultural activity. She also tells me about the procession that starts from Nuoro to the church of San Francesco d’Assisi, but here called San Francesco di Lula. The saint leaves in procession on April 30th night and is carried on foot for about thirty kilometers through country roads, to arrive on May 1st.
In the afternoon I take a tour of the village. I get to the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta, outside of which two windows contain ceramic statues representing two figures of miners, one male and one female. Lula belongs to the Geomineral park of Sardinia, because not far from here there are the Sos Enattos mines, which closed in the 90s and which unfortunately I will not have a chance to visit. I continue along a little uphill road in the historic center, I pass the little church of the Angels, and I arrive at the area called Valverde, where another church rises in a panoramic point from which you can admire the whole town.
Continuing higher up a very steep climb I arrive to see the whole valley that leads to the foot of Monte Albo. Going down towards the main road, I admire other glimpses of the old town, some murals, and I have a chat with some elderly people sitting in the church square … hoping to find Matteo Boe, now a tour guide, but with no luck. When I go back to the b&b I work for a while, in a beautiful creative environment, full of art objects produced by Mariangela, and then during and after dinner we talk about everything, art, writing, environment … and even politics: then I tease her with the question of Sardinian independence and by doing so I considerably delay my going to sleep!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
MAB and MAC. Among the things Mariangela talks to me about tonight there are the MAB, Man and the Biosphere (of which Maria Luisa has already spoken to me yesterday in Siniscola) and the MAC Lula, Museum of Contemporary Art.
The first is a UNESCO program designed to improve the relationships between people and the environment in which they live and to promote eco-sustainable approaches to economic development. The program identifies Biosphere Reserves all over the world, places where the interaction between inhabitants is territory takes place in a sustainable manner. In Italy there are 17 of these reserves, one in Sardinia, the Tepilora-Rio Posada-Montalbo Reserve. There are 17 municipalities: Alà dei Sardi, Bitti, Buddusò, Budoni, Galtellì, Irgoli, Loculi, Lodè, Lula, Onanì, Orune, Osidda, Padru, Posada, San Teodoro, Siniscola, Torpè. Municipalities that I have already visited and others in which I will be in this period.
MAC Lula is a reality that should be born thanks to the will of Domenico Fumagalli, collector and enthusiast of Milanese art, together with his partner Mariolina, from Lula. Through the acquisition of three ancient houses in the center of the village, to be restored and set up as a widespread museum, the couple has the dream of bringing a cultural enrichment, a melting pot, an exchange between opposing realities to this predominantly pastoral center thanks to the exhibition of a collection of important contemporary works of art, which already includes Sardinian names such as Maria Lai, Giovanni Campus, Gaetano Pinna, Antonio Secci, Francesco Alpigiano, Mario Adolfi, Gino Frogheri, Stefano Soddu, Giovanni Canu and many others Italian and foreign artists. We just have to wait with hope for the realization of this museum!