The first part of the route is an internal road that was recommended to me to shorten by 5 kilometers, but really hard uphill! Once to the top and reunited with the road 389, I continue with a light up and down through the woods until I reach the ridge that overlooks the 131bis road. From here I can see again the territories from which this journey started: Nuoro and Monte Ortobene, Oliena and Monte Corrasi, up to the territories recently crossed, Dorgali, and the villages around Monte Tuttavista. By the way, I am very close to the starting point of the project, Lollove, a suburb of Nuoro, just a few kilometers from here!
Once arrived, Giovanna and Peppino welcome me. The latter is a guide who will take me to visit the area. The first step is the sacred well of Su Tempiesu, so called not due to relevance to the word “temple” but because the land belonged to a tempiese (someone from Tempio.) Once down the steep path, in the company of the dog Arturo, we arrive at the main structure, impressive, the first and perhaps the only sacred well of which the upper part that covered the well remains, a sort of temple with a sloping roof. This narrow valley faces towards the territory of Lula, and was called Janna Lugulene (the gateway to Lula). Here the bronze statue of a singer was found, with thick lips and African features, to testify to our ancient origins, as well as the ancient origin of singing in Sardinia.
Once back, we head to Nunnale, where there is an impressive granite monolith. Unfortunately the day is overcast and the rain prevents us from getting closer. By car we arrive in the territory of Sa Matta between Orune and Lollove, where once upon a time bandits found refuge among the cavities of the granites. We are on a plateau, rich in scattered granite rocks and cork oaks. Here stood the ancient Roman city of Sant’Efis, which we cannot visit because of the rain.
Back in the village, we are joined by Sandra who will host me tonight. At Ninuccia’s bar a nice lunch is waiting for us, with the appetizers ‘cocconeddos de recottu’ made by Ninuccia herself for the occasion! Here Giovanni joins us, the president of the Pro Loco. And some nice stories start to be told! Firstly on some famous characters from Orune: the writer Bachisio Zizi who in his ‘Erthole’ tells the saga of an Orunese family, among other things related to Giovanni; the jurist and writer Antonio Pigliaru; the astrophysicist Ciriaco Goddi, who just yesterday (an incredible coincidence!) was on the front pages for leading the research team that photographed a black hole for the first time; the Orunesu family (you don’t get a surname more authentic than this!) who looked after the garden and kitchen of Audrey Hepburn in Switzerland; the famous contemporary painter-shepherd Bonaria Manca, who emigrated to Viterbo as a young woman. And they tell me about “All the honey is finished” by Carlo Levi, a literary itinerary in Sardinia where he also talks about Orune.
In the afternoon, after having been in the hamlet of Su Pradu to visit a park of granite and woods in which the nuraghe of Sa Mandra is inserted, we dedicate ourselves to visiting the center of Orune. Sandra proudly shows me a series of staircases (the village in fact rests on the side of the mountain and the parallel streets at different heights are joined by long and steep stairways) that the boys from the Suor Michela Dui oratory with some women of the village have painted in various ways, an operation of street art to give color to the greyness of the steps: the stairway of peace, the welcome staircase (at the entrance to the town) and others.
On one side of the village is Sant’Andria, a granite peak where legend has it that the devil Sorramala was exiled, and here he founded his house and then Orune! There is no trace of a devil today (perhaps…) but of churches: the one of Santa Maria della Neve with a beautiful granite bell tower, and the smaller one of Santa Caterina.
After the tour we head to the headquarters of the Incantos choir, whose members are almost all present. Here I tell my adventure, I play the ukulele and answer the questions of my attentive audience. After this meeting we all move to Sandra’s home, to continue an evening with pizza, wine and more stories and anecdotes!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
When he was a boy, Giovanni fell into a hole in the ground where the sacred well of Su Tempiesu was, then digged out by the archaeologist Godeval Davoli. No one better than he can tell stories and characters of Orune.
The most beautiful (and disturbing) story is that of a lay priest from Orune, who was shot but did not die, and was chased and stabbed several times until his death. After this episode a series of strange facts began to happen to later priests: during a mass a lectern and a missal flew away without explanation, a fact that was seen by people still alive; a chair was removed by an invisible hand from under the seat of a lady who fell to the ground; church bells played without reason by themselves; someone saw a figure at the window of the parish house where only the priest lived, but the latter was celebrating mass, and so on. In the area of Marreri, a strange figure was spotted walking around with a white horse (the same one the priest had when he was killed). In light of these facts, one night a meeting was held between priests, some exorcists who came from neighboring villages, and perhaps even from further afar. No one knows what happened inside the church, but from that night meeting the strange episodes ceased. Maybe the devil Sorramala was involved in all this?
At the end of the evening Giovanni reads one of his poetic text dedicated to Orune. The phrase that strikes me the most is: “in Orune there is no concept of ‘ancient’ because what was there is still there”.