147/377: Torpè



The same old song “it’s all downhill” today is “almost” true. Before the steep downhill ride however, a nice climb awaits me at the exit of Lodè. I enjoy once again the view of the valley with Monte Albo in front, the slope that I skirted a few days ago to go to Lula, and I begin the strong descent towards Lake Torpè. We are in the middle of the Tepilora park, with the homonymous peak right in front of me.

Once I get to the bottom of the valley, a car comes towards me. “You did it really quickly!” It is Antonimaria Pala from Torpè who will host me and will take care of me for the day. I follow his car and stop on the shores of the lake to take some pictures with the background of the characteristic triangular mountain peak of Mount Tepilora. We continue passing by the Sa Dea pinewood.


When we enter the village, Councilor Martino welcomes me. After a coffee, Antonimaria takes me to the headquarters of the CEAS, Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability (the third one I visit after Perdasdefogu and Siniscola) and proudly shows me the premises, the equipment and the information material regarding the park. Then we walk around the center of the village, where I am shown different murals, to one of which Antonimaria collaborated to the realisation. We would like to go to Monte Nurres, behind the village, from where you can enjoy a fantastic view, but it is already time for lunch and the weather is getting worse quickly.


After a lunch with his wife Rosella and their son Andrea, me and Antonimaria leave the village to visit the Nuraghe San Pietro. Here we are welcomed by Alberto from the Sardus Pater Torpè Cultural Association, who explains to me the beautiful site, not only the nuraghe but also the remains of the huts around, in part still to be excavated. From above the tower I admire all the hills around and I remember that in one of them there is the beautiful B&B L’Essenza, where I stayed a few nights, built like one of those old shepherds ‘pinnets’, but it’s ‘quadrilobate’ (to keep the ‘nuragic’ language).


Left the site, we continue the car ride in the countryside while it starts to rain. Antonimaria reminds me that here in 2013 there was a terrible flood where a woman lost her life. The water overcame the barrier of the Posada river, creating immense damage even further downstream. We pass over what Antonimaria ironically calls Yellow Town, a yellow painted bridge that was originally the dam’s water drainage channel, which has now been intubated and flows next to it.

We return to the village and have just enough time to prepare the musical instruments. In fact, I discover that Antonimaria plays many instruments, the harmonica on all, but also flutes, launeddas and guitar! At the Bar Lai we spend a musical evening, with a nice buffet offered by the owners, joined by guitarist Michele Mastio and singers Alessandro Magrini, Kekko Spanu and his father Andrea, and Giovanni Magrini, who in addition to singing wonderfully also plays amazingly the organetto. I join them on the ukulele and finally I face a genre that I had not yet met on this journey, that of the Canto a Chitarra, of which I gradually begin to understand some secrets during the evening!



Ukulele a chitarra




Antonimaria tells me that only in this area of ​​Sardinia and few other villages the mouth harmonica was an instrument played also by women, hidden from men, in order to train at the dance when there was no male musician available.

Then he tells me that his mother also played it, but always secretly from her husband who was an excellent player. The style of women was very different from that of men. Antonimaria tells me that he has recorded many songs by women who played the harmonica, even by a hundred-year-old woman, and he is collecting them for a future publication. And I discover that Antonimaria has written several publications, and in many other works he also ended up as a featured musician. And with humility, he reveals to me all this in fragments, throughout the course of the day.