163/377: Monti



Today’s journey is pleasant, short, light ups, slight descent, under a beautiful sun and fresh air enough not to sweat too much. I taste the blue sky and the very green Gallurese countryside, the colors of the flowers that start to come out, amidst the scattered granites here and there.

I arrive in Monti and I stop in a square where Domenico from the Pro Loco soon joins me. After leaving the bike at his office, we take the car for a tour. First inside the village where we pass the parish church of San Gavino Martire, which façade has been rebuilt but which preserves a beautiful original granite bell tower. Next to it is the beautiful Town Hall building. From this upper part of the village you can also see the other church, San Giovanni, on the other side of the village, also rebuilt next to the old church that remained not far away.


We pass by the Cantina del Vermentino, the excellent wine produced here, and Domenico shows me the lawn below which there are oak barrels for barricaded products. Here in Monti there is also the winery that won the Wine Italy award for the best red wine in Italy. From here we then leave the village and go up to the lookout, where there is a statue of Christ that overlooks the whole territory: the imposing Mount Limbara, Mount Pino of Telti where I was yesterday, the plain of Olbia, the islands of Tavolara and Molara, and all the territories which I have already traveled.


We continue to drive up towards Alà dei Sardi (I am worried about the long climb that I will have to do tomorrow!) And we arrive at a beautiful plateau, with scattered granite boulders and more sparse vegetation. Then, continuing to drive and passing the small hamlets, we head to the country church of San Paolo, set in a narrow and very green valley, a thick wood of holm oaks and olive trees. Going up the steep ramp we arrive at the entrance of the church, very ancient, in granite, and we enter, admiring the statues and flags dedicated to the Saint. In front of the church there are fountains where we drink.

We continue towards the forest reserve of Monte Olia, thick with woods, holm oaks but also many pines. Here flows the S’Elene River which marks the border with the territory of Alà dei Sardi, of which we see the high mountains behind. We arrive at a small oasis, the small lake of Sa Toa. There are around 7 apiaries all around, where bitter honey is produced, mainly of arbutus, which is present here in large quantities.


Once back in the village, Domenico and I have a frugal lunch at the Pro Loco headquarters, bread, sausage, cheese and tomatoes. In the afternoon I remain alone, at the hotel i Due Compari, in meditation while my grandmother’s funeral is held in Cagliari. Then I return to the center of the village to catch some glimpses of photography, the wide streets, the granite houses, an old granite fountain. Once back at the hotel I try to resume my work, interrupted for a few days, while I think of Einstein’s sentence “Life is like riding a bicycle, to stay balanced you have to keep pedaling”.






Among Domenico’s stories is one of the fugitives of Gallura, Barbagia and Baronie who went to the rural church of San Paolo, given his hidden position, to meet their families. For those days the authorities, knowing that a certain number were there, they turned a blind eye. All this ritual stopped after a man died during a fight. Since then the law enforcement no longer granted these family meetings in this place.

Domenico is part of the Choir of the Confraternity of San Gavino Martire. At lunch he tells me about all the places where they went to sing, in Italy and abroad. And it makes me listen to some songs that they sing, in particular a Ninna Nanna by the Nuorese Tonino Puddu, beautiful. He tells me when they started singing in Lourdes and people turned to look at them and listen to them in amazement, or in some places where people always asked them to sing the Deus Ti Salvet Maria for its beauty. The members of the choir like singing so much that every occasion is good, everywhere, often even at the airports. Especially when there are flight delays, so as to distract the nervous passengers, while the airport assistants thank them!