172/377: Oschiri



Today’s journey is easy and almost everything is flat, finally! However I see Tula in the opposite valley and I wonder why I didn’t place it after Ozieri. However, I arrive in Oschiri and from the high street I arrive on the main square, where there is the beautiful church of the Blessed Virgin Immaculate, of a strong orange, and surrounded by palm trees, a beautiful sight. Behind the church a new square, in white stone. I stop to wait for those who will host me.


Shortly thereafter, I meet Gabriella, a woman I met in Telti, and Marzia, the wife of a tour guide, who unfortunately, due to health problems, cannot accompany us. After a coffee we go to pick up Nadia, the woman who will host me for the night, and we get in the car to visit two sites.


First stop, the church of Our Lady of Castro. Marzia guides us through the main structure, in blocks of trachyte of various shades of red-pink and green, and the lateral ones, the walls and the ‘cumbessias’. Here once there was a Roman castrum, hence the name. We are on a small hill and the view extends to Lake Coghinas.

Second stop, we arrive after a little walk in a path that leads us to the little rural church of the Immaculate, and in front of it … the Altar of Santo Stefano, dug out of the rock, one of the most beautiful and fascinating archaeological remains, that I met on this trip, steeped in mystery.


Marzia explains this place to us, she points out the details of the shapes on the rock, dug by a human hand, but whose function is difficult to understand: religious rites? initiation rites? funerary place? place of devotion? No one knows. And maybe this makes it even more magical.


After a tour all around the altar, where there are signs on the rocks around, of various shapes, as well as channels dug into the rock that join the various levels, we take a lunch break, sitting right in front of the wall. The menu includes only one dish: the panadas, a kind of pie, strictly from Oschiri, one type with sausage, one with vegetables. After this sacred picnic, Gabriella takes out her Tibetan bells (the same ones we played at Telti) and places one for each niche in the rock. And we begin to play them, creating an evocative atmosphere in an incredible place.


Once back in the village, I stay in to do some work for a while, and then I go for a walk in the villge to take some pictures. Unfortunately, the museum is closed, here is an important bronze cart, called di Lugheria, found by Alberto La Marmora right at the foot of the homonymous nuraghe. I walk through the narrow streets of the center, many houses made of red and green trachyte. I return towards Nadia’s house, right in front of the beautiful little church of San Sebastiano. We conclude this day at the pizzeria, with Nadia, Gabriella and her daughter, chatting about life.






Path errors. Today I had the impression that I had miscalculated my path. It is not the first time and now I will explain why. Making the complete itinerary on a map, touching the 377 municipalities without passing twice on the same road seemed (and is) practically impossible. Having tried to trace it on the map, without good results, I adopted another technique. I superimposed a sheet of glossy paper on the road map (1: 200,000 of the Touring Club, one of the most beautiful I found) and I plotted all 377 villages, like dots, without a name or number. The only two fixed points were the first, Nuoro, to start from the place of origin of my family, and the last, Cagliari, my birthplace. Removing the road map from under the transparency, I stayed with a sheet full of scattered dots, and I played “joining the dots” just like the weekly ‘puzzle game’ magazine. In this way I have optimized all the distances, without however taking into account roads and above all geographies. Then when I put the road map back down to see if the dots could actually be joined by an existing road, I had to make minor changes. However, I ignored the geography. So Tula, which today I see quite close to Ozieri, in the game of dots was much closer to Erula, and so I put it later in the tour, not realizing that being on this side of the valley, it would have been easier to insert it between Ozieri and Oschiri, and from Erula instead I could go directly to Chiaramonti. Oh well… all experience and knowledge of the territory acquired on my skin, and on my own legs!