Apart from a nice climb to the exit of Teti up to the archaeological site of S’Urbale, the road to Austis is short and downhill. The forest thins out a little, I arrive at a plateau and immediately notice a nice difference in temperature. It’s warm even though we’re always high above sea level. Austis is facing south.
Here there is no mayor but a commissioner. I meet Davide, a forest ranger who with great competence will accompany me and guide me through all the treasures of Austis. Those in the village first.
The historic fountain at the entrance to the village, lowered by a few meters compared to today’s height of the road. Next to it is a fairly disturbing but very beautiful sculpture, by Elio Sanna, representing the suffering caused by fires, suffering expressed not only by a screaming human face, but by all the animals that perish in the flames, the eagle, the boar, the horse.
In the same square there is also a beautiful mural representing on the left side the life and activities of this area before the industry arrived, the latter represented on the right side.
Davide then takes me out of the village, in the surrounding countryside. First to the church of Sant’Antonio Basilocu. The 360 degree view is crazy, from the Gennargentu to the mountains of Oliena on one side, the plain and Oristano, the sea, on the other side.
Then we penetrate the woods, to get to a sort of Sardinian monument valley. Valleys with natural granite sculptures on each side. We walk for a while on foot among shrubs and corbezzoli trees, until you see Sa Crabarissa, an impressive granite spike in the middle of nowhere, the shape of which changes from every angle you look at it.
David tells me the legend associated with this sculpture, that of the woman of Cabras, left here petrified by grief for having discovered the man of Austis that she sought for these territories, married to another woman.
As if this natural wonder was not enough, Davide leads me to see another impressive natural sculpture: three granite rocks hovering on top of each other, Su Nou Orruendèche. First he shows it to me from below. Then we go up the road. “We get on it,” he tells me.
After a walk in the middle of dense vegetation, among small open spaces created by shepherds and coal makers, passing through narrow natural tunnels between the granites, we find ourselves in the back of the three rocks.
Not only. We climb and enter the gap between two of these. In front of us the void, the plain of Abbasanta and the small Lake Omodeo below. I’m shaking. From beauty. But above all from vertigo. It’ll take some time to recover.
In the afternoon an important musical meeting: with the organettist Silvano Fadda, with whom I improvise on Sardinian dances, a territory that is only partially known to me. Between muttos, passu torrau, dillos, and Campidanese dances I manage to juggle well, and the sound of my bass ukulele blends well with that of the organetto.
The long day ends in the Da Valore farm, which the owner Luigi opens exclusively for me, with whom I dine and talk about life, women and other stories.
Inspired by the sound of the organettist Silvano Fadda. Written in the Agriturismo Da Valore by Luigi Zedde.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Davide, 45, is passionate about nature, has seen much of the world, lived in many places but decided to stay here, where he knows every corner of the land, every plant, every animal and every rock (even those that move and those fixed!). In addition to taking care of the territory, as a forest ranger, Davide deals with biodiversity.
He takes me to his house, and proudly shows me his production of ancient, almost extinct bean varieties, which he grows in a totally biological way. In the bags I can admire beans of different colors, white, black, green, two-tone, smooth stripes, striated like shells.
Outside, between three or four dogs barking at me, Davide shows me the vegetable garden where the beans are grown. At lunch I express the desire not to eat meat, after eighteen days of meat diet (as a good culinary tradition of these areas). No problem. I’m offered only vegetables, cabbage, potatoes, a very good and very bitter radicchio. All strictly from Davide’s garden!