Today is another horrible day. What happens this year? We are in May! I cycle the short distance between Santa Maria Coghinas and Valledoria with a typical British drizzle and a sky with black clouds and I arrive at the Hotel Ariadimari, welcomed by Marco and his sister Monica, friends of Alberto, my geologist colleague who hosted me in Sestu. Alberto wanted to take care of this overnight stay and he will reach me in the area tomorrow.
I settle in the room of the beautiful structure, and from the first floor I admire the beautiful swimming pool, dreaming of being able to dive and instead I take a nice hot shower. I take the time to work a little, then I decide to ride my bike and reach the beaches. First of all, I arrive in San Pietro a mare, where the little church of the same name is located, and the beach, which borders the mouth of the Coghinas river. On one side I can even see the promontory where Castelsardo stands, but the mountains behind are covered with very low clouds.
Then I arrive right at the river mouth, practically on the opposite side of the point I reached in my day at Badesi. Here is a kayak center that runs along the river. And from here also a boat goes up the river, today unfortunately not in activity given the day. I therefore stop at the adjacent bar L’Alta Bhanda, whose owner Giosuè is also the one who manages the boat. It is clear that this small corner right at the mouth of the river is a paradise with better days. In front of the bar many moored boats. I stay here for lunch and work all afternoon.
After a while Marco from the hotel joins me to take me around. We return to the coast, first in the locality of Maragnani and then in La Ciaccia, to admire the beaches. Too bad that today is a gray day and the coast more than Sardinian looks like Breton. I take photos, but Marco shows me the photos of these beaches and stretches of coastline on amazing summer days, and it really looks like another place. He tells me that perhaps it is not the case to put these gray photos, but I explain to him that unfortunately my journey is like this and that it also represents the passing of the seasons in the places. After all I don’t believe that there are photos of this coast in these conditions, at least I will have the honor of being the first to have documented it like this!
Then we enter some roads, before returning to the village. Marco tells me the story of the Stangoni family, and leads me to see different remains of their farm. Remains of the walls of the buildings with the little church of San Giuseppe behind, then in a land, visible in the distance, the manor house, now abandoned, and the remains of more modern establishments. Nearby, in the hamlet of La Muddizza, is the church of Nostra Signora di Fatima, very particular in form and materials used, which I will see tomorrow on the way to Castelsardo. We conclude the evening in a pizzeria where Diana and Monica, respectively Marco’s wife and sister, join us. And once again people I have known only for a few hours become familiar and take care of me in the best way. (PS tomorrow I’ll find out from Alberto that they didn’t want anything for my overnight stay).
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
Ancient ruins, less ancient ruins. In antiquity, right here at the mouth of the Coghinas, there was the river town of Ampurias, a name known to the people of Cagliari as myself for the nightclub in the Marina, and less known for its original meaning. During the Giudicale period Ampurias dominated the whole area and was the capital of Anglona. Slowly, however, the town went into decline and around 1400 it disappeared completely, giving the role of capital to Castel Genovese, today’s Castelsardo. The name Valledoria is given in the sixties with the establishment of the Municipality, in honor of the Doria family who had control over the area in medieval times. Before that it was called Codaruina, from Coda (periphery) and Ruina (ruins … probably of Ampurias).
Less ancient are the ruins of the Stangoni farm, owned by a family from Aggius, who settled near the mouth of the Coghinas at the end of the nineteenth century, a swampy and unhealthy age, to find lands where they could develop activities. However, the head of the family Pier Felice was killed by rival landowners, and the children, after studying in Tuscany, returned to resume their paternal activities. With some funding from a Tuscan industry they managed to expand the possessions, building a liberty style villa and the small church of San Giuseppe. The company produced artichokes, tomatoes and wheat and there was also a tobacco factory. After the war the factory was then built for the canning of peeled tomatoes. Unfortunately, in the 1960s the economic boom mortally hit the company it closed, leaving its remains in this area, a bit ghostly, surrounded by fields of artichokes.