Today I travel uphill for a while, until I reach a green plateau full of wind turbines. The weather has finally improved, a few scattered clouds still stain the sky, and the temperature has risen.
Shortly before entering the village, Paola joins me, who will host me at her family’s home. I leave bikes and luggage, I meet her parents Vanni and Rita, and the two little dogs Vinca and Penny, and after a coffee Paola and I take the car to start the visit of the territory.
We head towards the hamlet of Lu Littogheddu and after climbing a steep road we arrive at the paragliding take-off runway. From here people jump towards the plain below, towards the hills around Castelsardo and the sea. I get close to the edge, the view is incredible.
From here we move to visit the beautiful waterfall called Pilchina di li Caaddaggi, immersed in the green of a forest, where our arrival saves the life of a snake that was being attacked by a predatory bird which escapes as soon as it hears us.
We then visit the church of San Pancrazio, on a hill, and with two-colored stones, white limestone and red trachyte, unfortunately shut because it was doubly damaged, first by a lightning in the 1990s and then by a storm. We continue towards Lu Padru where we visit the homonymous nuraghe also called ‘white’ because it is made entirely of limestone. Next to it is a deep canyon among the limestone that we cannot reach due to the high vegetation.
After a good lunch at Paola’s house, and a quick nap, we get back in the car to visit the village centre. Paola explains that there was a village in Spelunca, a little lower down towards the Rio Silanis, a tributary of the Coghinas, and that it was probably abandoned in the 600s during a plague. Sedini was born further up, set between the two limestone hills of Maglina and Lu Padru. Many houses were built on limestone, some even inside!
We walk along the square and the small park of the war memorial, where houses overlook the rock, and we arrive at the imposing domus de janas, right on the main street, excavated in a huge limestone block that was heavily modified in later times. It is possible to see walls that close it and even windows. These spaces were in fact real dwellings, and inhabited for most of the ‘900. Here the Ethnographic Museum was set, which we visit, where the various rooms of the caves are reconstructed as they once were. In the lower part, the original burial chambers have been kept. Not far from here there is also a place that I was advised to see, the Enchanted Garden, a place that contains works by the deceased painter and sculptor Paolino Sanna. Unfortunately we cannot find the widow, to open the place, reason to return to Sedini!
Climbing a stairway among the rocks, we arrive at the beautiful Piazzetta della Mola, so called because once the grain was brought here to be ground. We walk through the beautiful historic centre, where the streets are called ‘Carrela’ and in which there are some beautiful historic buildings, as well as old renovated houses. We visit the parish of Sant’Andrea and then the church of the Rosario where some frescoes of the ‘600 came out during he restoration of the walls . We are in the neighborhood of Cabucossu, the oldest, and right next to the limestone rim of the hill.
The last stop on this rich day is in the Rio Silanis valley. Not far from the river stood the church of San Nicola, of which today only the walls all in white limestone, the apse and part of the façade remain. The inside is very suggestive, uncovered and therefore well lit, with the remains of the columns. From this point, among other things, he also sees the beginning of the canyon, bordered by limestones.
We conclude the evening in the company of Paola’s family, little dogs included, with a dinner as good as lunch and a nocino and a myrtle made by Vanni, which make me fall asleep instantly!
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
While Paola and I walk through the streets of the center and then through the countryside, and I try to photograph places, foreshortenings, landscapes, I talk about some difficulties in making perfect photos. There is always a parked car that cuts the facade of a church, of a beautiful portal, or street signs hanging from a nice building wall, or even on church facades, light stands that obstruct the view, and cables, cables everywhere. Then there are interesting things inserted in situations of degradation, weeds, waste, unfinished building or ruins. Then Paola mentions me to the ‘third landscape’, a concept that I didn’t know and on which I’ve just done some research.
In Sardinia we have fantastic, incredible natural landscapes, often without any trace of anthropization, for miles and miles. Then there are the man-made landscapes, and here the concepts of the first landscape come into play, natural areas managed by man, such as the forests managed here by Forestas, then the second landscape, or cultivated areas and all the environments created and shaped by the man, and finally the third landscape, theorised by the French Gilles Clément, unused, untidy, abandoned, degraded areas, such as railway embankments, abandoned construction sites, disused dumps. The only positive note of the third landscape is the presence of an extraordinary biodiversity, which we see as weeds, insects but in reality holds many varieties of plant and animal species.
Going back to the photos, making perfect photos is difficult, due to the third landscape and a little aesthetic sensitivity, even in many historic centres and when one succeeds, there is often something less beautiful not framed next to the subject. There is a fantastic app called Retouch that I often use to remove cables that too often cross the framing of the facade of a building or a church. But does it make sense to try to take perfect pictures?