Again today, for the last time, I leave from Sassari to reach Muros, another village in the Coros, the region near Sassari. I re-cycle along the road of the past few days, for the third time,crossing Tissi and Ossi, to realise only later that I could change and cycle the steep and sinuous descent called Scala di Giocca, at the bottom of which is the famous abandoned cement factory on the 131 highway, and the train station of the old Ozieri-Chilivani-Porto Torres line. I leave Ossi and cycle along the limestone ridge to reach Muros shortly afterwards, on the slopes of Mount Canechervu.
Here I meet my friend Gian Piero, saxophonist of the Sardinian Jazz Orchestra, with whom we collaborated years ago on a project. Together we meet the vice-mayor Elena and a councilor, who welcome me by giving me some books, and wish me a good day in their village. Gian Piero settles me in his house and I know it’s going to be a relaxing day. The tour of the village includes a walk, to discover characteristic corners and some murals representative of the local. We climb to the higher area of Muros to reach the base of Sa Rocca Ruja, an archaeological site that is currently unreachable due to the dense vegetation that blocks the road, where there is a hypogean burial halfway between a domus de janas and a giants’ tomb.
We go back, passing by a beautiful fountain from the 1800s, and arrive at the municipal park, which remains under the limestone ridge, and we walk its main path, in the shade of the trees, which then brings us back to the edge of the village. Here we visit the church of San Gavino, Proto and Gianuario, and then the outdoor municipal amphitheater, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view over the whole valley below, and the hills beyond, up to Osilo.
In the afternoon, I meet the archaeologist Nadia Canu, from Muros, who I met by chance in a mountain road while pedaling towards Nulvi, and with whom we talk about archaeological heritage of Sardinia over a coffee. Soon after with Gian Piero we get in the car to take a ride in the surrounding area. We go along the road that leads to Florinas, passing through Cargeghe, my next two municipalities, and we reach the Florinas quarries and the church of Sant’Antonio of Ossi, to then take the road that returns to Muros from the top of Mount Canechervu . The view is beautiful, both in the direction of Sassari and in the east direction.
Back in town, Gian Piero and I dedicate ourselves to the activities we know how to do better: first a good jazz session in his study, and then, together with a group of friends, a colossal meal and drink, a “ziminata” not to be forgotten (zimino is a typical dish of the Sassari area, a mix of lamb or roast beef offal).
with Giampiero Carta on tenor saxophone
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
I regret not having cycled on the Scala di Giocca road to come here today. I would have traveled a historical stretch of the oldest uphill race in Sardinia. And to remember this historic race, born in 1924, every year there is a gathering of vintage cars that usually meet in Piazza d’Italia in Sassari to leave for Osilo, passing from the Scala di Giocca, from Ossi, Muros, Cargeghe, Codrongianos and Ploaghe. Last year there was also the election of “Miss Volante”!
The other reason why I regret not passing through here is that I would probably have seen the abandoned cement factory located at the base of the Scala di Giocca. I learn from the consultation of the beautiful site www.sardegnaabbandonata.it that the cement factory opened in 1957, passed a flourishing period of production in the 60s and 70s, then an inexorable decline until its definitive closure in 2010. It remains a large structure of industrial archeology, that hopefully one day will be restored and made accessible to the public.