I leave Muros and go back on the beautiful road that runs alongside the limestone ridge, pass Florinas and throw myself in the direction of the 131 highway, which I pass over to arrive shortly after in Codrongianos, where the Mayor, also a cyclist, should be waiting for me. I arrive at the bar and I see a nice racing bike outside, I go in and head towards the cyclist. We talk for a long time, but then I understand that he is not the Mayor but a cyclist passing by who stopped at the bar to rest and who perhaps did not quite understand what tour of the village and project I was referring to. Shortly after, the real Mayor, Andrea, arrives, with a mountain bike, and, having said goodbye to Angelo, we can start the tour!
First stop is the famous Basilica della Santissima Trinità di Saccargia, outside the village. Andrea and I go down a breathtaking descent (I’m already thinking about the ascent afterwards …) and shortly after we arrive at the wonderful church, made of black and white stones, which stands out in the small plain. We enter inside to admire the details, the beautiful frescoed chapel, ancient paintings, then we go out in the midst of many tourists, I observe the beautiful capitals in the front porch, and around the church the remains of the monastery. It’s very hot and we take the opportunity to drink a cold drink at the bar beside. Andrea shows me the hills in front, where the Nuraghe Nieddu is located, but we decide not to go up, because it would mean to go in this heat in the middle of the wild vegetation.
We go back up to the village from another side, and cycle in the streets of the historic centre. Andrea often stops to talk to some inhabitants, and finally we stop at what is called “Sa chentina de s’artista”. The artist is Ciccigheddu (Francesco) who has set up a small artistic cellar and pulls us in to taste wine … danger … luckily we manage to free ourselves early and stop for lunch, where I can taste the ciccioneddos, a typical pasta of this area similar to the malloreddus of Campidano.
In the afternoon I start working in the ludoteque, a large equipped space where I will also stay tonight. Then I manage to attend the Corpus Christi procession that winds through the village, with the sacred host followed by four men holding up a canopy, and a large part of the population that follows. Before the procession ends at the church of Santa Croce, where I will meet the mayor Andrea again, I decide to go back to Saccargia, to enjoy this wonderful church with the waning evening light. So I redo the descent and arrived when all the tourists have left. In complete solitude I can pull out the ukulele and play under the churchyard and under a magical light.
I go back up, this time along the same road, a nice hard climb, to return to the historic centre and take some photos. I pass the house of Blessed Elisabetta Sanna, a woman native of Codrongianos in the late 1700s, who when she was three months old lost the ability to raise her arms. Despite this, she married, had children, but once she remained a widow and made a vow of chastity, she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, ended up in Rome, and was never able to return to Codrongianos due to serious physical ailments, dedicating herself totally to prayer and to serving the sick and the poor. I go around the old Carruzu district, with its cobbled streets, and arrive at the parish church of San Paolo. The sun is setting and the view from here on the whole village is phenomenal, with the typical limestone peak in the shape of a beak that towers in the distance.
I arrive just right for the conclusion of the procession, and together with Andrea and friends we take a nice pizza accompanied by fresh beer. Before taking me back to the playroom, Andrea talks to me about his passion for mountain biking, the various races he has participated in, and takes me (now in the dark) to see the park on the outskirts of the village, where the construction of a circuit for mountain bikes is planned.
Live at Saccargia
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
The Basilica della Santissima Trinità di Saccargia was completed in 1116 by the will of Judge Constantine I of Torres, who had it built as a thank you for the vow to the Madonna to have a son, Gonario II of Torres. The church was donated to the Camaldolese monks who founded their abbey next to it. On this trip, I have already heard of this monastic order. Who are the Camaldolese? A monastic congregation created around 1024 by the Benedictine monk San Romualdo. The base of the congregation was located in the hermitage of Camaldoli near Arezzo. From here the order spread throughout Tuscany, and then to other Italian regions, up to other countries such as Poland, France, Tanzania, the United States of America, India and Brazil. In Sardinia there is evidence of the Camaldolese throughout northern Sardinia, which was the Giudicato of Torres, but also in Montiferru, in Bonarcado (at the time Giudicato di Arborea) and down to Monastir. But the Camaldolese were not the only monastic order in Sardinia. In the Middle Ages there was literally an invasion, Benedictines, Camaldolese, Vallombrosani, Vittorini, Cistercians … but these are other stories, or rather other short stories.