I cross the plain under the scorching sun, it seems to be in Africa, in the midst of yellow fields, and I arrive in Ittireddu where Vittorio meets me. He, together with Mariantonietta and Lucia, manages the hotel Monte Ruju, a beautiful old house renovated in a suggestive alley in the historic center where I will be a guest tonight. Once my things are settled I head to the Town Hall, where I am welcomed by the young boys of the Civil Service, Sara, Chiara, another Chiara, Gianmichele, Giovanni, another Giovanni (fewer names to remember!)
We begin our tour in the village at the foot of Mount Ruju. The whole area was dotted with volcanoes of which traces remain in the morphology of this territory. We walk to the beautiful Byzantine church of Santa Croce, and at the edge of the village we reach the foot of Monte Lisiri, what they call here “the volcano”, a hollowed out hill, a pumice stone quarry, very dark volcanic rocks with steps. A very suggestive scenario and with this heat it really seems to be on the edge of a volcano. Back in the centre we visit the parish church of Our Lady of Intermontes, which contains important sculptures by Giuseppe Sartorio (who also made the pulpit) and a beautiful retable.
From here we walk through the narrow streets and arrive at the house museum of Elio, a kind gentleman who makes us visit this historic house full of photos and objects from the past, including a nice little carriage at the entrance. Once out of here we walk out of the village, we pass the ruins of the church of Sant’Elena and arrive at a beautiful site of domus de janas, the Partulesi necropolis. It is very hot and few of us venture into the vegetation and climb the ridge to get to the entrances to the burials. It is worth it, not only for the beauty of the site but also because from up here you can enjoy a beautiful view of the territory, Mount Ruju and Mount Zuighe (at the foot of which I had already been in my Ozieri day) up to the mountains of Pattada and Goceano.
Back in the centre, we visit the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum, right next to the Town Hall. Here the guys of the civil service show me the finds from the archaeological sites in the area, the pre-nuragic ones from the old village of Lavrudu, including a menhir, the nuragic ones from the Nuraghe Funtana and Roman and medieval finds. Another section of the museum is dedicated to ethnographic objects.
It’s now lunchtime and they drive me out of town to the Sa E ‘Padedda farmhouse, on a hill where I admire the whole territory. Here, after taking a bath in the pool to refresh the body and brain, I eat very well, perhaps too much, given the heat. I am then joined by the Mayor Franco who takes me around the area a bit. Franco is an expert archaeologist and I’m glad he is the one who takes me to see the remains of a beautiful Roman bridge over the Rio Mannu, the Ponte ‘Etzu, originally with three arches of which only two remain. Franco also talks to me about his studies and works relating to the Nuragic period, and about an exhibition he curated and which I will certainly see in a few days when I will visit Torralba.
Back in town, I retire to my room at Monte Ruju to do some work, and in the late evening I meet the hotel guys, first for an aperitif at the bar (non-alcoholic for me) and then for an outdoor sandwich, just off the soccer field where a game is taking place. The atmosphere is joyful, Vittorio tells me some ideas they have in mind for the hotel cooperative and wants to offer me beer, but after yesterday, I can’t accept and I only drink water! The light falls on the village, and returning to the accommodation I stop to admire a couple of interesting murals in a small square, enjoying the coolness of the evening and hoping that June will also reserve some rainy or at least cooler days.
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
Ittireddu was the birthplace of Gavino Cherchi, a teacher and writer who was slaughtered on the banks of the Po in Emilia Romagna on the eve of liberation in 1945. The bodies of him and the other people who lost their lives were never found. A few years ago, to remember this figure, the theater show “The Wind – Story of Gavino Cherchi and others missing”, staged by the Sassari theater company Theater en vol was staged right inside the extinct volcano of Monte Lisiri. The director Maria Paola Cordella based the work on “The longest journey” by the partisan’s granddaughter Gavina Cherchi, who tells this dark story. As Theater en vol recount, “the show tells a story closely linked to the themes of freedom of thought and expression, solidarity and democracy” and the intent was to hit the spectators’ emotions. And this seems confirmed by what Maria Vittoria reports to us in her blog flaniereninsardegna.com: “in addition to the symbolic and human power of the story, the idea that this was inside a volcano, that there were fantastic games of light and sound, made the experience profoundly precious”.