I leave early and nonetheless it’s already hot! This week will be tough, not only for cycling but also for the visits to the area. I cycle through the beautiful yellow fields of Logudoro, almost all flat except for the last stretch slightly uphill before arriving in Mores, skirting a ridge of white limestone and carved sandstones, where I see some natural holes and which seems to me domus de janas .
I arrive at Bar Italia where one of the four Becciu sisters is waiting for me, Andreina, immediately joined by her sister Nica. Together they take me to the house where I will be guest of their brother Gianni who lives in Berchidda and who, together with all the sisters, works for the organization of the Time in Jazz Festival … where I will play later in August.
They leave me free in the morning to visit the village by myself. I head to the Town Hall, which entrance is located in a small square with two beautiful ceramic murals by the master Giuseppe Silecchia, Tuscan but who lived in Sassari until his death in 2015. The Mayor Giuseppe, whom I already met yesterday in Ittireddu, receives me, we have a coffee, and then I get back on the bike to wander under a scorching sun.
First stop is the church of Sant’Antonio, with a beautiful square in front of it, formerly the venue for the Time in Jazz concert. Attached is the convent of the Capuchin friars, which I was advised to visit. It’s closed. I ring the bell. No answer. I go away. I head to the church of Santa Croce, in the historical centre. The church is closed, I take this opportunity to see the narrow streets of the center, which unfortunately for me, given the heat, are all uphill.
There are many historic houses, in one I notice a plaque dedicated to the local poet Giuseppe Calvia. Then a small house in which I admire from the windows a series of objects of all kinds: it is the shop of Mastro Cosimo, it’s closed. Next to it there is a small square and a railing overlooking the town, surmounted by the very high bell tower of the main church of Santa Caterina, one of the highest in Sardinia. I go down to the lower part of the village, to the old wash house, where I sit for a while in the shade to recover from the heat.
For lunch I am in the historic centre, in the recently renovated house of Nica, with her husband Tonino, together with the sisters Andreina and Caterina. The salted ricotta is amazing, and also the absinthe liqueur at the end of lunch! The afternoon is too hot to think of doing anything. They take me back to my accommodation where I rest and work.
In the late afternoon Federica, the daughter of another Becciu sister (they tell me that originally there were 16 brothers and sisters!) picks me up A friar from the convent has been called so we head there for a visit. The convent was completed in 1715, next to the church of San Pietro, then changed to Sant’Antonio (a painting in the church depicts the passage of keys between the two saints). Inside there is a beautiful cloister, with a central well, which also shows some works of art by some friars. The friar guides us through the corridors, the refectory, and then a beautiful courtyard with a view to Ittireddu.
We return to take Caterina and we head to the upper area of the village, called Funtanedda, from which you can admire a beautiful panorama. From here then to the church of Santa Lucia, in a narrow valley between the white limestones of Monte Lachesos. Goats climb on one side of the valley, then donkeys meet us on the other side. In the area there are important domus de janas which, however, we are unable to visit due to the high vegetation. The church of Santa Lucia, though not in a good state, is very special. Here too there were concerts of the Time in Jazz Festival.
We return to the village centre, passing by the Funtana Ezza (old fountain) to fill the bottle of water, emptied into the bowl of two thirsty dogs in a field near Santa Lucia. Federica shows me a lot of corners, windows, old houses, many now empty. From here we move to the countryside towards Ittireddu, to see one of the most important monuments in the area, but also in the Mediterranean. We arrive at the Dolmen Sa Coveccada, one of the largest in the entire Mediterranean basin. The monument is protected by a covering against atmospheric agents, but you can enter it, admiring the immense stone slabs. On the left side one slab is dug in a niche, which apparently contained the remains of an important king of the area. The sun is setting and the light across the plain is magnificent. The view reaches up to the mountains of Ittireddu, and its volcano.
The last stop on this long day is the rural church of San Giovanni, an important place for old pilgrimages from all over the area. All around it’s a beautiful green area, overlooking the Logudoro and the mountains around. It is precisely here that this August 12th I will play for the Time in Jazz Festival, which in recent years has chosen this place for morning concerts. I can not wait! A nos bidere (see you soon), Mores.
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
I am near one of the most significant mountains of northern Sardinia, Monte Santo, which belongs mainly to the municipality of Siligo, but its slopes also belong to Ardara, Mores and Bonnanaro. Its imposing appearance with the flat top makes it visible from all the surrounding area, and its name possibly derives from the spiritual aura that this mountain must have had since ancient times. But it is the other mountain of Mores, the Mount Lachesos, that the ancient inhabitants of the area chose for their necropolises. And among many, there is a cavity called Su Puttu Porchinu, which Casalis in his famous dictionary as defines “a large artifact cave where shepherds can sometimes subtract five or six hundred pigs from the storm. From this room you can go further for a long entrance hall.” The mystery of this cave has given rise to tales, one of which is contained in the book The Strangest Stories and Tales of Sardinia, and begins like this: “A swineherd of Mores, one day, while leading the pigs to pasture, inadvertently came at the Puttu Porchinu cave. The pigs, free to run around, had entered the ravine in a row. The young man followed them.” I think I own this book, and certainly after the trip I will read this story to find out what happens inside Su Puttu Porchinu …