216/377: Torralba



A couple of kilometers of route only to get to today’s village, where the Mayor Vincenzo with Mariantonietta, Geronoma and Rossana of the Pro Loco are waiting for me. They will take me around on this umpteenth hot day (and we are only in June!).

After a good coffee we get in the car to go and visit one of the most iconic nuragic sites in Sardinia: the so-called Nuraghi Valley. We leave the village and descend towards the sunny yellow valley, the territory of former volcanoes, in the direction of its most important monument, the nuragic palace of Santu Antine. Here we are received by the people of the La Pintadera cooperative that manages the site. We start the tour in this somehow magical place, despite the mounting heat. The nuragic tower stands out dark against the blue sky, and we enter it, to find some refreshment (the nuragics knew how to build heat-proof well!. The rooms are beautiful, especially the central one, very high, but what strikes me most are the corridors connecting the towers, whose beauty is intensified by a beautiful lighting system. The only similar place I have seen is the Voes nuraghe in Nule, with beautiful corridors, but unfortunately in a state of partial abandonment. From the ramparts we can admire the Nuraghi Valley in its entirety, and by sharpening the view I begin to count one, two, three … four … five! And maybe many others looking more carefully.


It is precisely in the middle of the valley that we go once we leave Santu Antine. We pass the rural church of the Holy Spirit, built next to the remains of a nuraghe, and we arrive up to the Nuraghe Ruju, a nuraghe unfortunately not excavated, but equally majestic of Santu Antine. Even from here it could come out who knows what an important touristic site, if only it could be made visitable!


Once back in the village, we visit the archaeological museum, where I can finally admire a series of finds from the archaeological sites in the area. Unfortunately, the most important finding, the famous pintadera found in Santu Antine, is found here in copy, while the original is at the Sanna Museum in Sassari. But the amount of exhibits on display is still impressive. There are also finds after the nuragic, Roman, medieval, and I am lucky that this month there is the exhibition “Navi Traffici Mercati. Sardinia in the Mediterranean routes between prehistory and Roman times” born from an idea of ​​the mayor of Ittireddu Franco Campus with whom I was a few days ago, by the archaeologist Nadia Canu, with whom I also was a few days earlier in Muros and by Giovanni Romano. A beautiful exhibition of reproductions of finds, model ships, maps and a beautiful tactile section.


After lunch I can rest a bit at the Sa Domu de su Re b&b (“The King’s House”, which is another name for the Santu Antine palace) and then, when the afternoon turns into evening I go out into the streets of Torralba. Today the San Pietro Procession takes place, the patron saint of the village. While I have a coffee at the bar I see the procession passing by and follow it for a while on the main road, surrounded by elegant buildings, with door and window edges made of basaltic and limestone stones, black and white, a common pattern in these volcanic areas with limestone residue.


I leave the procession to see the church of Santa Croce, with beautiful stone details on the facade and on the sides, and then I walk on the cobblestone streets of the historic center, where there are many ancient houses with beautiful stone details. I visit an interesting stone fountain and then the beautiful wash house, and finally I arrive at the San Pietro church, the destination of arrival of the procession, where mass is being concluded. The evening ends right here, with food and live music, where they leave me a space to play a song on the bass ukulele, and returning to the b&b I enjoy the night view of the alleys and beautiful houses of this Meilogu village, hoping that tomorrow will be a bit cooler.



The nuraghe valley



The famous pintadera of Torralba has become one of the distinctive symbols of Sardinia and its millennial history. The function of this object is not yet very clear. It is thought that similar items that have a handle on the back may have been used as a sort of stamp to mark other items. Many specimens like this, however, lack a handle. Some studies hypothesize that these were objects used as solar and lunar calendars (it has been discovered that in most nuraghes, in the two solstices, summer and winter, the light of sunrise or sunset enters the central tower exactly from the line of another of the towers).

Wherever the truth lies, we know that today this fascinating starry image is used as a logo, sometimes with the addition of some colors, as for example by the Fondazione di Sardegna, an important institution that promotes the socio-economic development of the Sardinia. It is also thanks to this foundation that many cultural realities in Sardinia can go on in their activities, museums, exhibitions, events (I think of all music and literary festivals), local publishers and various other initiatives.

So long live the pintadera of Torralba, provided that the Sanna museum in Sassari reopens its doors, perhaps thanks to the help of the Foundation, and that this jewel of antiquity can be visible and admired by the general public again!