On this hot morning, a series of cheese factories, now a symbol of the area, welcome me to the outskirts of Thiesi. I have an appointment with Stefano and Maria Giovanna from the Siendas cooperative, which is dedicated to organising cooking, weaving, art and botany workshops and more.
We meet at the Town Hall and taking a few steps away, we find ourselves on the side of the limestone ridge on which the Town Hall stands. I already saw this view from the road coming from Cheremule. A whole series of domus de janas are there, just below the Town Hall!
We get in the car to go and visit another domus de janas site, the necropolis of Mandru Antine. This time I am amazed. The interior of some caves is impressive, decorated ceilings and walls, with important symbols, such as the original ocher-colored taurine protome, or some mysterious spirals.
We then head to the Santu Ainzu farmhouse, a real estate that once belonged to Duke Manca dell’Asinara, then bought by a noble family from Thiesi and now owned by a lady who manages it.
It is here that the Siendas cooperative uses some spaces for their traditional cooking workshops with the use of a wood oven. Not far from here there is also the Romanesque church of Santu Ainzu, not in very good condition, a furnace for the production of lime and limestone quarries.
We move further to go and visit a beautiful oak forest, where we find refreshment from the heat wave that increases! We walk up to the remains of a nuraghe all built in limestone, and then we go back to the village, where the vice Mayor Salvatore is waiting for us for a visit to the famous Tanda e Spada pasta factory.
Here, as already happened to me in other production factories, I go around the plants, where malloredus, cicioneddos, fregula and other traditional pastas come out and where one of the owners explains to me the type of processing and the slow cooking to obtain high quality products.
Before lunch, we also manage to visit the old prisons with Sa Torre de Palattu, right next to the Town Hall, where we find some refreshment inside the old cells. And we end the tour by visiting the museum dedicated to the works of the famous painter Aligi Sassu, born in Milan from a Thiesine father.
Here there are works made with countless techniques, all very colorful and inspired by these territories, where he spent a few years of his life, and in a room also a large mural that represents the assault of the troops of the Duke of Asinara against the inhabitants who had refused to pay him the tributes.
In the evening, with Salvatore, we visit the historic centre, full of murals. We arrive to the old church of San Giovanni via a staircase. The church is on a slope and hidden by vegetation. We go back up to the church of the Madonna di Seunis.
Here there is an important wooden statue, found in this place overlooking the whole Meilogu. It seems that once the statue was found it was brought to the parish church of Santa Vittoria, but for some mystery the statue always returned here (would it be the aliens?) Then a church was built here to house it.
The evening ends with the choir Cunsonu Nostra Signora De Seunis which also includes Salvatore. The ‘cunsonu’ way of singing, totally new to me, is a typical style of this area, with four voices, with a unique repertoire. They sing to me some of their repertoire, including a Maestralina, a type of serenade used only in Thiesi.
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
It may have been the mystery of the Madonna of Seunis or something else, but certainly Pierluigi Ribichesu, writer from Thiesi, had a great imagination in pulling his novel Treatise X out of his hat.
The protagonist of the book is an alien who, after living for more than fifty years on the planet Etra, decides to return to Earth where he is hosted by the Americans in area 51. Here the character, thanks to the approval of the President of the United States, will create a ghost brigade, with the contribution of alien technology.
Pierluigi, as confirmed by the members of Cunsonu, is a fan of aliens, UFOs and other mysteries related to our planet, and it seems that his book is not entirely the result of his fantasy. In fact, it seems that some UFOs were really sighted in the Thiesi countryside. Who knows, maybe tonight I shall see someone landing nearby from the windows of my b&b!