Today I travel all uphill! It is still hot but it seems that the temperature has dropped a few degrees. I enter a territory that is unknown to me and very wild. As I go up towards the village, the view opens onto what was once the county of Monteleone, under the dominion of the Genoese Doria family. In geologically much older times, this was a volcanic area, a fact testified by the lava plateaus of the area, sometimes resembling real volcanoes. This phenomenon is called ‘slope inversion’: the hills were once the valley floor where the magma settled.
I slowly arrive in the centre of the village where two friends from Cagliari, Isotta and Roberto, are waiting for me. They will host me for the day. Roberto moved here and started working on a farm in Monte Minerva, one of the aforementioned volcanic hills that dominate this territory, where there is a beautiful forest reserve. Isotta followed him and now they live in a small house in the historic centre where I will stay.
In the morning and afternoon I take advantage of not having institutional commitments to rest from the heat. One option was to get to the coast. In fact, this municipality has a beautiful stretch where the Alghero-Bosa road passes, famous for its breathtaking coastal views. Roberto and I are without a car and I don’t feel like doing 16 kilometers to go, and 16 to go back (all uphill since the village is 600 meters above sea level!). Too bad because I miss another beautiful road, which I will have to add to the list of the “great absentees” of this trip, together with the road that connects the village directly with Alghero, the famous “Scala Piccada” where once a time trial rally used to be held.
As soon as the heat drops a little, Roberto and I take a tour of this village that has the term Monteleone in common with the village I will visit tomorrow (Monteleone Rocca Doria). We go up various uphills reaching the high ring road of the village. From here, we dominate all this fantastic territory. Here the Temo river rises, to then flow into the lake going towards Monteleone Rocca Doria. In one of these valleys Federico Fellini shot a scene from the film The Bible.
We arrive up to the Su Cantaru fountain, and we find ourselves at the top of a long staircase that crosses the houses of the town, many with red volcanic stone finishes, in a medieval house-tower style, a bit like those in the historic centre of Bosa.
We pass behind the parish church of San Leonardo da Limoges, then the Oratory of Santa Croce and walk through different noble buildings. We arrive at the beautiful Town Hall building, in red trachyte, but surmounted by a white limestone turret complete with clocks and a large bell supported from an iron structure.
We continue through the streets of the centre, arrive at the beautiful Su Palatu ‘e Sas Iscolas, the old schools, where there is now an ethnographic museum, now closed. And we arrive at a beautiful square overlooked by the civic market building, all in blocks of red trachyte. The sun has gone down and Roberto and I are heading towards a bar to end the evening with a beautiful frozen Ichnusa!
PS the next day, on the road to Monteleone Rocca Doria, I stop to visit the beautiful necropolis of Puttu Codinu, entering some of the domus de janas, and thinking of all the archaeological sites in this area I have not visited, given the presence of nuraghi and of other necropolises. Unfortunately on this trip I can’t see everything!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
The short story of Sestu was entitled Mayors IN mayors OUT, after many often ask me if the response of the administrators have been always positive. By popular demand now, Councilors IN councilors OUT.
Reporting these answers is not meant to be a criticism but a simple observation that not everyone has understood or appreciated my project, not everyone has found themselves in a right or appropriate time to help me, and almost nobody had read my email sent well in advance to the PEC email of the municipality.
In addition, I want to reassure readers from Villanova Monteleone that I usually write these stories on the page of a random municipality … somewhere I had to put them!
Councilor OUT (reported): this guy is clever … asking for a contribution to each municipality he makes money … I think we should do the tour of Sardinia by bicycle.
Councilor IN: we have deliberated 100 euros for your project, it’s really nothing.
Councilor OUT (reported): if we were to host every cyclist who comes and asks us for hospitality we would be ruined.
Councilor OUT: hi, I’ll call you to tell you that I’m really excited about your project, but we are unable to help you. I wish you luck for the continuation.
Councilor IN: We paid in the contribution … if all the municipalities did it would be magnificent, a whole region that collaborates, a real collective project, a dream …
Councilor OUT: you know I am Councilor for culture and I wouldn’t know how to help you …
Councilor OUT: sorry but who gave you my number ??
Councilor IN: as soon as I saw your email I thought we could not miss this opportunity.
Councilor OUT: they informed me of your alleged visit … unfortunately I am not there and the rest of the administration is unable to welcome you because of structures not suitable for hosting you. I’m so sorry, it will be for a next time (PS I slept in a very nice B&b which I paid for, in that village…)