Today is a slightly longer route, about 25 kilometers, on a bendy and solitary road between Romana and Giave. I don’t cross a single car, and instead when I cross the entrance of an open sheepfold I have to stop to face the Maremma shepherd dogs who come to meet me barking at full speed. Luckily, I have learned by now and after a short “push and pull” battle I can start cycling again! I am uphill now, skirting Monte Traessu, with its over 700 meters high, and I begin to feel the heat. Once at the top, I plunge down towards the plain where the 131 highway passes, and I cycle a flat stretch up to the last kilometers of heavy uphill towards Giave.
Fortunately, the appointment is at the swimming pool set up outside the schools, where the Mayor Maria Antonietta, vice-Mayor Luciano and Councillor Maria welcome me. Here are a large group of children with parents. We gather them all in the shade of the tent, where I still sweat my adventure and play the ukulele. Once finished I put on a bathing suit and jump into the pool! A lot of food was also brought, prepared by the Mayor herself, and the morning goes by like this, between a bath and a succulent dish, while the children impatient to bathe again, chase a ball in the courtyard.
When the temperature drops, in the late afternoon I am in the company of Danilo, a collaborator of the Municipality, who takes me on a nice tour of the village. We start from the war memorial in a beautiful dark basalt, representing a nuragic warrior. A beautiful building with murals overlooks the square.
We walk down to the playroom, on whose external wall there is a beautiful mural painted by the children themselves, and we arrive at the lower part of the village, which overlooks the whole Logudoro. A magnificent view. I stop to observe all the territories I already visited, the Monte Santo that stands out among all, the volcanic hills, the Valle dei Nuraghi.
And right here in front stands Sa Pedra Mendalza, in geological language a volcanic “neck”, the magma solidified in the mouth of the volcano that erosion has left in evidence. It is said that in ancient times this rock was the home of the fairies, the “janas”.
We begin to go up towards the upper area of the village, passing the pine forest and arriving at the Sanctuary of San Cosimo, with its sober white facade. Across the hill, a former quarry has been filled with water, forming a pond. Not far away you can see the forest lookout, which watches over the whole of Logudoro. We pass the sports field and arrive at the beautiful church of San Sisto, in white limestone, surrounded by the pine forest.
Back in the village, we walk through the historic centre. Many houses are of basaltic stone, often with very porous basalt ornaments, typical of this volcanic area. We pass the church of Santa Croce, with a beautiful entrance, inside which the statue of San Sebastiano is being prepared for this weekend’s celebrations, too bad not to be here! Also because in correspondence with the ceremonies for the Saint, S’Ardia takes place, a typical horse race.
We cross the Piazza Olmo, called “piatta ‘e s’umulu” and we arrive at the beautiful Gothic-Catalan church of Sant’Andrea. I am struck by the beautiful bronze door, a gift from Monsignor Lauro Nurra, a Giavese priest. We end the day with an aperitif at the bar. Danilo also tells me about the Nuraghe Oes, in the Valle dei Nuraghi in the Giave territory, which should open its doors to visitors in early August. Too bad not being able to see it, it will be a right opportunity to return to Giave.
And then, totally by accident, I discover that Danilo is the cousin of a friend from Cagliari who lives and works in New York. And despite the time zone I decide to call Carlo by videoconference, and therefore the aperitif is extended from Giave to New York … shame that the voices of the other customers prevent us to hear a word, but nonetheless it is nice to just see each other from the other side of the Pond!
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Mayor Maria Antonietta is a heartfelt supporter of the free zone in Sardinia, so much so that her requests to establish the free zone in Giave have now passed from the regional level to the national level. As I got closer to Giave I heard more and more about this Mayor from various people, until today I met her.
Maria Antonietta took excellent care of me. I find that the house with the murals facing the square with the war memorial is her home:
“On the left is Don Campus, he was a relative of my father and he gave me the house because, for several years, I took care of him and his three sisters; after his death, I slept here. On the right is my husband Stefano Lampis, who passed away on April 2, 2011, he was 43 years old and was beautiful, a marble worker, a hunter, a diver. Finally, on his right Don Campus’ mother, Tzia Maria Antina, who made many sacrifices, asked for alms to help her son study in the seminary”.
She made me stay in a special house for the night. At the end of the day I receive a voice message:
“That house belonged to my maternal grandfather Giovanni Marongiu. My grandfather was a farmer. He became a very young widower and raised five children, my mother Giovanna Maria was the oldest, and she weaved, weaved rugs and sold them with her little sisters, to earn some money. Then my grandfather had a pig, and someone even stole it. They were in the utmost misery, in the most absolute misery, imagine what a family. This was their house, my brother Alessandro renovated it. Alessandro is a young but talented architect, now a partner of the Polytechnic of Florence where he works. I wanted to give it to you for this day because I know you will bring me luck. You were welcome today, you’ve been nice, sincere, generous and a cultured guest, who will leave a piece of heart and culture in our home. A big kiss. Maria Antonietta.”