My itinerary has already had some inaccuracies and today is one of those days when I have to break the rule that I had set myself at the beginning of the journey, that is not to go over the same road twice, at the cost of making longer or harder routes. Unless I want to climb over one of the hills behind Semestene and pedal off-road (which in the past has proved disastrous with my bike) I am obliged to take the road that leads me to Pozzomaggiore.
I arrive at the entrance sign of Pozzomaggiore and luckily the road to Cossoine is immediately on the right, before I even cross any house, so it is as if I had not entered it. Heartened I go up to Cossoine, passing the nuraghe Alvu (white) on the right, so called for its characteristic of having the lower part in dark rock and the higher part in white limestone. Once I entered Cossoine, the Mayor Sabina, the Deputy Mayor Massimiliano, Councilors Piero and Alice and the guide Mariangela welcome me … all there for me!
The morning is long and full of visits to important naturalistic and archaeological sites. The first stop is at the Mammuscone chasm, a very deep natural cavity that suddenly opens in the middle of a field. The mouth of the chasm is fenced for safety reasons so I can’t take a close look, but the mere view of the vegetation that pops out of nowhere leaving a glimpse of a black void makes the chills come, especially if you think of the legend they tell me, that is that in ancient times prostitutes were thrown here, as well as the elderly (I have already found similar stories related to several of this “falling” places).
We continue to the archaeological area of Aidu-Corru ‘and Oe, a park where there are two nuraghes, a beautiful giants’ tomb and the remains of a Roman villa. We walk among the ruins, we enter one of the beautiful tolos, we contemplate the panorama around, made of volcanic rocks and limestones. They tell me that here are the largest caves in the province of Sassari, Su Peltusu, still under exploration.
The last stop of the morning is the beautiful church of Santa Maria Iscalas, all of white limestone, like the lithology of the hill on which it is located. We enter inside, a perfectly cross plan if it were not for an extension on one side, however also very old. At the center of the cross is the pyramidal dome, and on the walls some paintings of the Middle Ages and a symbol that seems to open the umpteenth mysteries that I have already found in various archaeological sites, from alleged Nuragic symbols to alleged Templar symbols.
We have plenty of food at Mayor Sabina’s home, and in the afternoon I rest in the house which was kindly provided to me by Loredana, who like many on this trip, although they didn’t know me, contacted me through word of mouth of friends and granted blind trust in order to support the project. We hope one day to get to know each other, since Loredana was not in town today!
In the late afternoon I am expected in the municipal swimming pool for a musical story of my trip. Everyone is there, even people who have been following me up to now on Facebook and whom I meet for the first time today! After the event we all go around the village with the colors of the sunset. We start from the new, colorful outdoor amphitheater, and cross the beautiful public gardens, enriched by sculptures by Pinuccio Sciola, to arrive at a stone arch that leads to a beautiful square surrounded by murals.
We are now on the main street, which is also rich in murals, such as the one that represents the Ardia of San Sebastiano, a ceremonial horse race which takes place in May. We pass by the sixteenth-century church of Santa Chiara, with a beautiful Aragonese Gothic facade, and from here we enter the historic center. Here, as in many other villages of Sassarese and Meilogu, I am struck by the amount of ancient stone lintels at the entrance of old houses and other decorative elements. We get to the far side of the village, where there is the beautiful viewpoint overlooking a large part of the ‘Logudoro’, a geographical-linguistic entity that still eludes me!
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
I propose two popular stories, taken from the book A village in the Logudoro. Cossoine and surroundings in the history of Sardinia by Giacomino Pittalis, a Cossoine scholar who passed away in 2005, a book that was kindly given to me by the municipal administration.
A night of fear. It was a warm summer night when, in the fields of “Su Cattari”, while everyone slept in the open air, a farmer saw a priest approaching with mended clothes and lighted candles in his hand. His screams startled the other peasants and they too saw the priest. The bravest tried to get up, but failed. It seems that the sad figure was the soul of an old prelate, truly existed, to whom those lands had been stolen and who returned every year among the living to announce the death of someone. In fact, a few days after the incident, the farmer who first witnessed the event died.
The bread of orphans. Once, an evil peasant had tricked himself into the huge wealth of three small underage orphans. From that day on, the peasant’s business began to go wrong: small quantities of wheat after sowing abundant crops; the vines, trees and plants dried up; the cattle, raised with great care, died inexplicably. At the point of death, Jesus Christ appeared at his bedside, who admonished him saying: “Of the bread of the orphans no one can eat! Your wealth is therefore cursed!” Frightened by those words and the specter of death, he ordered the family to return the property taken dishonestly to the poor orphans.