I proceed along the Marghine, in the old road below the basaltic ridge, where the villages are all more or less in a row. Today, I arrive in Silanus after a short journey.
Before entering the village, I turn right towards the 129 state road, which I am deliberately avoiding, to reach the important site of Santa Sabina.
Here I am greeted by Simonetta, a woman who follows my journey, Massimo, a guy from Silanus whom I have already met a couple of times (in Ghilarza in the big group of cyclists, and in Seneghe at my event at the Addis house … I think!) and Carlo from the cooperative that manages the site.
We are faced with a double wonder: the nuraghe, powerful, in dark and porous basalt, and in front of it the medieval church, in all probability built with parts of the nuragic settlement given the presence of dark basalt, and with very white limestone blocks coming from nearby quarries.
The interior of the church reveals this duotone of stones. The two lateral wings on the sides of the central body were added later, and are connected by beautiful white limestone arches. Going around the church you can see the restored parts, including the central dome.
Two tourists join us to conclude the visit inside the structure where there are some beautiful photos of the Nois exhibition, black and white photographs scattered throughout the municipality, portraying fascinating scenes of village life.
We are joined by the deputy mayor Rita and Maria Antonietta, councilor for tourism and culture for an official welcome.
Upon entering the village, an Authentic Village of Italy, I can admire black and white photos on some facades of historic buildings. We arrive at the parish church of Sant’Antonio Abate, with a sober facade and a beautiful bell tower with stone decorations. Opposite is the Casa Aielli, a house-museum where there are some interesting artistic initiatives attached to Nois.
“The thread of memory” is an exhibition in which the ancient textile art is rediscovered and enhanced, when the threads were dyed with exclusively natural substances and the technique was learned by women observing their mother or grandmother.
In one room there is the exhibition “Photographs of Sardinia in the early twentieth century” by Guido Costa, a scholar of history and culture of Sardinia, who used the photographic medium as a tool for documenting his research.
Then two exhibitions dedicated to centenarians: the photographic exhibition “100 centenarians” by Luigi Corda, which collects photos of centenarians from all over Sardinia (including two from Silanus) and the one on centenarians from Silanus curated by the same Simonetta and Alessandra who accompany me. Among these centenarians I am struck by the story of two brothers, born of the same father, who was killed by one of the mothers. The two brothers eventually pacified in old age, both reaching the 100 mark and exceeding it!
We conclude the morning with an aperitif in the square where the mayor Gian Pietro also reaches us to welcome me. After a nice lunch at Rita’s house, I manage to rest a little and it is only at sunset that we return to the tour of the village.
The streets of the historic center are full of murals, some of which tell the importance that improvised poetry has had here. Two of the most important Sardinian improvisational poets, Marieddu Masala and Frantziscu Mura (who died in Desulo during a poetic contest) were in fact from Silanus.
Then other murals, the accordionist by Gianni Careddu, the colorful works of the collective Tuta created for the Macomer Resilience Festival, a beautiful woman by Mauro Patta, and a Sardinia made up of Luigi Pu’s “Chentu concas, chentu berritas”.
And we conclude with two churches. The Gothic-Catalan one of Santa Maria Maddalena, with a single nave, from 1582, all in basaltic stone, like the beautiful buildings that surround it, and with an interesting facade enclosed between two stone edges. And then, in the upper area of the village at the church of San Lorenzo, where mass is ending.
Outside this magnificent 1150 church there are nuragic menhirs found at the giant tomb of Sa Pedra Longa, near the Corbos nuraghe, while inside, once people have left, I can see the remains of frescoes of the fourteenth century. Meanwhile, the sun has fallen over the Marghine.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
It is night, and Marco, the guy who gave me hospitality, takes me to dinner at a friend’s house, in a beautiful country house just outside the village. It is a perfect evening, the table is set up under an ancient oak tree from which the lighting hangs.
Marco is a fan of Sardinia, Sardinians and Sardinian things. And he speaks to me about this. Especially about his Siendas project, which in Sardinian means ‘treasures’. Siendas wants to protect the food and wine excellences of Sardinia, and build relationships between Sardinian quality producers and the Italian and foreign markets.
Marco wants to improve awareness of food production systems and increase exchanges in favor of local economies. Marco is one of those enthusiasts who want to give quality productions the value they deserve. And one of the markets that he’s investigating in this period is the English one … who knows, maybe I can help him!