Today I travel in company. Enrico, who hosted me on my day in Ghilarza, comes to pick me up in Noragugume with his friend Matteo. In addition, the Mayor of Dualchi sent a group of kids from the village to get me. So today we travel in a big group. The distance is very short, a few kilometers of joyful plain!
I arrive at the Town Hall where the Mayor Ignazio is waiting for me, together with Nino who was deputy Mayor in the previous legislature and who knows the village inside out. The Mayor introduces me to all the staff of the Municipality, then takes me to a room where the audio system that broadcasts announcements to the community from the typical megaphone loudspeakers is located. “There is a microphone” he tells me “introduce yourself to the population and if you can connect the instrument, play something”. Quickly done. Ukulele connected and microphone in hand I introduce myself to the croaking sound of the ukulele that seems to come out of a radio from the 1950s!
Nino and three girls who stayed from the group by bike, Viola, Maria and Paola, take me on a tour of the village. I already notice the important presence of several murals. Some very traditional, others colorful and modern. Two names occur: Pina Monne, who is omnipresent on Sardinian walls, and the local artist Lina Mannu, with a much more contemporary trait. And while walking we meet her, Lina, who joins us, making the descriptions of her works much more fascinating!
Together with the murals there are also more recent works commissioned by the municipal administration, the “sayings” or common expressions that are being lost in the Sardinian language and which have been fixed on the walls of the town. Each panel marked by the typical fruits of the area, ceramic prickly pears.
We walk up to the parish church of San Sebastiano, with its high black basalt facade, rebuilt in the 1950s on the remains of the old church. From here we head towards a beautiful tree-lined square where the church of San Leonardo is located, in Aragonese Gothic style with a beautiful bell tower to the side. Next to it is the multipurpose center, inside which I can admire an interesting work by Lina Mannu which represents a tree whose branches contain the history of the Sardinian people.
We continue through the streets of the centre, scrolling through many murals that represent scenes of daily life, the old barber with his client, a row of old men sitting on the stone bench, black women cleaning prickly pears, a group of men having a snack, and then the knights of the Ardia di San Pietro, one of the oldest horse race in Sardinia to celebrate the saint.
We enter the square where the old Town Hall and the beautiful church of Sant’Antonio Abate are located, in dark basalt, then we continue towards the museum of the old mill, inside which I can admire a series of machinery once used for processing of wheat.
We conclude the tour by skirting the old school, a single-storey basalt building with tiny doors and windows, the old fountain (Funtana Mazzore), a whole series of ancient basalt houses with openings decorated in Aragonese style, and we arrive at the church of the Virgin d’Itria, simple and with a beautiful bell tower.
In the early afternoon we then visit the rural church of San Pietro, in basalt and red trachyte, where the celebrations for the saint and the Ardia race take place. From here we then enter a narrow valley set among the basalts that form an impressive sheer edge. All around us the prickly pear tree reigns, whose fruits they tell me are the best in Sardinia!
Back in the village, Lina Mannu invites me to her house to see some of her works, paintings and panels in three dimensions with different material elements set, and other works of all kinds. Although many works of her are quite abstract, one can still glimpse a reference to Sardinia and elements of its history, and I really like this about her art. Talking with the author about the story and inspiration behind each work helps me to understand them more.
Today I will not sleep in Dualchi. They come to pick me up from Orosei to take part in a concert where the Tenor and Cuncordu choir from Orosei together with cellist Ernst Reijseger will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Colla Voche album. Together with us also Paolo Fresu and the Scottish percussionist Alan Purves “Gunga”. I will come back here tomorrow, entranced by the evening, to resume my journey to Borore.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
In the afternoon the Mayor Ignazio takes me to see one of the most important nuraghe in this area. We cross land rich in cork trees, then an area completely devastated by a recent fire, and we arrive at the nuraghe Ponte, which is tall and in good condition. The surprise comes when I notice the entrance lintel, a block of basalt of mammoth dimensions that makes us understand the extent of the entrance. The boulder is at knee height. This means that there must still be several meters of nuraghe buried underground and that the tower in its entirety must be mammoth.
Already in Macomer, Birori and in the villages of Marghine I had noticed the concentration of nuraghi in this area. And as with many other administrators, even today there is discussion of enhancement, of works to bring to light further remains and improve existing ones, lack of public funds, blocks by the superintendencies and more.
One thing I noticed is that in this area most of the nuraghi are in excellent condition, but they are rarely managed or have an access ticket. I am thinking of the Valle dei Nuraghi (the Nuraghi Valley) in the Torralba area, scattered with nuraghi but perhaps not as concentrated as in this territory. So, between one thought and the next, this idea of “L’Altopiano dei Nuraghi” (the Nuraghi Plateau) flashes, a beautiful name that fully identifies this area. I express this thought to Ignazio. Why not coin a brand that can attract tourism in these areas as other territories do?
Returning to the village, Ignazio, after a bit of silence, tells me: “I’m thinking about this thing about the Nuraghi Plateau, it’s a really good idea”. C’mooooon!