Today’s stage is very short and all flat! I arrive a little early and I am joined first by Diego, who will host me for this day, then by the Mayor Mario and the launeddists Piero and Tonio.
After a coffee at the bar and having dropped my things at Diego’s house, we all head to the small church of San Gregorio Magno, on a hill on the outskirts of the town. While I photograph the beautiful bell tower positioned in an arched structure in front of the dark basalt stone facade, typical of the nearby hills, a storm is coming with strong thunder and lightning. We then decide to move indoors.
Not far away is a former wheat warehouse acquired by the municipality, inside which the Mexican artist Israel Zzepda has created a mural that portrays various phases of contemporary life, from immigration and reception, to the emigration of young people, up to moments of social and religious life.
Here we have a jam session, ukulele, launeddas, Piero singing a song and Diego accompanying us first with the harmonica and then with percussion. Mayor Mario films and share it live on Facebook promising that the video will go viral!
Opposite there is an old abandoned factory, former tobacco factory first and then an oil mill. A true example of industrial archeology, with silos and all the iron structures, somewhat rusty, still visible. Mario tells me that a project will soon start to restore the buildings and transform them into a multipurpose center where the Campos association, which brings together artists who work in Sardinia in the musical and poetic arts of the oral tradition, could be located.
Diego and I return home for lunch and, as the storm rages violently, I stay in, falling asleep despite the thunder and pouring rain. Upon awakening the worst is over and with Diego we decide to take a tour to photograph some glimpses of the village.
First the Chiesa delle Grazie, then the parish church of San Pietro, next to the oratory of the Souls, with a black basalt facade. Next to it there is a small green space invaded by vegetation. Diego says that everyone called it “ossera” (bones deposit): it was in fact the old cemetery and often bones could be seen emerging from the earth.
In the historic centre there are still some beautiful old houses, the wealthiest in dark stone, many in mud bricks (ladiri or ladrini), typical of the Campidano, which I already found in my passage in the Oristano area months ago and which I expect to find also in next villages.
By car, we then head out of town to see the beautiful iron bridge that crosses the River Tirso. Once the train used to pass here, now only cars while the railway has been moved to a more modern and solid bridge.
We then move north, towards the hills that rise towards Paulilatino, to visit the archaeological site of Pidighi. Here there is a sacred spring, Mirza Pidighi, unfortunately covered by vegetation, but which from the photos on the panels appears to be surrounded by two long low walls, in the center of which runs a groove that probably carried the water much further downstream, perhaps even to the country.
Not far away is a large nuraghe, partially collapsed, but on which we manage to climb, admiring what we see of the towers and the tolos (main chamber). All around the remains of huts, for a considerable extension. Maybe this site could be “bigger than that of Barumini” (a catchphrase to which I am subject in all the places that have a Nuragic village still to be excavated!).
We conclude the evening in two cellars. The first, in disuse and with several renovations to be done. Matteo, a friend of Diego’s, opens it for us and shows us the barrels and tools that are still there, unused for some time. The second, on the other hand, is an “active” winery, where the owner Erik offers us his Vernaccia, a typical product of this area. Fortunately, the Cagliari match will soon be on television and Erik has to leave us, otherwise I was already anticipating a long evening with more and more vernaccia!
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Diego is an artist. During the day, together with the explanations on the places we visit, he tells me about his activities.
In 2004, in Bologna, together with four other Sardinian musicians, he formed the Lame a Foglia d’Oltremare band, “a linguistic and sound journey that deviates from the definitions of genre and style. In its own way, the band winks at Sardinian, South American, African and Mediterranean musical culture, with combinations and solutions close to world music.”
The group participated in various national events and publishes two records, the second of which with the participation of various Sardinian artists.
In 2017, Diego Deidda and the guitarist Lorenzo began a separate artistic path that involves music and theatrical language: Ludu (in Sardinian, mud) is born. “One of Ludu’s objectives is to emancipate the Sardinian language from its folkloric contexts and elevate it to an autonomous vehicle of ideas, capable of measuring itself against the performance and artistic possibilities of our time”.
Ludu has recently released the album Conchiattu, of which Diego talks to me with enthusiasm. The record was recently presented at the Santa Barbara nuraghe in Villanova Truschedu, I missed it just for a few days, but I can’t wait to listen to the copy that Diego gave me!