275/377: Siamaggiore



I say goodbye to the Mayor of Solarussa Mario and to Diego who hosted me last night and I leave. My catchphrase “short ride today” is always a way of describing when the journey is easy, and I love it! I pedal on the plains. I reach Siamaggiore in a very short time, and arrive at the square of the church of San Costantino where Cinzia and Antonella from the Pro Loco welcome me. Simona from the Pro Loco of Milis joins us. She took care of my stay there last December. Simona has recently moved here with her partner Alberto and I will be their guest.

Parish church of San Costantino

From inside the church I can hear an organ playing. It is Don Diego practising. Shortly after, he comes out to greet us and takes us to visit the church inside. I have already seen many saints on the trip, but not too many organs. So I ask if it is possible to play this modern instrument and I play two improvisations.

Immediately afterwards, Mario and Diego from Solarussa reappear as they drove this way and stop to say hi. And Cristina also joins us. She’s the organ player here. All together we visit the church of the Souls which is right in front of the main church tower. Then we all go to the bar for a coffee.

Interior of the San Ciriaco church

Leaving the central churches we walk towards the small church of San Ciriaco, on the outskirts of the village, passing a mosaic representing artichokes, an important element for this area, so much so that the artichoke festival takes place here. We arrive at the church, which we also visit inside, and I intend to return later for photos. In fact, by now I have learned that in the morning the sun is always behind the churches (or at least most of those I have visited.) So morning not a good time to photograph the facades.

On the bell tower of the parish church

Back in the village, we retire to Antonella’s house, where a good welcome lunch has been prepared. I spend the afternoon at Simona’s house to rest and work, and later I reach Cinzia and Don Diego again at the church square to climb over the bell tower, from which we can admire the whole village. By now the characteristics of the Campidano are clearly evident, low houses and some mud brick walls still visible.

Mud brick wall (ladiri or ladrini)

We are then joined by Valeria, who offers to accompany me again to the church of San Ciriaco, where I can play the ukulele. From here we drive to the hamlet of Pardu Nou, a beautiful residential agricultural area that was created by the ETSAF, an institutional body (no longer existing) for land reform. One half of this fraction belongs to Siamaggiore while the other belongs to Solarussa. We are in the middle of the Tirso alluvial valley, where the hydrogeological risk is high, to the point that any type of building intervention is now forbidden.

Performance at the San Ciriaco (pic by Valeria Vacca)

Back in the village, dinner awaits me at Antonella’s, with Cinzia and Cristina, another girl from the Pro Loco. Alessandra and Andrea, a photographer and videomaker, join us. I discover Andrea is a friend of the mythical Dudo, creator of the Tutzky doll with which I jammed in my day in Oristano, Promptly, after a phone call, Dudo (without Tutzky) joins us for coffee.

The day ends under the banner of conviviality and the power of the 377 project to bring together new people to get to know each other!






One day many years ago, I went to my grandmother Fanny’s house. She went to heaven during my journey at 104. But that day I saw her scribble on some pieces of paper she always kept on the arm of the sofa in front of the television. “Grandma what are you writing?” and she says “I’m listing all the Sardinian surnames deriving from the names of animals and plants”. And another time “Grandma what are you writing today?” and she says “I’m listing all the towns in Sardinia that start with Or … and those that start with Nur or Nor”.

Therefore, due to familiar deformation in my list of Sardinian villages, I always tend to group them mentally according to the similarities of the names. And in this area I have always been struck by the names Siamaggiore, Siamanna and Siapiccia.

Today I take this opportunity to ask the meaning of the prefix Sia. Cinzia from the Pro Loco explains to me that it derives from ‘sa ia’, the road, in this case ‘major’ because it was a main Roman artery that crossed all of Sardinia, passing through Fordongianus. Thus also the names of Siamanna (the big street), Siapiccia (the small street, perhaps because it is on a secondary road) and also Simaxis (thought to derive from “sa ia maxima” the bigger road) have a similar derivation

At the church of San Ciriaco Valeria tells me a legend which, in turn, the old women of the village told. Years ago, during the patronal feasts, there were vendors’ stalls outside the church. Over the years these became more and more, while the festival became more and more pagan and less religious.

One day a furious wind arose that uprooted all the stalls and the poles went to stick into the walls of the church. It is said that it was a divine warning, to bring this place back to a more sacred dimension. There is now no trace of these holes due to one of the renovations, but some elderly people swear that until a few years ago the holes in the posts could still be seen.