279/377: Siamanna


Old stone house

Today’s journey is among the shortest, about 500 meters between the Siapiccia exit sign and the entrance sign to Siamanna, on a straight flat road. I arrive at lunch time at the Town Hall where the Mayor Velio welcomes me, and before lunch he brings me around to see the historic centre of the village, which name, as I have already explained for the previous villages, comes from ‘sa ia manna‘, the great Roman road that through Fordongianus connected the south to the central areas.

Historic centre

In the well cared for centre there are many houses in local stone, a yellow and very hard sandstone, often together with the other local stone, a dark basalt that comes from the surrounding hills. Along with the stone we also see the mud brick, the ‘ladrini‘, often used to raise stone walls. I see many ancient portals, from Campidanese houses, and some walls have a stone buttress at the base. In the Praza ‘e is ballusu, the square of the dances, a wall of the former barn is decorated by a mural by Pina Monne.

Mural by Pina Monne in the Praza ‘e is ballusu

After a good lunch at Velio’s house with his family, we take another tour of the village. I am shown the remains of a giant tomb right on the edge of a country road and a Nuragic stele in private land. The whole territory is indeed rich in archaeological remains. After having forded the Rio Mannu (now I have lost count of how many there are with the same name), a tributary of the Tirso, we arrive at the artisanal area, where there is an oil mill, an important feed mill, a joinery, and where they are planning to open a factory for the production of artisan ravioli.

Nuraghe San Giovanni

We return to the Town Hall and after a Council meeting I am taken over by Councilor Mauro who takes me to visit sites outside the village. First stop is the small church of San Giovanni, above a hill full of signs of an old medieval village, and then at a short distance we reach the San Giovanni nuraghe right on the border with Villaurbana where I will be tomorrow. This is also on a small hill, and approaching it I can see the remains of pottery, perhaps pieces of obsidian, on the ground, and again I am amazed by how much is still to be excavated in Sardinia.

Mount Grighine

From here we move towards Mount Grighine right behind the village. We drive up in the direction of the wind farm, which also belongs to the municipalities of Mogorella and Villaurbana, and we stop at the top to admire the majesty of the shovels that rotate above us by emitting the low noise that we have heard in various stages. We enter the valley, Sa Cora ‘e Is Ottus, the only wooded part that survived a devastating fire in 1983. The undergrowth is fragrant and fresh, and we stop near a stream, and by some fountains water from which I drink. Above us, the roar of the blades, which I can see rotating among the branches of the oaks.

We drive further up, passing a house made of branches, and stopping to eat blackberries, up to the forest lookout of the municipality of Allai. We ask the guardian if we can climb to the top of the lookout, and we are granted permission. We climb up a long spiral staircase, reach the top, and the view is incredible. Once again I can mentally go over my entire route: I see in the north Macomer, the Planargia, a piece of Marghine, the plain of Abbasanta, the ‘tail’ of Lake Omodeo with Busachi, and then Fordongianus, and in the distance to the north east all the Nuorese, a very distant segment of the Mount Corrasi, the Gennargentu, and all the villages I will cover in the coming days. To the west the view is even more incredible, all the Gulf of Oristano, the reflections of the Cabras lagoon, Mount Arcuentu, and to the south beyond Mount Arci, the Linas complex and the Capoterra mountains. What a feeling of domination!

Parish church of Santa Lucia

Back in the village, we make a final stop to take some pictures of the beautiful parish church of Santa Lucia, with a beautiful facade of yellow sandstone, and blocks of pink trachyte, a beautiful bell tower and a dome of red majolica. I say goodbye to Mauro after an aperitif, and I eat a pizza, kindly offered by Mayor Velio. The sky is overcast, is it finally the arrival of autumn? The second of this journey.






Sardinia of records. One of the aspects that continues to amaze me about this journey is the appropriation of more or less credible primates by almost all the municipalities (or rather its inhabitants or some of them). Here is a list of records that a very high number of municipalities claim to have:

– the municipal area among the first largest, if not the first. This data is easily verifiable online, and one day, I don’t remember in which municipality, while they told me they were one of the largest municipalities by extension, I checked online and found them towards the thirtieth place! The largest municipality is Sassari, followed by Olbia, Arbus, Ozieri and Teulada. The others can relax…

– the nuragic village still to be excavated but wider than Barumini. Now a classic. The municipalities that support this claim are countless …

– The tallest menhir. This data would also be easily verifiable. Yet there are still too many municipalities that claim to have that record. Along with this there are then the highest nuraghe, the largest architrave, the highest concentration of nuraghi (dozens contend it!), the most beautiful or best preserved tomb of the giants, the largest or most beautiful sacred source, etc. …

– The first finding of remains of Nuragic grapes in the bottom of pottery. Heard at least three or four times (similar to the primacy of the only tombs of the giants where bones have been found)

– One of my favorites: the per capita beer consumption. I heard this dozens if not hundreds of times!

Who knows, maybe someone will decide one day to put an end to these assumptions by providing reliable and measured data. We wait with confidence!