Villa Sant'Antonio

282/377: Villa Sant’Antonio


Villa Sant'Antonio
Old portal in the historic centre

Once left Mogorella, after a short climb I descend into an area that I did not know and that will amaze me for the amount of impressive archaeological sites.

Roberto and Ilaria welcome me with their children Davide and Marta. They will host me in their home, a beautiful and ancient renovated house, with a huge courtyard.

Once the bikes and luggage have been arranged, we head to the Town Hall, where the Mayor Fabiano and the Councilor for culture Arianna receive me for an institutional greeting, and the guys from the civil service Alessandro, Iuri, Daniele are waiting for me to take us on a tour of the village.

Villa Sant'Antonio
Sant’Antonio Abate church

Until 1985 Villa Sant’Antonio was called Sant’Antonio Ruinas and was for a period a hamlet of Ruinas. Most of the houses are made of trachyte stone, many of them with ancient portals. We arrive at the parish church of Sant’Antonio Abate, of ancient construction which was then renovated. It is said that inside there was a source of water, called Funtana Cuperta, perhaps a sacred well in Nuragic times.

But it is only after lunch that I dig into a real tour in prehistory! Roberto takes me through a series of archaeological sites, and between one and the other I don’t have time to recover that the next one is even more impressive.

Villa Sant'Antonio
Mysterious rock carvings

Just outside the town, in a barren land, we begin the leap in time with a mysterious shape carved into the rock.

Villa Sant'Antonio
Monti Corru Tundu menhir

After a walk under the afternoon sun we arrive at the menhir of Monti Corru Tundu, apparently the highest in Sardinia if not in Italy. I literally remain speechless. We linger in this private land, where sheep usually graze. I lean against a boulder (or betyl?) beside the menhir, and improvise a tune with the ukulele, with Roberto as the only spectator.

Villa Sant'Antonio
Rock furrows

We leave, walking in a road on the rock, completely dug by parallel furrows that remind me of those near the necropolis Su Crocifissu Mannu in Porto Torres. Wagon prints? There is still no certainty about their origin.

Villa Sant'Antonio
Is Forrus necropolis

We arrive at the domus de janas necropolis of Is Forrus, divided into three zones in a large amphitheater-shaped terrain in the trachytic rock. We walk on the surface admiring the various tombs, and we go down to an area where the openings are lost in the middle of the vegetation. The view from this lower part is like that of an artist in the center of a stage with the tiers in front, ready to perform for an audience of ancient spirits.

Villa Sant'Antonio
Prickly pears

We drive along a country road bordered by imposing and colorful prickly pears, up to land owned by Roberto’s family where, surrounded by greenery, there are scattered menhirs, some standing, others lying down. It is no coincidence that this whole territory has taken the name of the Menhir Valley.

Villa Sant'Antonio
Genna Salixi necropolis

When we leave I think I have already seen enough, but Roberto has saved the surprise for the end of the lap. We arrive at the necropolis a domus de janas of Genna Salixi, a rounded rocky hill on the side of which the tombs open. I stand looking at it from a distance, as if it were a spaceship from which, at any moment, astronauts would come out of.

And actually people come out of the openings, visitors. One of them greets me “hey Sebastiano!”. It is Raffaele, an expert genealogist and passionate about historical places and archeology, whom I met by chance in a countryside church in Bidonì and who then hosted me in Palmas Arborea.

We conclude the evening at the home of Tziu Aldo, an elderly connoisseur of the territory, of every story, of every anecdote, but above all of every archaeological site. Tziu Aldo has his theories, like many in Sardinia, which do not always coincide with the official theories of archeology, and I listen as always with pleasure and interest, thinking about the moments of the day and coincidences, perhaps due to the alignment of the planets or thanks to the ancient spirits floating in this territory!



Live at the Monti Corru Tundu menhir




The guys from the civil service, Alessandro, Iuri, Daniele, tell me about their Community Operation project, that is to collect testimonies from the village elders on the customs and traditions of the village, especially related to the feasts of the saints.

One of the elders who contributed the most is Tziu Aldo, who made available old photos and even pieces of the old traditional dress. Tziu Beppe, 95, also contributed, but, as the boys report, he was slow in his stories and often dwelled on other parallel stories and wandered for a long time.

The testimonies often concern detailed information on how and when the holidays took place (if different from today) such as that of Sant’Antonio Abate, of San Giovanni Bosco, and especially that of Santa Maria Goretti, an ancient feast that was lost and that is was revived thanks to the work of Signora Teresina, who recreated a group of passionate people.

Roberto and Ilaria, like many people I met on my trip, are passionate and lovers of their territory, and are dedicated to enhancing its beauty through artistic events with their Boghes association.

Among these events I want to include two:

Geophagy. Devouring collectivity. “Eating the earth in the shadow of the menhir of Monti Corru Tundu with table and chairs, serving plates and perhaps glasses of red wine, in a scenario where fire reconnects us to the profound sense of the rebirth of light, could be part of a revitalization of the non-dual, primordial gesture “. HERE to see and learn more.

Ierogamos. Hieròs gámos (from the Greek ιερογαμία, ἱερὸς γάμος, “sacred marriage”) represents a rite of sacred union between a god and a goddess. In one of the ArtAeological walks that combine art and archeology, organized by Boghes on the spring equinox at the necropolis of Is Forrus, a series of artists exhibit works and installations with the theme of “sacred wedding”. HERE to see and learn more.