From Villa Sant’Antonio to Ruinas it’s more or less all uphill but the day is beautiful and I am happy to “go up” towards what will be my return to Barbagia in a few days.
I arrive at the village, greeted by the Mayor Ester, the deputy Valentina and by the councilor Stefania, an all-female team!
After leaving my bike and luggage in a beautiful b&b run by Muriel, a nice Belgian lady, we go to the schools where I tell my journey to the students, playing some tunes with the ukulele, always hoping to convey the passion for discovery, travel and art.
The second stop is at the rural church of San Teodoro, just outside the village on the Santuderu plateau, from which you can enjoy a magnificent view. The church is of Byzantine origin and has been well restored, highlighting the beautiful trachyte stone.
This is where the village of Ghentiana was probably located, a Roman outpost on the road leading to Fordongianus, which disappeared in history leaving only the “ruins” that probably gave rise to the name of the village.
Trachyte is the dominant lithology of the area and of the building stone of the village. Back in the centre we pass in front of numerous old houses, all in trachyte, some of which are uninhabited or even abandoned which make the place fascinating.
We visit the parish church of San Giorgio Martire, in pink trachyte and built on a rocky base, itself in pink trachyte. The whole village is built on the rock, which emerges here and there in the street or inside the courtyards.
In the afternoon we go to Monte Grighine, on whose slopes I have already been during my days in Siamanna and Mogorella. But it’s always nice to visit the same place at different spots and see the whole territory from different angles.
We arrive at the wind farm, immersed in the green of the surrounding woods. We get right under the wind turbines, the sound of which I have already heard closely several times but which always hypnotizes me. Nearby there is a beautiful reconstructed hut, based in pink trachyte, of wood and branches.
We return to the village when the sun is setting and I take the opportunity to take a last tour of the place, pushing myself into the narrow streets where I always find beautiful details in the houses, Aragonese ornamentation of windows, ancient trachyte portals.
The day ends with an aperitif next to the Casa Licheri, a beautiful manor house recently acquired by the municipality to host archaeological finds and where local associations organise events and temporary exhibitions.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Ruinas in Sardinian means ‘ruins’. It was foreseeable that such a toponym could be found more than once, as happens with the various “Flumini Mannu”, “Flumineddu”, “Su Casteddu”, “Su Monti”, “Sa Domu ‘e s’orcu” etc.
Although today only this municipality remains as a living “Ruinas”, other Ruinas exist or have existed in Sardinia.
One of these is the village at the foot of the Gennargentu, in the municipality of Arzana. There the ruins are clearly visible, not only of the nuragic village (whose nuraghe is called Ruinas), but also of the medieval one, which was abandoned by the inhabitants who scattered around the neighboring villages, mainly Desulo and Arzana.
In addition to the Ruinas nuraghe of Arzana, there is also a Ruinas nuraghe between Marrubiu and Terralba.
Then there is a toponym Ruinas in Orosei. It is said that there was a village here, on which many legends are based, such as that of Maria Mangroffa, a little girl who had to leave the village destroyed by a flood, and who, transformed into a witch, lived in torment taking revenge on the inhabitants of the newly founded town of Orosei.
The municipality of Villa Sant’Antonio, bordering the current Ruinas, was once called Santu Antoni Arruinas, probably because it was founded on the ruins of a previous settlement.
There is a Ruinas locality in the municipality of Ozieri, where in 1959, next to structures referable to Roman houses, an intervention on the ground damaged a series of tombs that returned objects of the grave goods and a funerary inscription now lost.
Not far from Nuragus are the remains of the Roman city of Valentia, or Valenza, an important checkpoint on the road that connected Cagliari with Olbia. After the city was destroyed by the Vandals, a village was born, curiously called Ruinas, but which was later abandoned due to the plague and the inhabitants spread to the other towns of Marmilla.
In the territory of Aidomaggiore there was the old village of Ruinas, of which no trace remains except its church and the fountains of Santa Barbara.
There are also those who wanted to take the surname Ruinas as a pseudonym, as in the case of Giovanni Antonio De Rosas, a native of Usini, journalist and writer known as Stanis Ruinas.
Finally, in Luras the Depperu winery produced a wine called Ruinas.