284/377: Allai


Typical house in the historic centre

The road from Ruinas to Allai is wonderful and all downhill. The plateaus are carved out in the valley of a river that winds through the green of the vegetation. I wind through the bends of the valley until I reach Allai.

Here I have an appointment with Mara and Sara, creators of the AllaiExperience project for the promotion of their territory. I meet them at the Cima Museum, located at Casa Saba, a historic building. The ladies guide me through a series of important archaeological finds, from the pre-Nuragic to the Roman period, in a beautiful, modern and at the same time warm and welcoming structure.

Finding at Cima museum

Among the finds I am struck by a beautiful Mother Goddess, a series of engraved stone slabs and betyl displayed in beautiful niches in the wall surrounded by red trachyte, and then a rock sculpture representing a bearded man, with whom I immediately identify!

Piazza Sant’Isidoro

The back door of the house leads to the suggestive Piazza Sant’Isidoro, overlooked by the loggias of the museum, each containing a type of objects and tools of ancient crafts: the millstone and the press for oil, the oven and the objects for baking, the loom, the packer, an old cart.

The houses that overlook the square are all well restored, mainly of red trachyte, highlighted in the edges of doors and windows. This style remains throughout the well-kept centre, and one gets the impression that the museum continues throughout the whole village, which is precisely the idea of ​​a “widespread museum”.

View from Mount Grighine

Having taken the car, we go up to Monte Grighine and arrive up to a green area called Pedru Maggiu. Here there is an old water source. From the side I admire the view of this territory that was unknown to me and I try to mentally reconnect it to my map of the route, the nearby Mandrolisai on one side and the Campidano di Oristano on the other.

Roman bridge

Once back down towards the town we go to visit the remains of the Roman bridge, one of the most beautiful so far visited because it is still crossed by the river in several intact arches. Part of the bridge was rebuilt in medieval times. We manage to climb over what remains on a bank, three entire arches, from where the view over the banks covered with weeping willows is truly impressive.

The next stop is at the domus de janas Marajana, a site a bit difficult to reach, as it is immersed in dense vegetation, so much so that I don’t know how the ladies remember how to get there! But once you arrive, the opening of the tomb is unmistakable, on a mound of trachyte.

The tree house

Back in the village, the last stop of the day is at the iconic “tree house“, on the banks of the Rio Massari. The wooden construction, straddling two giant eucalyptus, was rebuilt after the original was destroyed by arson. It was a project carried out during a masters in landscape architecture which then remained.

I get on it with the ukulele. The view is fantastic. Below me the spectators are my guides, a couple of tourists parked with an old Volkswagen van, and a family with children. Suddenly a song between the chirping of birds, the flow of water and the buzz of children. Magical.

Holy Spirit church

The center of the village is illuminated by the sunset and the trachyte of the parish church of the Holy Spirit lights up red. We stroll among the typical houses and slowly organize ourselves to dine under the portico of the charming Piazzetta Falò, so called because the bonfire for the celebration of Saint Anthony takes place here.

Putzigheddu. Well in the historic centre

But the evening is not over. Cristina, the lady who will host me tonight, is the owner of the Mariù bar pizzeria, behind the square and here we end the night with digestives and cheerful chat. I go to sleep with the feeling of having spent the day wandering around the rooms of a single house, so the village is intimate.



Live at the Tree House



SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES is a site where the “contusu”, tales and legends of the popular tradition are collected. I often search the site to look for stories related to the place I visit.

So I discover that one of the sites I visited today, the Roman bridge, was the scene of the meeting between the shepherd Ziu Juanni Loisu and three crows in “The gold of Maria Cantada”:

Juanni also decided to go in search of grain towards Fordongianus. His thoughts were gloomy as he came near the Roman bridge of Allai. He was walking slowly on his donkey when looking up he noticed three beautiful girls, dressed in black, by the river bank. One of the three, advancing towards him exclaimed – “Hello tziu Juanni Loisu! How are you? It’s been a long time since we last saw you”. The shepherd, a little surprised, asked – “Who are you? And how do you know my name? ”. “We are the three crows that you fed during the winter” – the girls replied – “and we know that you are now heading to Fordongianus to buy wheat”. Juanni was stunned and the girls advised him which family to go to to buy wheat at a favorable price. “We will wait for you here” – they added – “because on our return we have to give you something to deliver to Samugheo”.

The geography of the area that mixes in legend. To read the entire story CLICK HERE (in Italian).