300/377: Asuni


Bicoloured marble on the main square

Leaving Nureci, I go north to reach Asuni, not far from Villa Sant’Antonio where I was a few weeks ago, winding between Alta Marmilla and Sarcidano.

Upon arrival, the Mayor Gionata and the traffic warden Oreste await me in the Town Hall. Before getting into the car to visit the area, I am shown a stone with mysterious engravings from the remains of the rural church of San Daniele and preserved here. I understand that even this territory, like those of the neighbouring municipalities, is rich in testimonies of the past and mysteries still to be solved.

Mysterious stone carvings

Once in the car, we drive towards the lower part of the town and enter the countryside, cross a bridge over a watercourse where there were once three mills, and continue through the bends of the valley in the locality of Piscina de Procus.

We are on Monte Ualla, a place rich in quarries and former lead and silver mines. Here once a precious marble was extracted. We stop to approach a quarry front along the road, where I can admire the pink and gray color of the marble (of which I have already seen some polished samples in the Town Hall).

Monte Ualla marble quarry

The curves become hairpin bends, we climb more and more, the road becomes pebbled, and we arrive at the ridge of a deep valley. On the other side of the valley are the remains of the Castle of Medusa, which I visited weeks ago in my day in Samugheo. It is incredible to see places already seen from a different angle. From here I can appreciate even more the overhang on which the castle is located!

View on the Medusa Castle remains

We reach the top of Mount Ualla, up to the Modighina lookout, where the forest warden Mario takes us up to admire the view. We are almost 600 meters above sea level and the visibility is excellent. The view sweeps 360 degrees, the entire Gennargentu massif on one side, the Gulf of Oristano on the other, and southern Sardinia, my approaching goal.

Laura is waiting for me in the village, taking me for a ride and then to Aunt Albina’s house where she will be staying tonight. The village is small, just over three hundred inhabitants, and develops around the parish church of San Giovanni Battista. Opposite this was another church which later collapsed and recently renovated and deliberately left without a roof. Inside, where there are still original elements, such as niches and window openings. It is all white and lends itself well to hosting events.

Burdaga domus de janas

In the afternoon Oreste and his wife Alessandra take me just outside the village to visit the Burdaga domus de janas, on a rocky ridge. Alessandra teaches yoga at the Andalas sports club and suggested I have a short session right here. So we spread the mats in front of the entrances to the ancient burials, facing the green countryside we begin the movements. I realise only now how much in this whole journey I have not used the upper body, pecs, shoulders and arms, and even this short session fatigues me!

Dismissed church without roof

Late in the evening the Mayor Gionata makes me do a public announce on a megaphone to the population, to invite them to my event that we decided to do just outside the church without a roof. It is not the first time that I announce myself in this way to the population! Slowly a group of ladies arrive, a few families with kids, and I begin to tell my project and play the ukulele in front of a small audience and the beautiful pink and gray marble samples positioned as sculptures to embellish the square of this small village .






Today is day number 300. The fatigue of the journey begins to be felt all, physical and mental. The adrenaline of the beginning of the journey, which lasted several months, had slowly faded, giving way to a long central period of energy that is being consumed. My attention and concentration decreased as well as my memory in remembering names, places, situations.

By now I have stopped writing articles every day. While in the first half of the trip I had the strength to stay up late in order to complete the travel diary, now that strength is gone. The diary are just keywords, places, people, notes on my cell phone, which together with the photographs I use to reconstruct the days.

Post Scriptum. After a year and four months I find myself writing Asuni’s article. This practice has been going on since I finished the journey. At the end of the notes on the day in Asuni, for this short story, I find written: “Riccardo Ricci, Tuscan surname, mines, railways first in Thiesi then Asuni”. I have no recollection of what this story is. I try hard, but I can’t. I have to call Oreste to solicit my memory.

On the phone Oreste, to my request as to who Riccardo Ricci was, he answers me laughing “he is my son!”. But we can’t remember why I wrote it down. Then he explains the rest of the notes to me: his Ricci ancestors came from Tuscany to work in the mines, then in the railways. Oreste’s grandfather settled in Thiesi, then the family moved to Asuni.

I thank Oreste and close the call, thinking about why I had marked the name of his son. As I write this article, I also rummage through the recordings collected on the phone, sometimes I find sounds, music or stories told. And here it is dated 1st October, date of the day in Asuni. The voice of a child, Riccardo, recalls that moment! And I finally remember why those notes of mine, it’s all in the recording!

In 2019 Riccardo ranked first in a provincial poetry competition held in schools. So I ask him to recite the poem to me, and he, perhaps out of shyness, recites the beginning of the poem entitled “I care about my time”:

“I go out, I enjoy myself
and I play with my friends,
we are together and we are happy ”

“Then there are five more lines” he tells me “and then it ends like this”:

“But it won’t last much longer
[…] time flies
and I, so as not to lose it in the wind,
I will close my time in my heart ”

Riccardo Ricci 2019