319/377: Ussaramanna


Old portal in the historic centre

A few days ago I entered the so-called Bassa Marmilla. I am slowly moving away from the Giara di Gesturi (which I will get closer to in about ten days) to go towards the Campidano plain.

Not even two kilometers separate Turri from Ussaramanna. I arrive easily and relaxed and I am greeted by the Deputy Mayor Enzo who brings me greetings from the Mayor Marco who could not be here today. Once parked the bike in the Town Hall, we begin the walk through the streets of the village.

Ussaramanna is part of the National Association of Raw Earth Cities. I can admire many houses with exposed raw earth bricks, the ladiri, as I’ve already seen many times during this trip. Many buildings are old manor houses, with beautiful wooden portals topped by stone arches.

Entrance of Domu Accalai

Some of these houses are opened during the Flavours of Autumn event  (not to be confused with the homonymous event involving some municipalities in southern Sardinia), during which the arcades in the external courtyards become artisan shops. One of these houses is the old Casa Zedda, acquired by the municipality and now Public Library. Another is the Domu Accalai which houses the  Center of Interpretation of the Historical Cultural Heritage and the Economy of the Territory.

Former Santa Maria del Carmine, and Wheat Bank

In the center is the former church of Santa Maria del Carmine, which was deconsecrated and later became Monte Granatico (wheat bank) and nearby a new mural, in a contemporary style, recently created by the artist Gisella Mura. Not far away there are also more classical and agricultural-themed murals made by the local artist Dante Atzori.

Mural by Gisella Mura

We arrive at the parish church of San Quirico Martire, with its sober facade, probably erected at the end of the sixteenth century and then renovated and enlarged, the interior of which is embellished with precious marbles, especially those of the altar and holy water stoup.

On the outskirts of the village we visit the Nuraghe San Pietro, so called because once there was the church of the same name which has now disappeared. The central tower is imposing while of the four side towers only traces remain (who knows if digging will soon expose something immense!)

Nuraghe San Pietro

Taking the car we head into the countryside around the village. The first stop is the country church of San Lorenzo Martire, built in the fourteenth century, and the only remaining structure of the ancient village of Ussaredda, which has now disappeared. In this church there were two important panels depicting made by the Master of Oliena and today kept in the National Painting Gallery of Cagliari.

Countryside church of San Lorenzo Martire

Here, in the month of August, the celebrations of San Lorenzo also take place. The procession arrives on foot from the village, accompanied by songs and music from the launeddas. A beautiful project is being born around the church, the Bosco della Continuità (the Continuity Woods). Enzo explains this wonderful project to me: every time there is a new birth or an inhabitant turns ninety, a tree is planted.

The whole territory is rich in centuries-old olive trees, there are thousands, and even here as in other municipalities each tree has an owner who often does not coincide with the owner of the land.

It is almost time for lunch and we drive towards the border with the territory of Siddi, close to the homonymous Giara. We arrive in Monti where Enzo drops me off at Eugenio’s Su Sensu restaurant, which refreshes me with excellent food.

Waiting for Enzo to come back to pick me up, I take a walk in a magnificent wooded area, equipped with picnic tables, where various groups of people eat in the shade of the oaks. I arrive almost at the border with Siddi where there is a recently built horse riding school but not yet in operation.

New oil from the Frantoio Podda

When Enzo comes to pick me up, we return to the town and visit an important production facility, the Frantoio Podda, a modern oil mill that produces excellent extra virgin olive oil, the Terra dei Nuraghi. I visit the various production areas and at the end of the tour I am given a small tank of oil!

But there are many other productive realities in the area. Enzo takes me to see some fields where the cultivation of dry melons is carried out. Other lands are destined for the vineyards of the Cantina Lilliu.

Finally, before returning to the village, we skirt the old Ussaramanna-Turri station, on the Ales-Villamar railway line. The conversion of the building into a support point for cyclists, a hostel with a bike workshop is in the works, since the entire railway will become a beautiful cycle path, a section of which I traveled a few days ago from Curcuris to Gonnosnò.





During the walk in the village, Enzo talks to me about an elderly lady who wrote poetry, not as you might expect by hand on a notebook, but on the computer, despite her old age.

Clotilde Serpi in the cover of one of her poetry books, published by the Municipality of Ussaramanna

Clotilde Serpi wrote poems on the computer until she was 100, both in Italian and in Sardinian. A story that reminds me a little of that of my grandmother Fanny, who at the age of one hundred managed to see her book of poems published.

The thing that struck me, however, is that, as a twist of fate, Clotilde Serpi died the day after her 100th birthday. So I leave you with two of her many poems:

Sardigna Bella

Beautiful Sardinia, dear Sardinia
In your land is the Gennargentu
And the Limbara mountains.
For your beauty you are esteemed,
Of sun and moon you are lightened
And the blue seas all around you
People from all over the place come to you
And love you and want to stay
For your healthy air and food,
And I always bring you in my heart
And cannot stop to praise you.

For the mighty honorable lords of the earth

The mighty lords of the earth all step forward
With great bold courage they shake hands
Let them end the war which is ruin, death and pain
And which destroys what God the Creator did.
Let them remove the world from this evil
And let peace be universal.
Them mighty lords who are powerful
Let them send in the blue sky
A flock of white doves
To announce to the people:
“Really rejoice
That today peace is for the whole world.”