The route that takes me from Gonnostramatza to Collinas is, as can be predicted from the name of my destination, highly hilly. But the climbs are pleasant in the midst of the shade of holm oaks.
I arrive at the village whose old name was Forru, which was changed in 1863 on the initiative of one of its most famous citizens, Giovanni Battista Tuveri, writer, philosopher and politician.
The village, together with other municipalities in the area, is part of the Sa Corona Arrubia consortium, a tourism organisation that promotes and enhances culture, science and the numerous archaeological, historical and environmental resources present in the area.
Once arrived at the square embellished by the monument in memory of Giovanni Battista Tuveri and named after him, the Mayor Francesco welcomes me with the administrators Fabiana, Gianluca and Silvio. We immediately begin the visit of the village, starting from the parish church of San Michele Arcangelo, not far from the Town Hall and facing a staircase.
The church was built in 1571 in the Aragonese Gothic style although it has undergone various changes over the centuries. To the left of the simple sandstone façade the massive bell tower dominates. Inside there is a beautiful wooden Christ and other wooden statues from the Neapolitan sixteenth century, as well as a polyptych from the school of Pietro Cavaro. But the thing that intrigues me most is the nineteenth-century organ above the wooden door, which I can even play!
Leaving the church, we walk through the well-kept streets of the village, stopping at the Funtanedda, a well complete with an old mechanical pump, and then we arrive at an old manor house, which belonged to the Diana family, and which the Municipality is recovering to use as a place of conservation of the historical memory of the village. It is here that director Enrico Pau shot several scenes from the film L’accabadora.
We continue along the small church of San Sebastiano, the former parish church from the mid-seventeenth century built on a pre-existing church, arriving at another city well, the Funtana Cruccu, and then we return to the central square to take the car and go to visit some sites in the countryside.
The first stop is the church of Santa Maria Angiargia, in the middle of the hills and surrounded by a forest. The very simple building was probably built in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries by Benedictine monks. All around there are archaeological remains that suggest the existence of an old village.
The origins of the name Angiargia can be found in the site not far from here, the Roman baths of Su Angiu. We enter a small building inside which there is a pool full of water, an ancient sacred well, and inside there is a wooden simulacrum of the Virgin Mary. Legend has it that this well was found by a farmer whose cart sank right here, revealing the presence of the well and the wooden statue for this reason called “de su angiu” (of the bath), hence the name Angiargia.
The last stop, not far from the plateau called Monte Fortuna (perhaps deriving from the old name Forru), is the archaeological site Sa Sedda ‘e Sa Caudeba, from the Nuraghic period (but frequented until Roman times and then abandoned due to raids of the Saracens) where there are two important tombs of the giants. I walk around admiring the different architecture of the two tombs, the first built with a “dolmen” technique while the second consists of overlapping rows of stones.
We go back to the village. Today is the national day of folklore and popular traditions. At the former wheat bank, today a museum dedicated to the memory of Giovanni Battista Tuveri where exhibitions and events are held, a musical meeting was organised with the master of launeddas Stefano Pinna from Cabras.
For years, in fact, Collinas hosted the launeddas festival which currently takes place in Villaputzu. But here the tradition of launeddas has remained strong. During the feast of Santa Maria Angiargia, people dance to the sound of launeddas outside the church. And today I am fortunate to be able not only to listen and steal some secrets of this instrument, but also to duet together with a true master of the instrument, an experience that I had already tried in my passage in the Sarrabus and which is repeated today, virtually combining all the “municipalities of the launeddas”.
Ukulele a launeddas
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
The Sardegna Digital Library website is a mine of documents concerning the history and traditions of this island. I do research regularly to find some interesting stories about the places I visit, and today I discovered a program that aired in 2008 on Radio Rai Sardegna called Radio Sardegna Carovana on the road, hosted by Elio Turno Arthemalle, Vito Biolchini and Cristina Maccioni.
In episode 24 the “caravan” is in Collinas and runs into Bianca Laura Petretto, who lived in Sardara when her military father was transferred here, and who loves Collinas and her suggestive territory.
Bianca Laura tells anecdotes and characters, like Silvano Garau who made his house a real museum of tradition. Silvano is the historical guide of the village. Inside his eccentric house there is also a disco, and a mystical room that contains a statue brought from Santiago de Compostela (where Silvano makes the journey every year) and which he lends to the church of San Rocco during the saint’s feast.
Then Bianca Laura tells of the legend of the wood of Santa Maria Angiargia, or the curse that would strike anyone who takes away plants, flowers, even wood or twigs from here. The only ones exempt from the curse would be animals and microorganisms!
And again she tells us about the rivalry between Collinas and Villanovaforru and their archaic disputes.
Then she leaves us with a desire, that of being able to transform the ancient court house of Zia Rosa, which still contains the ancient roses cultivated by the old owner, into a place for artists, where residences can be made, with the creation of works of art for a traveling exhibition that starts right here, in the shade of a hill with pear and cherry trees.