328/377: Lunamatrona


Arrival in Lunamatrona. Photo by Matteo Setzu

Villanovaforru-Lunamatrona all downhill! And I find myself “once again” in the middle of Marmilla with the Giara di Gesturi in front of me and the view that of the typical “mamellar” (breasts) hills.

I head to the “Da Stefy” bar where the owner Stefano, who will host me tonight, is waiting for me. Here Matteo joins us too, a photographer who takes me to visit the village and its territory. Both Stefano and Matteo have been following my project for a while and couldn’t wait to help me!

Capital representing Juno at the San Giovanni Battista Parish church

The first stop is the parish church of San Giovanni Battista, with the façade that still has the striped rock typical of these hills, already observed in Collinas, Sardara and Villanovaforru.

The interior is majestic, with wooden altars of fine workmanship and radiant colours, the imposing retable of Santa Maria, from the sixteenth century, erroneously attributed to Cavaro, later believed to be the work of Antioco Mainas, a painter from Cagliari from the Stampace workshop.

And other important details, such as a capital representing Juno, from which the origin of the name Lunamatrona could derive, probably coming from an ancient temple in the locality of Giniu (from Juno) dedicated to the goddess Juno.

Santa Maria Assunta medioeval church

We head to the outskirts of the village, first to the medieval church of Santa Maria Assunta, from the twelfth or thirteenth century, then we drive towards the volcanic rock ridge that stands behind the village, Sa Corona Arrubia (“the red crown”) so called not for the color of the rock but due to the presence of red lichens that give this typical color.

Chairlift at Sa Corona Arrubia

The Sa Corona Arrubia Consortium takes its name from this characteristic area, dotted with the remains of nuraghi overlooking the ridge, to which about twenty municipalities in Marmilla adhere, with the aim of promoting and managing all tourist and artisanal activities. industrial, agricultural and commercial, as well as to enhance the environmental, archaeological, architectural, historical, demo-anthropological assets of the area.

At the foot of the summit, next to the now disused chairlift that was supposed to lead right to the top of the ridge, is the Sa Corona Arrubia Museum. In the beautiful setting of the diorama room, a series of environmental reconstructions make us immerse ourselves in the territories of all the countries of the consortium, through flora and fauna faithfully reconstructed between changing lights and sounds that come a little from here a little from there.

Medicinal herbs at Sa Corona Arrubia museum

Then there is the part dedicated to botany: countless samples of mushrooms, and then a beautiful herbarium, complete with a reconstruction of an ancient herbal laboratory. In the anthropic room there are several archaeological finds from the territory and objects and tools of the agro-pastoral culture.

But the thing I remember about this place, even if I never managed to get there, is the dinosaur exhibition which in 2000 attracted thousands of visitors from all over the island!

Cuaddu ‘e Nixias giants’ tomb

On the way back we stop to see the Cuaddu ‘e Nixias giants’ tomb, beautiful, solitary in the middle of a field, with a huge stele with holes, probably by human hands to tie the horses (hence the name). From the analysis of the finds found inside the tomb, it is thought that it may be one of the oldest in Sardinia.

At lunch I am at Stefano’s house, with his parents who tell me about their dry melon cultivation, typical of the area. In the afternoon I can rest, I can’t believe it! We receive a visit from an old acquaintance of mine in the musical world, the legendary sound engineer Sebastiano Vacca who tells me about the musical exploits of his nephews Nicola and Stefano, both appreciated drummers!

At “Da Stefy” bar

The “mood” is ready for tonight’s performance. At the “Da Stefy” bar, a historic Sardinian “venue” for rock concerts, a few people gather. On stage I, Matteo Tuveri on prepared guitar and Efisio Lecis on drums … one, two, three, four … and yet another day ends with shared music!




Diorama at the Sa Corona Arrubia Museum. Photo by di Matteo Setzu

The week before the start of this crazy project I receive a friend request on facebook from Matteo Setzu, who offers me support (more than a year before!) for when I would arrive in his village Lunamatrona.

But the thing that intrigues me most is that in his message he also tells me about his mission to be able to photograph all the 377 municipalities of Sardinia! Matteo is a good photographer, I start following him and I happen to see the images of him that populate the social networks, especially the beautiful black and white shots.

So far Matteo has managed to visit and photograph just over 200 municipalities. He somehow reminds me of the photographic project by Livio from Ilbono. I wish him success in his undertaking so that, if I too manage to reach the end of this journey, we will finally be able to enter the visitors’ club of 377 municipalities, as “completers” of a sticker album dedicated to Sardinia!