I go further south, in this somewhat harsh area between Trexenta and Gerrei, where there is a somehow tiring up and down. The day is overcast and arriving in Sant’Andrea Frius seems appropriate with the somewhat cool temperature (frius means cold in Sardinian). Although some linguists believe that Frius may be a variation of Priu, lazy, like Bonorva‘s Sant’Andrea Priu.
In the Town Hall the Mayor Simone welcomes me and gives me contacts for the day and some advice on what to see in this area. The first stop is therefore the Pab’e is tellasa farm, where the owner Maria welcomes me.
During the good hour that I spend here, Maria tells me that their production is all natural, with particular attention to the environment, and that the strength is the differentiation of the products. She shows me their rich production of cheeses, including fresh robiola and stracchino, sheep’s mozzarella, joddu (a local yogurt), as well as aged pecorino. In 2013 the company obtained the Coldiretti Green Oscar prize. I plan to return for some products as soon as I finish the trip.
From the farm I take a ride in the direction of the mountains behind, the Gerrei, Goni and Ballao are not that far from here. I cross two small fords, getting my feet wet and I observe the green and the increasingly steep hills. I don’t want to stray too far though. I return to the village.
The parish church of Sant’Andrea is modern, the old 17th century church was demolished to be rebuilt in the 1950s. The houses are also modern and there are few testimonies of historic buildings with some ruined photographs that portray important moments of the community.
Under the advice of the Mayor I go to lunch at the Su Nuraxi restaurant where I am a guest of the owner Filippo. In the afternoon I visit another production place, the Torronificio Melis, where Claudio guides me through their products, honey of various qualities and above all torrone (nougat), also of various types, including the little torroncini, which are given to me at the end of the visit and that will fill me with energy during the last rides of the trip.
Then I go to the country church of Nostra Signora di Bonaria, not far from the village, built in the 1960s and then restored in the 2000s. I sit down to contemplate the silence in the small amphitheater facing the church before returning to the village for a musical meeting.
When the marching band passed by
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Giuseppe, former Mayor of Sant’Andrea, walks me to my b&b and after inviting me to dinner he takes me to the headquarters of the Giuseppe Verdi Music Band.
I am welcomed with warmth and enthusiasm. I listen to the rehearsals with pleasure and I am called by the conductor to say a few words about my journey, perhaps a way of inspiring the musicians present, or so I hope.
It is not the first time that I have met a marching band on this trip and I believe it will not be the last. I therefore find myself thinking of these institutions, the oldest born at the end of the nineteenth century, the majority born in the twentieth century with a boom in the seventies and eighties.
The Sardinian bands are famous for having always won competitions at an international level, but their importance has been to bring together the young people and communities of the villages, carrying out a somehow important educational and social function.
It has often happened that from these bands many young people converged towards the conservatoires, and some even managed to get noticed, and the examples are not few. The music of the bands rarely refers to a Sardinian musical tradition, yet it is a fundamental piece of the musical culture of this island, a bit like jazz is now … which has certainly drawn from the bands to show off some prestigious soloists.