It seems incredible but even today in Furtei, as happened yesterday in Serrenti, a historic car awaits me, a 1969 Fiat 500! It belongs to Enrico who is hosting me today, and on which, together with his cousin Alberto, who hosted me in the very distant day of Norbello, he takes us around the village and its territory.
With the roar of the Fiat 500, we drive the narrow streets of the historic centre, full of old portals, some historic houses such as Casa Setzu, and stopping to visit the churches, Santa Barbara, with a beautiful bronze portal and inside an important painting of the Cavaro school as well as the ancient tombs under the trap door of the sacristy, and the Romanic church of San Narciso, with a multicoloured stone facade, containing mysterious ‘cupels’.
Beyond the Rio Mannu, on a hill is the small church of San Biagio, where the first nucleus of Furtei, called Nuraxi, once stood. We go as far as the hamlet of Santu Miali, where there is a power plant. We are close to the Sa forrada de s’acqua reservoir, closed by an imposing dam.
Entering these hills, Enrico and Alberto point out to me the devastation caused by the searches for gold carried out by the Australian Sardinia Gold Mining, which have now been completed for years. In addition to the gutting of the hills, and therefore the large aesthetic damage produced, it seems that these soils, and therefore the relative surface waters, are rich in pollutants, especially cyanide. In this way, a burning issue in Sardinia is re-proposed, that of industry which seems to bring benefits only to a few, often not Sardinians, and to leave only damage on the territory that only the passing of centuries, perhaps, will be able to repair.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
“Enough. I escape by train” was the project and mission of Stefano, a native of Furtei, and his partner Tiziana. In 44 days and 20,600 kilometers by train they went hunting for Sardinians residing abroad and, from Portugal to Vietnam, they met about a hundred.
One of the best things about their experience, as well as mine, was being hosted by people who didn’t know them. For example in Holland, where the couple was hosted by Ignazio, a native of Villa Sant’Antonio, who invented his job: selling ice creams with a walking cart.
Or the owner of a Sardinian restaurant in Beijing who organised a dinner with other Sardinians, to donate the entire proceeds to the couple. In China they also risked a dangerous sanction by sleeping in tents on the Great Wall of China!