Today only two kilometers, flat. I cycle in the morning cold admiring the hills around, half covered with fog, whose limestone tops stand out in the air in the style of the Ogliastra “heels”. They had anticipated it, on the village entry sign, in addition to the name Segariu, it appears “Las Vegas” added with a marker … and so I add my sticker to it!
I arrive at the main square where Alex, the young vice-mayor, welcomes me. After having offered me a coffee and left my bike and luggage at the house where I will sleep tonight, Alex takes me around to see a few things, telling me some stories of this village, a crossroad between Medio Campidano, Marmilla and Trexenta, at the foot of limestone hills completely gutted by mining activities, which replaced forever the historical activity of this country, the production of tiles.
We pass beside the Rio Pau which crosses the town, then we cross the Rio Lanessi. Alex tells me about the terrible flood of 2008 that left considerable damage and mud throughout the center of the village. Since then the embankments have been reinforced even if the works have yet to be finished. We arrive at the little church of Sant’Antonio da Padova, built on a sacred nuragic well, which we access through a wooden hatch that uncovers the stairs that go down to the cavity filled with water just below the altar! Not far from here is the nuraghe Sant’Antonio, four-lobed, of which little remains but still with so much to dig around.
A little further on there are new sports facilities and structures, the Artist’s House, a re-built tile oven, and the Tile Museum, where in addition to the history of materials and tile production, one finds a section dedicated to the mining history of the limestone quarries and those of kaolin, and some panels that describe the archaeological finds, including a beautiful mother goddess now kept in the museum of Cagliari, found by a farmer while plowing his fields towards Serrenti. Outside there are also pre-nuragic huts moved here piece by piece from the quarry area.
After a walk in the center, through the streets full of water wells, onto which old wooden portals overlook, we go up towards the high area, and we arrive at Sa Mitza where there are two old wells from 1913. Nearby there are also several furnaces where they produced the lime. A gentleman tells us that Segariu is the town of seven churches (some of which have disappeared such as San Sebastiano), of the seven fountains and of the seven neighborhoods. From here we move to the other hill where there is a beautiful pine forest and where we can admire the beautiful panorama over the fields and hills of the Marmilla, up to the Giara di Gesturi.
Before lunch we manage to cross over the canal bridge that brings water to the Furtei dam and reach a beautiful wooded area where we climb to reach the limestone ridges, Is Costas, where there are remains of domus de janas, caves and shepherds’ shelters. In front of us a beautiful panorama and another limestone peak called Sa moba ‘e su casteddu.
In the afternoon, after visiting the Tagliaferri quarries, we conclude the tour with the church of San Giorgio, in front of the former Monte Granatico, inside which there is a beautiful polychrome retable.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
The mining activities in Sardinia, rather than short stories, can be considered novels, like the one of the Tagliaferri quarries, which we visit in the afternoon, the only ones left open after the near ones Vargiu closed several years ago.
Here we meet the director of the construction site who takes us around, among plants for the production of various materials produced by the crumbling of fossiliferous myocene limestones. The activities began in the 1960s, but production has now fallen so much after the crisis that the sirens that warn the village of the imminent explosion of a mine ring only once a month while before, it was even two or three times a week.
We get in the car along the steps of the quarry fronts, and when we reach the top the view with the machines below is impressive. The director looks for the best places to take pictures from. Then he sighted an enormous structure from which a walkway stretches out into the void of the quarry.
“Follow me”. I hesitate a little but then I enter the footbridge that stretches into the void. My feet start to hurt. I remember all the times on this trip that I was on the edge of incredible cliffs, or when I climbed a nuraghe from the outer wall, or when I crossed the bridge of the green train, and I take courage. I walk in the void and arrive at the end of the walkway.
From here I take pictures below, front and sides. There is no sense of vertigo. “You do not suffer from vertigo, you are only afraid of height” the director tells me.
Perhaps it is the fear of void that will be at the end of this journey?