A real cyclist, the Sardinian champion Paolo Massenti, President of the Bike Tour 4 Mori association, comes to pick me up in Segariu and escort me for a few, slow kilometers uphill. Direction, the dome of the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine Assunta, visible from all over the district, in the center of Guasila, in the neoclassical style of 1852, designed by Gaetano Cima, next to the Rector’s Palace and the small church of the Rosario.
The mayor Paola and the municipal administrators welcome me as if they have known me for a lifetime, and take me to see the imaginary Fraus of Giulio Angioni‘s novels, the churches, Santa Lucia of the sixteenth century, the historic houses, the Raimondo Scintu Museum, gold medal to military value in the First World War, the literary ‘ clouds’ scattered around the walls of the town, pills of wisdom for the community.
Then we visit the Scrinia Sacra sacred art museum, in the former municipal building from 1857. Here you will find important silverware forged by Giovanni Mameli and the stauroteca, the precious reliquary containing the “Spina Christi”. They tell me about Sa cassa de s’acchixedda, the hunting of the little calf, and the nine neighborhood palio.
After a colossal lunch I am in the company of Paolo who kindly hosts me and the trumpet player Riccardo Pittau, an excellent musician. Close to the Is Concas domus de janas we duet on the rocks and then, in the light of the sunset, outside the country church of the Madonna d’Itria. From the lookout of Genn’e Sobi we observe the sun setting behind the mountains and the night falling over the fields of the Trexenta.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Father Ivaldo Casula was a missionary priest from Guasila. Just two days ago, November 28th, it would have been his birthday, 64 years never turned. In fact, in April 2007, of a serious infection, he died in Makeni, Sierra Leone, during one of his missions. In the center of Guasila a panel remembers him in his own words:
“Dear Friends of Guasila, a very dear greeting to all of you as I am about to leave for Sierra Leone, Africa, after many years of activity in Europe and America.
I leave because I am a missionary priest of Christ of the Church. My missionary vocation would be incomplete if I did not give these mature years of my life to the brothers and sisters of Sierra Leone.
For more than ten years I have been waiting for this return, made impossible until now by the terrible war situation in which the people of Sierra Leone have found themselves.
The war has now been over for more than a year and my Superiors finally allow me to return.
I have met, known and loved so many people in this Western world, but you, people of Guasila, are the ones I know and love most as brothers and sisters. Although uprooted from my country for a long time, my heart has always remained anchored here in my native soil.
This is where I grew up as a man and as a Christian. […] It is here that I learned the love for the countryside, the wonders of nature and the hard work of women and men to feed their children.
But it is also here that I learned to look beyond the horizons of our small country and to feel part of a family that embraces the whole world.
I return to Sierra Leone carrying you in my heart and wanting to remain as a bridge between you and the people of that African country, who are slowly discovering faith in Christ and finding the strength, as a Christian community, to rebuild their lives destroyed by war. “