36/377: Narbolia


Basalt stone house

All downhill! For real. Very few movements of legs workout today! Narbolia is the last village on the slopes of Montiferru, from here on it will be predominantly plain. The day is a bit cloudy, this fall just fails to improve, at least in these areas.

Today I am worried because I have not yet resolved where I will stay for the night. I only have a contact with a local musician, Giuseppe, who I was given the contact by a friend.

Parish church of Santa Reparata

I get to the Town Hall, the Mayor is not there, I speak with an employee who cannot help me. I decide to take a ride in the village waiting for the Mayor to arrive. Even here in Narbolia the houses are well cared for, in basalt with a little bit of green trachyte, well-paved streets, the beautiful church of Santa Reparata with an important bell tower visible from far away.

Remains of S’Eremita church

Concerned about the accommodation, I go to a bnb but it’s closed until Easter. I decide to ride up to the remains of a country church, the church of S’Eremita, apparently a place of worship from the Nuraghic era. On the way I also see a well-preserved nuraghe.

I arrive at the ruins of the church. The place is very impressive even if completely abandoned. On a stone beside the entrance there is an ancient inscription, I read something online, a nuragic rebus.

The presence of the Templars is hypothesized here as it was in Norbello. The interior is absolutely ruined, but you can see niches on the walls and behind the altar area.

I check if it’s possible to find a sheltered corner to spend the night (really!)



Inspired by Onofrio Cocco’s pizzicato guitar.




While I pedal in a narrow street looking at the houses, I hear ‘Sebastiano!’ … it’s Giuseppe shouting, my only contact in Narbolia, to whom I had sent a message.

He takes me to his house to have coffee and he plays me a bit of ‘pizzicato’ on a Sardinian folk guitar, a technique that is getting lost he tells me, learned from his master Onofrio Cocco.

Unfortunately, Giuseppe leaves Narbolia and will not be able to help me with lodging. So I greet him and start cycling around the village.

At the Town Hall I receive the contact of Onofrio Cocco. I stop at the bar to eat and I call him. ‘Hello Onofrio, I’m the cyclist musician who goes around Sardinia. Today, unfortunately, I do not find hospitality and I will have to go to Milis or return to Seneghe ‘.

He answers: ‘WHAAAAAT ??? Come here right away, let’s talk about it in front of a glass of wine! ”

Wooden portal

We meet in front of the rehearsal room with his brother Giannetto, in a basalt house with a wooden portal, all painted with the Four Moors (Sardinian flag). After a few jokes, he welcomes me to his house, where his wife and son (a skilled builder of miniature stone houses) do their best to give me food and drinks.

Onofrio tells me the story of the Trio Cocco, with his brother and the now deceased father ‘zio Antonio’. Huge collaborations, national and international. Then he takes a Sardinian guitar and plays all the repertoire of dances he knows, and finally the famous technique of ‘pizzicato guitar’ learned from his father.

He fully understands my project and my state of mind, he calls his brother and together they offer me to sleep in their rehearsal room, because they have no space at home. I’m very happy to be here, despite the lack of bathrooms (at worst I’ll do it in the fields!), but taken care of by artists. I spend the afternoon working in their studio.

Trachyte sculptures

Meanwhile, after the dramatic post I put on Facebook in search of hospitality, exposing the risk of sleeping inside the ruins of the church of S’Eremita, I am contacted by the clerk who welcomed me at the Town Hall this morning, Mariafranca, who, together with her husband Claudio, has decided to offer me hospitality (of course, after checking who the hell was this crazy guy who went around Sardinia by bike and read my desperate post).

I evaluate the greater comfort of the offer and I communicate my decision to the Cocco brothers, who are super-understanding. Onofrio accompanies me to the new home, not before popping to the new cellar of his friend Giulio, in a beautiful renovated old house, to drink new wines, eat walnuts and tangerines, and tell more stories of musicians.

Arrived in the new accommodation, Mariafranca and Claudio welcome me very well, make me feel at home, and explain to me how much they have been affected by my project. Their two daughters, very young, both live abroad, one in Dublin, the other in Rome. They have both studied abroad.

They themselves have hosted an Australian girl for a year, and they have traveled extensively. I’m not surprised that they were somehow attracted (and perhaps felt sorry) by my crazy project.

I go to bed happy to have escaped a night in the little church of S’Eremita, thinking of the concept of hospitality, and how in a few hours you can buy the total trust of strangers. I hope this continues for the rest of the trip.