After crossing the 131 state road and pedalling along the dangerous straight roads that cut through the artichoke fields of the lower Campidano, I enter Villasor, where Carmine and Daniela will host me for the day.
This village, once known for the presence of the historic Eridania sugar factory, now destroyed, has the luck to host the Siviller castle in its historic centre, from the name of its builder and feudal lord, dating back to 1414, the last castle built in Sardinia and used long as prison.
Not far away are the white church of San Biagio, the 1930s Fascist-style Town Hall and the Carabinieri barracks, the historic triad of three powers, one supervising the other.
A short distance away is also the former convent of the Capuchin Friars, adjacent to the church of Sant’Antioco, whose structure is surmounted by a water deposit from 1948 which bears the inscription “ludoteca” (toy library) in red.
The back street, via Nino Brundu, presents a series of old renovated houses, including Casa Medda and Casa Podda, with the typical structures in raw earth bricks and large internal courtyards.
Before returning home, where our mutual friend Gianluca, who hosted me in Guspini on what feels like a distant day, will join us for dinner, we pay a visit to the sculptor Cesare Tatti, whose house-workshop houses many of his curvilinear works, from very smooth light marbles.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
When we visit artist Mariano Corda, in his country house outside the village, his sculptures made of iron and wood, waste materials, welcome us in the garden, and I immediately remember having already seen several of them on my trip, in Belvì and Escolca for example.
His workshop is full of paintings, sculptures, masks, sets, and as we get to know each other Mariano talks to me about his theatrical activities and the artistic ones that he organises for the children.
He then tells me the story of Andrea Portas, a priest-worker who in Armungia had donated his severance pay, 120 million old lire, for all the young people in the village who were studying abroad. In Armungia he founded a popular school, attended by people of all ages, some of whom subsequently graduated. Andrea Portas was also a writer of poems, many of which were published (Notturni and Dalla parte dei vinti).
Before leaving he gives me a work made by the children, three small ceramics joined by a rope, made by trampling on clay, footprints that recall the shape of Sardinia and still bear the marks of the soles of children’s shoes.