The journey is short, in the plains, the Montiferru always visible, as well as some basalt stone outcrops. On the road I chat with a running girl, she trains for an ultramarathon, today she will be running thirty-five kilometers, while I’m cycling three.
I enter Milis and I already like it. Well-kept houses, in basalt, but there is already a more familiar air to me, that of the style of Campidano houses approaching. I climb a beautiful street, with colorful houses and lines of orange trees, one of the symbols of Milis, famous for its orange groves.
I get to the main square, a beautiful roundabout with two tall palm trees in the middle surrounded by a curious fence, a modern sculpture. On one side there is a beautiful orange building. Initially I think it is the Town Hall, instead I find out it’s the Palazzo Boyl (this is a different Boyl from that of Palazzo Boyl in Cagliari). On the other side there is the church of San Sebastiano with its beautiful basalt bell tower.
Before lunch I meet the Mayor Sergio. At the same moment some friends from Cagliari come to see me. Sergio offers us an aperitif at the bar and then invites us all to his house for lunch. The house is an old building in the historic centre, well restored and containing many historical objects that belonged to his family. I cook for everyone a pasta with tuna fillet and fresh tomatoes, the second time I eat fish since I started the ride!
After lunch Sergio takes us all to visit the beautiful Palazzo Boyl. Despite being always closed, Sergio takes the responsibility to open it for occasional visits. The rooms contain very old furnishings. There are some upright pianos and in a room even a grand piano that I can play for a while.
We climb to the upper floors, where there is an exhibition of Sardinian costumes, and then two conference rooms. We climb further up a ladder, we lower ourselves so as not to bang our heads and go out into a small terrace on the top of the roof of the building. All Milis below us, the square, the church, the Montiferru behind, the Campidano opposite, Oristano and the sea to the side. A stunning view.
After my friends leave, I rest for a little. The day in Milis ends, but at night I meet Simona from Proloco who invited me to Sa Spiseddadura, an enogastronomic event in the family Orro cellars of Tramatza, a few kilometers away. Since everyone from Milis go there I think it is useless to be here alone and I make an exception to the rule of staying one day in one place.
I did the right choice, since I spend a nice evening, with very good vernaccia tastings, quality food and live music, as well as meetings with almost all the mayors of the area, which I will meet in the coming days. Public Relations!
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Sergio, 72, is a gentleman. Some people from the previous municipalities have already talked about him very well. He kisses women on the hand, a gentleman of other times. He calls me to welcome me to Milis and chatting we discover that as a young man he knew my father’s family.
Basically he’s from Cagliari, only for a few years he moved to Milis in the old house of his parents, after working in Cagliari, teaching in Sassari, having dedicated himself to humanitarian missions all over the world.
At lunch Sergio tells me and my friends why he became Mayor. One day his wife was sick. Together with their nephew, adopted by them as a daughter, they went to the hospital, after a few hours Sergio’s wife was gone. The certainty of fifty years vanished in a few hours due to fulminant pancreatitis.
After a few years of discouragement Sergio decided to fill his days with work, to run for mayor and take care of his belonging community. And from the way it appears to me, the village seems to be doing pretty well. He tells us with a smile that with the commander of the carabinieri they discuss the type of handcuffs to put on him for when sooner or later he will be arrested to continue showing the Palazzo Boyl to tourists who want it, even though the place is closed to the public. In the evening Sergio reaches us for Sa Spisseddadura.
The next day (I write this with a few days delay), he will come to see me for an aperitif in Bauladu, and yesterday he came to Tramatza to eat with our group. Today he’s called me to make sure that I have accommodation in San Vero Milis. He assures me that Thursday he will come to see me at Baratili San Pietro during my event organized by the Municipality. He thanks me for having let him spend a nice day with friends, he calls me an aggregator of people, which is what is happening often on this tour. Sergio, 72, is a gentleman.