The train on which, in 1921, D.H. Lawrence once arrived in the heart of Cagliari today stops here. To go into the city you have to walk a few meters further and take the surface subway. On the station square I look out at the gate of the Sardinian Railway Museum, currently closed, and I glimpse some old rusty carriages in a messy courtyard.
It starts raining. The water finds its way back to Pauli, the old name of Monserrato, the swamp. I go inside the town, passing the obelisk of the Redeemer, and arriving at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Monserrat, next to the Town Hall, in an elegant square that today transmits winter melancholy.
In via Giulio Cesare, among the many elegant buildings and Campidanese-style houses, I enter the courtyard of the Casa della Cultura where there is an old bunker.
A little further on, I arrive at the famous social cellars of Monserrato, today called Pauli’s. I have arrived at the municipal limit with Cagliari, where there is for me too, as for the train, a sense of terminus.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
There are many municipalities where some inhabitants have created a blog to collect the historical stories of the community. In Monserrato Salvatore M. created paulionlineblog.
On the blog I read: “The nights of Monserrato are agitated by ghosts. It’s no joke, especially for the many who swear they saw them appear in their homes. There is the grizzled man who wanders around – among the tenants – in the Campidanese house built three hundred years ago in via Alessandro Severo. Those who have met him say that, every two-three months, he goes from the warehouse to the kitchen via the garden. Incredible as it may seem, there is also an identikit: tall, graying hair and combed back. Despite this, no one knows exactly who this soul in pain is.”
And then the story continues: “In via Giulio Cesare 240, on the other hand, the one whom everyone familiarly calls Mr. Peddozzu hasn’t shown up for a while. He has been spotted three times, says Maria Grazia Cossu, 93 years old”.
And Don Sergio Manunza of the Santissimo Redentore parish: “Spirits? Souls in purgatory? Legends or something more? Certainly Monserrato preserves the mystery that fuels fear, even if in the end Mr. Peddozzu and the grizzled man have never created problems for anyone”.
Yet there are those who swear that the parish priest’s statements are quite confusing and that some stories are anything but legends!