I cycle the very short trip in company of two cyclists, Massimo who I already met in Bonarcado, and Gianmichele, who came to Bauladu to escort me. We cycle along the side road that runs parallel to the 131 motorway. The dominant element is the reeds. We enter the village along the beautiful old Roman bridge, the longest there is in Sardinia.
We arrive at the Town Hall where the Mayor Francesca, who I actually met at Sa Spiseddadura the other night at the Orro Family cellars, is waiting for me. Councilor Giovanni and Gabriella are joining to take me on a walk in the village.
The center is well cared for, and we are definitely entering the Campidano plain. The basaltic stone is less present while we still see some walls in mud bricks, the so-called ladiri, and many plastered houses. We get to the square dedicated to Sant’Efisio, which here however is celebrated on a different day from that of Cagliari. We also pass the beautiful church of San Giovanni, which already has a mixture of construction stones, including sandstone.
Before lunch, they take me to a house where some ladies are just churning out the pan’e gerda, a typical bread with pork crackling. We eat it freshly baked. Shortly thereafter, they take me to the beautiful Casa Enna, a space where events are held, full of ancient objects from the daily life of the past.
Lunch is from the Orro family, where the owner of the company Davide has just returned from the two days of Sa Spiseddadura, when the cellars are open to the public for the tasting of their vernaccia wine. After lunch, in which I can also taste the delicious creams of olives, asparagus, onions and others produced by them, Davide explains to me the production process and of course we do the tasting, from the youngest to the oldest vernaccia, all excellent.
In the afternoon Gabriella takes me to see more closely the Roman Bridge, which we cross on foot. Until the 70s there were still cars and trucks passing on it!
After a wide tour on the outskirts, surrounded by reeds, we arrive at the home of the artist Giovanni Lutzu. In addition to paintings and beautiful stone sculptures, Giovanni is an experienced reed worker. The display of objects, games and musical instruments is impressive. I try to play some instruments, especially a reed violin with two strings!
The day ends with a good restaurant just behind one of the places where Tramatza is well known in Sardinia: its service area and the bar on the 131 motorway! So after dinner, in which we were joined by Sergio Mayor of Milis, we make a stop at the service bar Oasis 102 for a goodnight drink.
From an improvisation on a Giovanni Lutzu’s reed violin.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
When I get to the bnb, Vittoria greets me in the garden, where her mother Pina, 90, is sitting on a chair enjoying the little sun of this autumn.
In the evening when the Mayor Francesca comes to pick me up, we keep talking to Pina, and Vittoria shows me the boards where they expose the beautiful ornamental breads made by her mother.
Pina tells us how this art is getting lost, and how young people who try to take it forward want to learn and do everything too quickly. And then she tells us about when she was still in business and there were a lot of people coming to the village to see her bread.
She also tells us how many people in the village were envious of his work. And she goes on telling a story when a couple had come to the village to look for her, and were asking around if someone knew where Pina Loi lived. The answers were always ‘no, no, never heard of her’. Only once entered the tobacco store, the mother of the current mayor Francesca, addressed the couple to her home.
Re-encounters. It is only after a few minutes after I am introduced to the parish priest Don Fabio, when I hear that he says he is from Meana Sardo, that I recognize him, looking at him well and recognizing his expression. We had not seen each other for almost thirty years.
Fabio was a theology student in Cagliari, and he attended the parish of the Santissimo Crocifisso where I played regularly at the Mass. For me spiritual retreats were a nice way to spend time with friends, to have fun like crazy, and to try to pick up girls.
For Fabio they were certainly something different (except for the fun, which was assured with him!). Once he gave me a small crucifix in gold and said to me: ‘this was a gift, now I give it to you, hold it carefully and every time you look at it, remember me and God’.
Over the years I have sold all my gold, no longer interested in memories of baptisms, first communions and confirmations. But one thing I never gave away. That crucifix. Which, every time I found it jumping out during various moves and tidying ups, it never made me think of God, but of Fabio yes. For thirty years. Too bad I did not have it with me on this trip, I would certainly have returned it to him, in honor of this reunion.