It’s not that I want to repeat myself, but this really was a short journey, the shortest since I started, and perhaps the shortest that there will be, since the exit sign from Baratili San Pietro is immediately followed by the entry sign of Riola Sardo, literally a few meters away from each other, with a narrow stream of water that passes in between.
I cycle the high street and arrive at the church square. Not far away, in a beautiful old-looking building, lives Romana, a former geology colleague who will host me for this day. After a coffee and some chat, remembering exams and professors of the geology course, Romana takes me for a walk in the village.
We pass next to the central church of San Martino, whose bell tower, as well as most of the bell towers in the area, is covered with colored majolica tiles. I can also hear the sound of the midday bells, well tuned.
We skirt the beautiful building that houses the Hotel Lucrezia, and then another beautiful mansion, all owned by families of wealthy local landowners. Basalt is still used for building walls, but sandstone is the main stone used for the edges of doors and windows.
Continuing the tour to the suburbs we pass only low houses, one floor, in ladiri bricks or plastered, and we arrive at an open space with the remains of a church, the ancient parish church of Santa Corona, of which some walls remain and a part of the chapel with some niches, all well restored.
In the afternoon, together with Romana’s husband, Valerio, we go to the Parco dei Suoni (Sounds Park), an old sandstone quarry that was used for the construction of all the houses in the area. The large yard is surrounded by quarry fronts where the vertical signs of the excavations, mixed with the oblique layers of the sandstone form incredible geometries.
This space has long been used for musical events, even if its original function, which is to contain structures or sculptures that produce sounds permanently, has never been realised.
Not far from the Parco dei Suoni, the stretch of coast belonging to the municipality of Riola Sardo is breathtaking. Two further sandstone quarries on one side, and the sea on the other, with amazing cliffs. The sunset is ruined only by clouds of mosquitoes that devour us savagely until we run away quickly.
Inspired by the geometries of the sandstones at the Parco dei Suoni.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
One of the most beautiful buildings of Riola is a b&b belonging to Giulia, a girl who yesterday followed us all day in Baratili, undeterred, to photograph all the moments of my day with great passion. Unfortunately, the night weariness of writing these posts made me forget to include her in the post yesterday (sorry, I’ll add you immediately!), but since Giulia is from Riola, it makes more sense to have her today on this page.
Giulia showed me some of her photographic works, very particular, abstract, and beautiful. All day (in secret) I asked myself if Giulia is a man or a woman. Man for her clearly masculine traits, woman for her name and behaviour, and then she tells me about having to visit her girlfriend, so I’m a bit confused. However, I do not care, Giulia is nice and is here to do her job in a professional manner, and I live in the homeland of free sexual inclinations, I am not surprised at anything.
But then I remember being in Sardinia, in a village of two thousand souls, and I wonder if Giulia has an easy life here, if her talent in photography is recognized, or if she is a victim of prejudice in such a small reality. From how the day went yesterday I would say that there is no prejudice on anyone’s part, maybe I was the only one to ask myself certain questions.
But speaking in retrospect with Giulia, she explains to me (I finally understand …) that for a woman born by mistake in a man’s body it was not easy to impose herself in this reality, and that there is still so much to be improved, especially in people’s mentality.
So we look forward with confidence that all the nuances between ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ will eventually be accepted even in the smallest and most closed reality of Sardinia.