45/377: Cabras



Again, today a furious mistral, luckily I have it on my shoulders and the road from Riola to Cabras, passing through Nurachi, is short. I cycle along fields surrounded by reeds, then the pond and shortly after I arrive in Cabras, on a gloomy Sunday.

I meet the municipal councilor Federica who welcomes me in the bar run by her husband Elvis (WOOOWW … rock’n’roooollll !!!!) and immediately after we head to the Town Hall to meet the Mayor Andrea. All together we head to the Marongiu Civic Museum, one of the most impressive collections of archaeological finds from different eras, from the Neolithic to the Roman period passing through the Phoenicians. The whole chronological sequence of the finds is expertly told to me by Nicoletta. I listen to everything with great interest, and obviously once entered the hall of the famous Giants of Monte Prama I am captured by the story of their discovery and the mystery around their function in the nuragic necropolis. I am also told the museum’s extension project, which should one day host the rest of the giant statues, now at the Cagliari Museum.


Now I have definitely arrived to the coastal areas, and I notice it at lunchtime, when I am served a lunch of fish at Da Attilio restaurant. Apart from the lunch of Bauladu’s elders at the Pontis fish farm of Cabras, and the fish soup at Ovodda, the rest of the trip (42 days) was meat. So I’m very happy to eat lots of Cabras bottarga, besides a whole series of other appetizers and delicious fish!


The afternoon is dedicated to the visit of Capo San Marco. I do not visit the archaeological site of Tharros, which I have already seen in the past and which can still be seen from the road that enters the isthmus. Instead I decide to enjoy this mistral storm day. The wind is so strong that it shakes me. The waves on the north side are very strong, the more I go up the promontory the more the wind unbalances me. I climb a steep slope, I turn around, and the view across the peninsula is breathtaking. I get to the lighthouse, but it is impossible to just approach the rocky cliff, the wind blows too hard and moves me towards the abyss. I enjoy the power of nature.


On the way back I enter the village of San Salvatore, famous for having been a set for various western movies. Around the church, where every year the ‘barefoot’ men come running to bring the saint, there are a whole series of houses, the muristenes, which form real streets. Wandering around one of these I turn a corner and … a guy dressed as a cowboy, all lit by lights and surrounded by cameras and people, is pointing the gun at another cowboy thrown on the ground. I can not believe it. Shortly thereafter I can ask a girl and she explains that they are shooting a commercial for an app.

When I return, I stop for dinner at the restaurant Sa Bell’e Crabasa, where once again I have a nice sea-food meal! I come back to the bnb happy for the day full of archeology, nature and fish!



Statuary riff, like the Giants of Monte Prama.





This is also a journey in search of my roots, and as such it also includes genealogical elements, not just research of people who died tens or hundreds of years ago, but also meetings with living people never met before, belonging to the large extended family of the Dessanay/i.

Dispelling the belief that the final y of the last name is more ‘valuable’ of the final i present in the other variant, most likely it is due only to transcription errors accumulated over the centuries (just look how many times my last name was written with the final i even in recent times!) After all, the surname originated in Laconi at the end of the 16th century and is already found in those times with the two variants. But this is another story … back to Cabras, for me a new place for the Dessanai, which I thought almost exclusively present in Laconi, Nuoro and Cagliari (my branch).

Today, in Cabras I met Gianni and Giuseppe Dessanai for the first time. My father and their father were first cousins. So we will have to be third-degree cousins, despite the final y and i. They welcome me warmly even if they do not know our kinship well, which I explain to them immediately. I’m always interested in mapping the younger Dessanay/i, to understand who will transmit the surname to subsequent generations. Gianni’s son, Tommaso, 10 years old, is one of the few of the last generation (along with my nephew Leonardo, 14 years old and a few others) who will do this. My family tree expands, I ask for birth dates, we take photographs, and we talk about my project. At the end I go away enriched with a new branch, new lifeblood, and hope that the surname does not disappear … go Tommaso go!!