51/377: Terralba



I travel a few kilometers, in a bike path that stops at a certain point. I continue down the main road. I stop at the entrance sign for my usual ritual, sticker 377, photography at the sign, and selfie.

Terralba is the birthplace of my grandfather, so I already start feeling sentimentally linked to the place. I pass a roundabout beyond which I see a beautiful granite sculpture, which I will discover to be the Great War Memorial, by sculptor Dina Pala. I pass by the Casa del Fascio, a beautiful building with a severe style from last century. I arrive at the main square, with the beautiful church of San Pietro, once a diocese, where the sisters Valeria and Monica Tronci are waiting impatiently for me, following my live stream on Facebook.


We go into the Town Hall where I meet Mayor Sandro and Councilor for Culture Giulia Carta (the second Giulia Carta of this tour … it is already difficult to memorise names and faces, let alone cases of homonymy, it’s the end for my brain!) I am given a nice plaque in memory of my visit … the first of the tour!


The morning is already full of commitments. Firstly, visit to the middle schools where I tell three classes my adventure. Immediately thereafter, visit to the Sebastiano Dessanay Park that the town had named after my grandfather several years ago, with a skaters’ trail, which unfortunately can not be used for safety reasons. The Councilor, however, assures me of the upgrading of the site and the removal of the fence that surrounds it.

Lunch is organized by the third sister Tronci, Claudia, famous for her cooking program at Sardegna Uno TV. She meets the expectations. Baked gilets with potatoes, exceptional!


In the afternoon we move to Marceddì, a village on the sea. The low houses are very similar to the houses of San Salvatore in the Sinis peninsula. Difference here is the sea on one side with the fishing boats, and the ponds on the other side. We walk through the marshes to the beautiful Spanish tower, right on the sea shore, with the view of Capo Frasca in front, on a very windy day.


In the evening we conclude with a visit to the exhibition on the historic land drainage. It is a bit similar to the one I saw at the Arborea museum, the story of how these areas have been completely modified by the reclamation work of the last century. Some photos of the works are impressive, especially those that show the harsh working conditions of workers, sometimes forced to shovel with their legs in the water all day, devoured by leeches and mosquitoes.



A waltz … captured by romanticism ….




Visits in the dark. The days are short, around 5pm it starts already to get dark. The ideal time to retire to do my daily work. Instead, most days the desire of my guides to show me even more things is always great, even if it is dark. So the review of what I saw in the dark during this journey is long: vineyards in the dark, valleys in the dark, nuraghi in the dark, countryside in the dark, sacred wells in the dark, streets and buildings in the dark, churches in the dark, even an exhibition in the dark, in the sense that a mouse had eaten the power cables and the place was without electricity, but my guides were not discouraged and they made me go around the exhibition rooms making light with their mobile phones! Dedication to the top degree!

In 1903 my grandfather Sebastiano Dessanay was born in Terralba. In my head, after listening to the history of the reclamation of these territories, I reconstruct the scenario of his first years of life. His father Pasquale was transferred here as a municipal clerk. A territory completely surrounded by ponds and unhealthy marshes infested with anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria was common. Terralba only extended around what is now the Via Roma, with the church at one end. In one of these houses, probably rebuilt, the Dessanai family lived. In these years, however, work began improving the territory, especially for the containment of the Rio Mogoro, which often overflowed violently creating devastation all around. So a village where certainly it was not easy to live, probably a nightmare. Such that the Dessanai family in 1906 was already in Uras, not far from Monte Arci, probably a slightly healthier area (continued…I’ll be there tomorrow.)