While I cycle the short climb that leads from Oniferi to Orani, I do not know what awaits me yet. The longest day of the tour so far. Ready, steady, gooooo!
Meeting with Gesuina, who absolutely wants to be called Gina, and who will accompany me throughout the day; I leave the bike in the beautiful Palazzo Maninchedda (which will soon become the headquarters of the Pro Loco) and in quick sequence (without even having showered) I see the Town Hall, former convent and only town hall in Italy with an adjoining church. The corridors are teeming with works by Mario Delitala. We enter the church. A beautiful and very rare organ of the sixteenth century that Gesuina … ops, Gina opens up to show the reeds. Then meeting the people from the Pro loco, drink at the bar is mandatory.
Finally, I reach the Mecca of Orani, which will be opened exceptionally for me since today is the closing day: the Nivola Museum. The temporary exhibition on his works representing the unrest in Chicago in 1968: beautiful. And then the sculptures, the sandcasts, drawings, advertising graphics, carpets, paintings, ceramics, I remain breathless to contemplate so much variety in his artistic production.
I’m already mentally exhausted but it’s just the beginning. We walk the little streets that speak of Nivola, the church of Sa Itria, the photos of Carlo Bavagnoli, then the other churches, the tailors Modolo and Mura, a Dessanai Street dedicated to my grandfather (but where is the y?), the Campusantu Vetzu, the collapsed church with an Aragonese tower.
Lunch in a restaurant with the mayor and members of the Pro loco. And then off on a trip to Monte Gonare. Breathtaking view despite the clouds and a bit of mist. On the way back we go to a local producer of ‘abbardente’, the strongest spirit in the world. ..argh … Rest now? No. Meetings with musicians, visit to the site of the traditional mask, Su Bundhu. Visit to the music school, where I play a bit of ukulele. Then bar and drink again. And a takeaway pizza. Can I go now, Ges … Gina? Agreed. Pfiuuuuu.
SARDINIAN SHORT STORIES
Which municipality does Monte Gonare belong to? I ask. They answer me with a serious tone … eh, halfway between Orani and Sarule. There are two roads that go up there, one from Orani, one from Sarule. When we reach the top the road stops at Cumbessias, the little houses where they used to stop for long periods during the pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady of Gonare. There are Cumbessias on both sides of the road. Our are these, they tell me, the most beautiful! Then you see that the side of Sarule built this horrible iron fence! We climb towards the sanctuary. Ten minutes of hard climb and we are at the top of the mountain with the church. They explain to me that they had to bring the material with donkeys to renovate it. Recently they also used a helicopter. We enter the church. The passage between the side doors divides the church benches into two. The part near the altar is ours, they tell me, while we left the half at the bottom to Sarule … I smile, I’m starting to understand. When we return, they warn me: drink only wine and not water tomorrow in Sarule, the water of Sarule makes you become stupid!