Today the road is short again, 2 km. The day is beautiful, and leaving from the ex paper mill I enjoy the radiant colors of the morning. I head in the middle of the Cixerri valley. Back from the mountains I came to a plain, just like from Montiferru I went down to Campidano weeks ago. I cut the 130 motorway from above a flyover (on which one of my fans stops me and takes a picture!) and I enter the village.
I meet the Mayor Antonello at the Town Hall. He welcomes me and tells me with passion a bit of history of Musei. Starting from the origin of the name that intrigues me a lot. Musei (or Musej) = Jesum in reverse, given by the Jesuits who lived there in antiquity. I think ‘but then the theory of Dessanay – De Sanaj = De Janas …’ (see Short Sardinian Stories in Palmas Arborea)
Musei is a village based on agriculture and farms. The lands all around are very fertile. It seems that the old village was on the river Cixerri, but there is no trace of it now. When the Jesuits were driven out, the village was moved. It seems that when they went away they had launched a curse for which the village would never have grown over 1500 inhabitants. For centuries it was just like that, until today!
Antonello takes me around the historic center, very well kept. I discover that the beautiful houses that seem to have been made yesterday, are actually very old and almost all in ladiri bricks. Musei is part of a large group of municipalities that have buildings in raw earth, a community extended to villages abroad. We visit the Church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola (foreign patron, like in Oliena). Then the water spring known as Acqua Concia, slightly salty and used in the past for the fabrics conce. Opposite there is a small well-kept park, and a contemporary mural. Antonello tells me about the project of making Musei an open-air museum with the realization of many murals.
We arrive at Villa Asquer, where there is the beautiful Council Chamber and the media library. Then we walk through the old complex Etfas (Land and Land Processing Agency in Sardinia), full of old buildings renovated and used for various events.
In the afternoon the councilor for culture Fabrizio takes me around the countryside. We visit the beautiful pine forest. Then I ask him to make a detour to the much-discussed bomb factory in the Domusnovas area to look for a graffiti by Banksy, then revealed to be non-existent, reported by a journalist only to focus on a problem sometimes put into oblivion.
We visit the banks of the Cixerri river, where the old Musei settlement should have been. Here today there are the remains of an old mill, where possibly there were many more along the river.
In the evening the temperature drops, and tomorrow morning we expect a freeze. At night I wrap myself up nicely in blankets!
SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES
Other times on this trip I had already the opportunity to spend a whole day with a Mayor and to realize what they have to do, planned and unexpected commitments. Today, I am welcomed by the Mayor Antonello, who as well as telling me about the history and activities of museums, makes me participate in his day as Mayor. At the Town Hall, many people, citizens, the president of the Pro Loco, are looking for him, and he dedicates some time to everyone. Then he takes me to his house for lunch after having made me visit the interesting places of the village, and tells me how he has slowly created his farm from scratch. In the afternoon, while I continue my visits with the Councilor, Antonello is in the fields with the tractor to prepare the ground.
Upon my return he has time to take me to see the bright Christmas trees that decorate the town, all his work. And passing through a dark street, he notices the non-functioning of the street lamps. He immediately worries about it, calling the technicians and after a while the problem is solved. We pass by the water deposit, next to which there are two water purifiers, which he obtained after a long battle against the water supply company, camped out in a tent outside the offices. And then he talks to me about his desire to rebuild the ancient bridge on the river Cixerri, on which once passed the train that carried the material from the mines of Orbai, and make it part of the Santa Barbara Mining Trail.
The next day, he will join me in Villamassargia to bring back some of the books he gave me, but which I had forgotten on the table in a hurry to leave. Antonello is in his third mandate … and now I’m starting to understand why.