Rocks of Anglona

Christmas 2017 is almost upon us, so we have chosen to show you some places that are well suited to traditions… We will see famous places carved into the rock, that reminds us of the caves present in many nativity scenes!
Continue reading and find out where we are!


On the road to Sedini

Our destination is Sedini, a small town in the Anglona hinterland, in northern Sardinia; you can go there from Tergu, Castelsardo or Perfugas in a short time.
We prefer to go from the north, from Castelsardo; so we take the opportunity to make a stop near the village of Multeddu. We pass it going south, along the road 134, for a few hundred meters, until finding an amazing isolated rock: the Elephant Rock. The road runs alongside it and we found parking near this natural monument.
The Elephant Rock is a large block of trachyte that weathering has shaped over time, giving it the appearance of an elephant.
We approach the rock, admiring its elegant lines and the harmony of the surrounding landscape. Only when we reach a few steps, we can discover the secret in the stone of the “Elephant”… There is a cave inside, with features too regular to have been dug only by natural elements.
The cavity was anciently worked by men, who have made several cells of various sizes, turning it into a Domus de Janas!

Elephant Rock

Elephant Rock

The Domus de Janas or Case delle Fate are cavities carved into the rock; they were created in the pre-Nuraghic era (over 4000 years ago) and used as tombs. These small sepulchral caves are widespread throughout the island; in some places there are also large necropolises, with many Domus. The name Case delle Fate comes from the popular belief that the minuscule rooms in the rock were inhabited by fairies; truly, inside these small sepulchres, the dead were deposited, curled up in a fetal position.
So we leave the Rock with our car.
Unfortunately, the road to the south (once the main to Sedini) is closed, due to the risk of landslides. This route is still visible along the slopes and certainly would allow we to admire wide views towards the sea and the plain of Valledoria.

The house in the rock

We then move along the provincial Castelsardo-Santa Teresa for a short distance, until meeting the new road that goes up towards Sedini. The route is quite steep, but in excellent condition, and in a short time we reach our destination surrounded by greenery.

Sedini

We cross the narrow streets of the center, up to the southern area of the town overlooking a valley. Here we find one of the most characteristic buildings of the whole Sardinia! A house built inside a huge boulder!
Currently the ethnographic museum is located inside, which can be visited both in summer and in winter. Yet this building, unique in its kind, has a very long history…
It is in fact a natural cavity, a sort of small cave in the stone wall that was anciently worked by man to obtain some Domus de Janas (just like in the Elephant Rock); this is the largest Domus in Sardinia and the only one inside a town.
Over the centuries the rooms were enlarged, passages were dug and the cave was closed by walls; in the Middle Ages it was transformed into a complete building. There are internal parts of that period, such as the spiral staircase. The building was then used as a prison and later as a private residence, becoming a small museum in recent times.
Today it preserves numerous relics and objects that testify to customs and traditions of the past, in particular the rural tradition. You can admire many tools that once were part of everyday life… There are pots, sieves, weaving looms, but also furniture and furnishings.

From this particular place, we want to leave you with the best wishes for Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We have taken the photos below a couple of years ago, not in winter… With a some lights less, but with a few more flowers. This is proof that the house can be an interesting destination in all periods of the year.

House in the Rock at Sedini

Sedini, interni casa nella roccia

Sedini, room in the rocks

Sedini Panorama

Bosa, riverside town

Today we will talk about Bosa, colorful town on the west coast of the island, in the province of Oristano. Bosa is situated on the mouth of the Temo, the only navigable river of the island, surrounded by a unique amphitheater of hills.


Visiting Bosa

We visited Bosa in late summer; certainly, the proximity to the sea and the presence of interesting monuments make it a valuable destination in all seasons.
We start walking in the maritime and most modern area, usually visited by tourists; however, we look with curiosity at the other side of the river, where the old town stands, under the Malaspina Castle.
Bosa has a rich and ancient history: in fact, the area was inhabited in prehistoric times. There are still present many examples of Nuragic age, as tombs of the giants and nuraghi.
The town was already a center known by both Phoenicians and Carthaginians; afterward, it increased its importance during the Middle Ages, as evidenced by the remains of coastal towers, ancient churches and castle.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with the Aragonese domination, Bosa assumed the title of royal town.

Bosa, along Temo river

Our walk takes us to cross the colorful streets of the town. So we coast a charming stretch of the river, which has no equal in Sardinia!
Around the water, we see a picturesque set of colorful houses: on the one hand the characteristic buildings of the old town, on the other hand the simpler structures of the abandoned tanneries of the nineteenth century, which are a kind of open-air museum.
The leather processing was one of the most successful activities in the area since ancient times.

Bosa, river and tanneries

Malaspina Castle

Our journey continues in the narrow streets of the center in the direction of the hill on which stands the Serravalle Castle, built by the Marquis of Malaspina; even in modern times, most of its outer wall is intact.

Bosa, narrow streets

Bosa, narrow streets

Bosa, Malaspina castle

We reach the fortress, which offers a stunning view of the valley where Bosa stands.
In the courtyard, within the walls, there is the small church of Our Lady of Sos Regnos Altos, where you can still see some frescoes of the XIII; originally it was the chapel of the castle.

Bosa, Malaspina castle

The inner areas are large and, thanks to the restoration work, it is possible to reach various portions of the walkways along the walls.
For those not afraid of heights, it is worth the climb to the summit tower, which offers an exciting panorama ranging from the sea to the surrounding hills.

Bosa, Malaspina castle

Bosa, Malaspina castle

Bosa, Malaspina castle

Sa Sartiglia at Oristano

This year we decide to assist, on Sunday, at the Sartiglia, characteristic and striking manifestation of the Carnival in Sardinia.
It takes place in the town of Oristano in two days; during the Sunday before Carnival is dedicated to the guild (or corporation) of the farmers, while the Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday) the event is open to the guild of carpenters.


The event of Sa Sartiglia

Whether on Sunday that on Tuesday, the knights of the corporations compete in a spectacular horse race called Sartiglia, the heart of the event, which over the years has given the name to the entire day of celebration in which it takes place. It is a real challenge and not just a historical representation: we see a carousel of medieval origin that has been passed down over the centuries! In the contest, riders must hit a star-shaped ring with their swords, running on a galloping horse.

Sa Sartiglia with Eleonora D'Arborea

Although the origins of this race are lost in the medieval tradition, the event still preserve the sacredness, the symbols and the show that highlights the skills of riders and horses.
The party is simultaneously a spectacular display of athletic ability and courage and also a particular mix of folklore and popular devotion, that delights locals and tourists. The actual tournament takes place in just over an hour, while the complex and long ceremony occupies an entire day, starting with the blessing, continuing with the dressing of the Knights, the performances and the race, the award ceremony and the take off of the protagonists.
Gowns and masks differ from those in all the other island shows. The traditional costumes of the typical Carnival of Central Sardinia, ancestral and animalistic, reflecting a peasant’s world, in the Sartiglia give way to sleek and stylish Renaissance-style clothing, rich in gold embroidery and brocade, closer to those of the Venetian eighteenth century than to the other Sardinian masks.

The roles of Eleanor of Arborea and Su Cumponidori

Before the race, Eleanor of Arborea (interpreted every year by a different girl from Oristano), on horseback, blesses the knights, which ranks as patroness of the whole event. She will march, then, along the path in the heart of town that will host the race. All his knights and ladies of the court follow Eleanor, marching at the rhythm of the drummers.

Duomo of Oristano during Sartiglia.

Show of Sartiglia

Sa Sartiglia Eleonora D'Arborea

Ancient clothes at Sartiglia

Costumes at Sartiglia of Oristano

Show at Sartiglia

Another key figure in the event is the chief of the knights, known as “Su Componidori“. His preparation with a dressing seems a religious ceremony. He always wear a neutral mask and colorful clothing.
Before the race, Su Componidori launches his blessing into over the crowd, with a scepter composed of intertwined flowers; the traditional name of this instrument is “Sa pippia de maju”.
Su Componidori himself will be the first to try the Sartiglia. He will start on the galloping horse, trying to pierce with a sword the small metal star hanging in the middle of the track.
Afterwards, it will be the turn of the other riders; also other partecipants have their face hidden by a neutral masks, and wear colorful ribbons and gold embroidery.

Su Componidori alla Sartiglia di Oristano

Sa

Sa Sartiglia

We are lucky to attend the event in a beautiful sunny Sunday; mild temperatures attract numerous curious tourists, allowing the riders to compete in top condition. Furthermore good weather helps the preparation of masks and costumes.
Probably, in this edition we got to watch the longest parades and complete of recent years!

The pariglie

In addition to the race, in the afternoon we are witnessing at the spectacular pariglie. They are acrobatic gallop races where many riders perform, always wearing the traditional costumes and the usual white masks.
Finally, in the last parade all the participants accompany su Componidori at the headquarters of the Guild for his undressing. Without mask, this knight will receive greetings and congratulations of the public.

Sa Sartiglia, the pariglie

Our day in Oristano ends late, through streets full of tourists, masked children and locals in traditional costumes; also many riders still together with their horses, finally relaxed after the tension of the races.

Sinis, a journey through time

Today we start a new trip, in the west of Sardinia, to explore the Sinis Peninsula. It will not be a classic trip, but a journey in time through the millennia; so we will discover that the Sinis is Art, History, Nature and Fun!

Table of time


Art in the Sinis Peninsula

Our journey starts from about 3000 years ago, when, near Mont’e Prama some huge stone statues were created… Today we refers to them as “Giants of Mont’e Prama”. These sculptures depict warriors, boxers, archers, all characterized by large round eyes and sharp lines; probably, as a funeral works, they were dedicated to warrior aristocracy.
Although their age has not been established exactly, these monuments are considered among the first all-round human representations in the Mediterranean area. Nobody knows their exact number but recent excavations have found new pieces.
The Civic Museum of the nearby Cabras hosts a section dedicated to this discovery.

The History

In the following centuries, the Sinis Peninsula has been the theater of important events; in the eighth century BC the Phoenicians founded the Tharros colony, later conquered by the Carthaginians and Romans. Port of strategic and commercial importance in ancient times, the ruins of the city still show signs of the glorious past; so, we can admire remains of Roman villas, ancient streets and thermal baths.
Tharros
Tharros is a piece of the ancient world. From here we have beautiful views on the Gulf of Oristano and on the nearby St John’s Tower; this is a Spanish fortification of the late sixteenth century, on top of the peninsula headland.
Tharros
Still in the nearby museum of Cabras you can view remains of various eras found in Tharros, treasures of art and objects of daily life.

The Nature

Our wandering through the centuries brings us to San Salvatore di Sinis, a small town of medieval origins.
San Salvatore
Today it consists largely of rural housing of the seventeenth century. Here it is easy to imagine scenes of country life and the very evocative atmosphere has meant that the village was used in the sixties and seventies, to film many western movies.
San Salvatore
San Salvatore is located not far from the pond of Cabras, one of the most interesting areas of wetlands in Sardinia, either for extension or for biodiversity. In fact, in this place we can find many wild species, including the famous pink flamingo.
San Salvatore

And finally… fun!

Our time travel ends today, bringing us to taste fun and relaxation on the beaches: from the white coasts of quartz grains of Is Arutas, to the choreographic bays near San Giovanni of Sinis… The Sinis Peninsula always knows how to give us emotions!
San Giovanni

The traditional Sardinian Cavalcade

The Sardinian Cavalcade is an event that takes place every year in Sassari in late May.


History of the Sardinian Cavalcade

The first edition dates back to 1899, when, in honor of the visit of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Italy, in Sassari there was a parade representing the main villages of Sardinia, whose inhabitants showed the typical traditional costumes.
Given the success, who made rush of visitors from neighboring villages, the appointment was proposed again in later years; then, after various interruptions (including the two world wars), it has been repeated annually, starting from the 50.

Over time it has not lost the charm and flavor of tradition, indeed, compared to the first edition, the Cavalcade has been enriched by many events, starting already since a few days before, becoming almost a continuous party for residents and tourists.


The cavalcade today

The parade is organized along a predetermined path in the streets of the center of Sassari; in which various folk groups perform on foot, on horseback or on board of traccas, the traditional carts drawn by oxen.

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Participants are men and women, singles or couples, families with children, seniors, showing rich colors costumes, brocades, jewelry … Both Sunday clothes that simple clothes are showed, worn by the rich of the country or by the poor people…
Costumes and symbols, pride of the various countries of Sardinia, represent local tradition. There are also many elements of the Sardinian cuisine exposed, such as sweets, wine or fruit; in particular, the famous products, such as oranges of Milis, or Bonnannaro cherries, are offered to the public during the parade.
Participants perform in folk dances (the typical ballu tundu in different local variations); the typical musics are Sardinian tenores songs, or taxiing the drums (drummers of Oristano) and so on.

Characteristic are also the costumes of the Sardinian hinterland Carnival (eg. Boes and merdules, Mamuthones, etc.), worn by the actors parading proudly with wooden masks or leather heavy fleeces of sheep, that gradually exhibit miming scenes of pastoral life or hunting.

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Obviously, many of the participants parade on horseback, hence the name of the Cavalcade.

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The pariglie, equestrian acrobatic shows

The famous pariglie are equestrian acrobatic shows, a symbol of courage and skill (circus-like!) of young Sardinian. The knights, who perform in extreme races galloping standing on the rump of the horses, making human pyramids.
Initially carried out in the city streets, races have recently been moved for security reasons; so, today we can see the knights inside Sassari hippodrome, typically in the early afternoon.
The already eventful day ends with the festival of folk songs and dances of Sardinia, which brings together all groups and the public to celebrate in the Piazza of Italy.

Here there are some pictures that we took during the parade of 2015… It was beautiful sunny day. If we have intrigued you… Don’t miss the 77th edition of the Ride to be held Sunday, May 22, 2016 in Sassari of course!

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Sassari La Cavalcata

Sassari La Cavalcata

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Art in Orgosolo

Italy is famous for art and, of course, also in Sardinia you can find different artistic expressions. Here we found nuragic sculptures, architectures of Roman, medieval and modern ages.
Also musical paintings and traditions, such as the singing of tenores, are very important.
In this post we will talk about painting, in a very particular form.


The town of Orgosolo

Today we are going in the heart of Sardinia, in the Barbagia of Ollolai, between the mountains and forests of the region of Nuoro.


0630bc_SupramonteDiOrgosolo

Here we found Orgosolo, a small town whose economy is based mainly on sheep farming.
People transformed this village, during last decades, into an art gallery in the open air. The causes of this changing are the many murals created on the walls of the houses.

About murals

In 1969 a group of anarchists from Milan painted the firts. Afterward other artists started to create other murals…
So, today there are over 200 works at Orgosolo!

The murals have several styles: impressionism, realism, pop-art, and so on.
The subjects are mainly about social, political or historical aspects. Mainly the creation techniques are based on the use of water paints degradable over time; repainting operations are often necessary to keep the work alive.

In the following pictures, you can see some samples of the murals…
Of course, you can find many others along the streets of Orgosolo!

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This is Tergu!

Starting our Journey in Anglona

We may start our voyage from the marvelous sea of Stintino, or the sweet dunes of Arbus or from the luxurious villas of Costa Smeralda. But our curiosity lead us in a more secluded place, not so famous as others, very peaceful and suggestive.


Our eyes moves to south from Lu Bagnu, the little locality near Castelsardo, and we see the green hills waiting for us… Green is color of the island in the first month of the year. The winds, a bit cold, moves some clouds in the sky.
So our car runs on the road that climbs on the hills for 5 km, reaching the little village of Tergu.
Tergu is a very quiet place in every season, with about 600 inhabitants and without big touristic structure; here you can breathe the air of agricultural tradition.

The village of Tergu

According to tradition, its name comes from the ancient city of Jericho, probably for reasons of religious affinity.
We follow the main street reaching the central crossing where a little map shows the main attractions of this places:
  • The church of Nostra Signora di Tergu.
  • The valley of Inferno.
  • The plateau of Jana Cugnada.

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Leaving the valley and the plateau for further exploration, during warmer months, we drive along the straight road and we reach the empty parking in front of the ancient church.

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We feel an extraordinary sense of peace, looking at the small church in the plains surrounded by sweet hills.

The ancient church

All around there is an ancient wall of stone, that encloses a rectangle of about 3000 square meters. On the right parts of the square we can see low remains of walls; certainly these are the last stones of an historical structure, the cloister of the medieval monastery. Other ruins scattered, like cisterns or tombstones, give us a chance to imagine the ancient complex of many centuries ago.
Nostra Signora di Tergu was probably built during the XI century; after a millennium, it still remains one of the most impressive Romanesque churches of Sardinia. Despite the ruins all around, the building in red stone is perfectly conserved; the facade is a jewel of geometric perfection, not only for the design of arcs and columns but also for the details: the upper section contains by two columns with a zigzag shape, the beautiful rose window and other suggestive decorations. On the top of the facade we see the remains of some columns that show the presence of a further level on above the building, crumbled down in the past.

Facade of Nostra Signora di Tergu
When we open the door, we see the inner parts: an essential and harmonious nave; in front of us there is the beautiful wooden altar. Continuing our exploration, we discover a tapestry of the XX century and a surprising reconstruction of the Ark of the Covenant, in the right transept.
An aura of mystery pervades the place… additional elements of the past could be brought to light by new archaeological excavations!