SARDINIA OUR HOMELAND
It is always difficult to write about one’s own land, especially when one is bound by a mad and visceral love.
The island in the shape of a sandal in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea (called for this by the ancient Greeks “Ichnusa” – sandal) is the Motherland of those who have had the fortune to be born and those who dream of it with melancholy since he had to abandon it for seek fortune elsewhere.
But he always has Sardinia in his heart and in his thoughts.
SHARDANA AND GIANTS
There was a time when the ancient Sardinians, the Shardana, dominated the Mediterranean Sea far and wide. And not only.
The proud and courageous people of warriors and experienced navigators were known, respected and feared by all: Egyptians, Greeks, Hittites, Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Achaeans, Mesopotamians and Philistines were often annihilated and upset by their incursions.
Probably they were the same builders of the over 7,000 nuraghi, symbol of Sardinia.
Some theses see them able to arrive with their agile and fast ships up to Irleandand England, making themselves protagonists also of the construction of Stonehenge.
Unspoiled nature represents, and must represent, the symbol of the island in the middle of the Mediterranean.
Preserving nature is everyone’s right and duty, starting with fighting sand’s theft.
Every year the worst tourists secretly fill plastic bottles and try to take it home and then throw it away when they realize that sand is not enough to recreate beaches and sea that unfortunately hosted them in Sardinia.
Sardinia is universally recognized for its clean and transparent sea.
However, the beaches and waters are very different depending on the area.
The Poetto is the beach of the Cagliari city. From the spectacular promontory of the Sella del Diavolo, begins the long beach of almost 8 km that reaches up to Margine Rosso, territory of the municipality of Quartu Sant’Elena.
Attended throughout the year thanks to the kiosks on the beach and the pedestrian area is one of the symbols of Cagliari.
Although the memory of the fine white sand dunes is now distant and nostalgic, the Poetto continues to make the Cagliaritani grow daily.
SOUTH-EAST COAST: FROM CAGLIARI TO VILLASIMIUS AND COSTA REI
Avoiding the fast 125var road and following the SP17 coastal overview, you will be dazzled by spectacular landscapes where the blue of the sea will be accompanied by the green of the vegetation.
There are many beaches, perfect for every need.
OvercomingFoxi, Capitana, Terra Mala e Cala Regina you will feel the need to stop and photograph the color of the water of Mari Pintàu. If you don’t look for sand but you like stones, walk down the path and enjoy this painted sea. The name does not allow denials.
If you have no problems with the deep waters just a few steps from the shore, stop at the beautiful and long beaches of Geremèas or Solànasinterspersed with the low waters ofTorre delle Stelle.
If you resist all these temptations, you arrive at the famous Villasimìus.
There are many wonderful beaches in one of the most popular destinations in the world: Porto Sa Rùxi, Campus, Campulongu, Spiaggia del Riso, Capo Carbonara, Porto Giunco, Simius, Punta Molentis.
Being a protected marine area, the sea is rich in flora and fauna.
Divers will be able to live fantastic experiences starting from the Tourist Port of Villasimius. Among the Secca di Santa Caterina, theIsola dei Cavoli and the Isola di Serpentara you can also see cicadas, tuna, groupers, barracudas, turtles, dolphins and more rarely whales.
Cala Pira, Cala Sinzias e Costa Rei are the beaches with which to conclude the great tour of the south-eastern coast.
OGLIASTRA: FROM ARBATAX TO OROSEI
SOUTH-WEST COAST: FROM CAGLIARI TO PORTO PINO
WEST COAST: FROM THE GREEN COAST OF THE SULCIS TO BOSA
Those who stop only at the beaches lose much of Sardinia.
Between Ogliastra and Barbagia, between the Supramonte and the sea, the gorge of Su Gorròppuis considered by international experts the most beautiful canyon in Europe. About 1.5 km long, it sinks for about 500 meters and at the bottom narrows to a minimum width of 4 meters.
The numerous nuraghe present in the area of Su Gorroppu show that the gorge was certainly a strategic defensive bulwark, where the inexperienced enemy armies were attacked and overwhelmed by the ancient Sardinians.
The “Selvaggio Blu (Blue Savage)is considered one of the most difficult treks in Europe: 50 kilometers that are covered in 6 or 7 days starting from Santa Maria Navarrese and arriving in Cala Gonone.
If it is true that some sections are really difficult, it is to say that the landscapes are incredibly spectacular and unimaginable.
The “Cammino Minerario di Santa Barbara (St. Barbara Mining Trail)” is a journey of about 400 km that crosses the south-western area of the Sulcis Iglesiente.
The indicative route starts and arrives in the medieval city of Iglesias, but obviously you can only choose some stretches or points of interest.
It ranges from the beaches of Piscinas, Cala Domestina, Masua and Buggerru to the forest of Monte Linas, from the magnificent mining engineering work of Porto Flavia to the mines that have characterized the life of this area, from the Caves of Is Zuddas and Santa Barbara to the Falls of Sa Spendula in Villacidro.
And obviously there will also be many churches along the way.
The Grotte di Is Zùddas (Caves of Is Zuddas)are located in the Municipality of Santadi.
500 meters can be visited, about a third of the actual size.
It is characteristic for the presence inside it of the remains of the prolagus sardus, a rodent lived only in Sardinia and Corsica and extinct about 400 years ago.
But its world uniqueness is given by the concentration of eccentric aragonites, very thin filaments that develop without taking into account the force of gravity.
The extension work on the San Giovanni Mine, in 1952, allowed the discovery of the Grotta di Santa Barbara (Cave of St. Barbara)near Iglesias. The link with the mining activities is still visible, given that the access to the cave takes place first with a train and then with an elevator, after wearing a helmet.
In addition to a little speleologist, you will therefore have the opportunity to feel a little miner.
In the Grotta di Ispinigòli (Ispinigòli Cave), in Dorgali, there is one of the largest stalactites in the world, about 38 meters high.
To access to the Grotta di Nettuno (Cave of Neptun)in Alghero, it is necessary to descend 654 steps. In the tunnels inside, as well as stalactites and stalagmites, it will be possible to see the underground lake of La Marmora salt water.
The position of Sardinia was also strategic for the flamingos, which for centuries have been exploiting Sardinian ponds as an intermediate step in their migrations between Africa and France.
In 1993 the flamingos nested for the first time in the Pond of Molentargius in Cagliari. It was an exceptional event and everyone looked up when hundreds of flamingos flew over the Poetto and colored the sky with pink.
Sa genti arrùbia – the red people – had chosen Cagliari and Cagliari, proud of this, adopted them.
Since then, the only case in the world in a densely inhabited city area, about 10,000 flamingos are permanent throughout the year, while in spring they reach over 40,000. The little people of Cagliari will color the pond gray for a few months.
Although present in various parts of Europe thanks to artificial introductions, the mouflon has its natural habitats as Sardinia and Corsica. Here the progenitor of all current sheep breeds can live peacefully, in the absence of its dangerous wolf and bear enemies
SMALL HORSES OF THE JAR
The steep walls of the Plateau of the Giara of Gèsturi have completely isolated the herds of horses, which today live in the wild in this area in about 600 units.
These are the only wild horses in Europe.
Many link the Asinara exclusively to the prison that has “hosted” Bandits, Red Brigades and mafia, but we must know that the island is a large Natural Park, a paradise of endemic Sardinian and endangered species.
Among these there is certainly the characteristic white donkey, present in the wild in the island in about 100 specimens.
Less than a meter tall, with a large head, small neck and short, strong limbs, it has the main characteristic in its color. The puppies in fact have very white hair, while the adults, living in the wild, have the most dirty hair because of dust and general dirt.
Albinism also determines rosy and cerulean eyes, and an uncertain gait in the presence of light
A suggestive thesis, tells of a vessel from Egypt and shipwrecked on its way to France. The white donkeys that are part of the load, could have managed to save themselves by reaching the Asinara.
SAINTS AND TRADITIONS
For a Cagliaritano, Sant’Efisio is a close relative.
Born in Antioch in 250, he became a Roman soldier and was sent to Sardinia by the emperor Diocletian to fight the Christians.
Here, however, God appeared to him as a cross in the clouds and Efisio converted to Christianity.
Imprisoned and tortured in the crypt under the current church of Stampace, he was killed on 15 January 303 on the beach of Nora, first asking God to protect his Cagliari.
Unfortunately, Labor Day is May 1st. Unfortunately, because in Cagliari on 1 May means exclusively Sant’Efisio.
Historically, when the Workers’ Day was born in Paris in 1889 to commemorate workers and anarchists killed 3 years earlier in Chicago, the Cagliaritans had been accompanying Efisio’s pilgrimage for 233 years.
It all started in 1656 when, in a Cagliari decimated by the plague, which caused over 200 deaths a day, the Cagliaritans thought of Efisio and his request.
Defying the fear of contagion caused by crowds, the survivors carry the statue of the saint in procession.
The plague miraculously ceased and since then, on May 1, the statue of Efisio is carried in procession from the little church in the Stampace neighborhood to the place of his martyrdom, and then he returns home on May 4th.
After the plague, the Cagliaritans asked for a new great intercession bringing the statue of Efisio to the Cathedral on Easter Monday in 1793, when the French ships arrived in the Gulf of Cagliari ready to conquer the island. A terrible storm made them sink, saving Cagliari again.
The most significant and dramatic procession was certainly that of 1943.
Efisio, on board a milk truck, was brought to the streets of destroyed Cagliari, almost completely razed to the ground by the American bombings of 17, 26, 27 and 28 February.
On the evening of 6 July and on the morning of 7 July a wild horse race in honor of St. Constantine takes place in Sedilo.
Thus we remember the battle of Ponte Milvio in 312, in which the Christian Constantine defeated Massenzio, and consequently paganism.
Every year, the parish priest of Sedilo appoints the chief of the race, strictly following the chronological order of registration in the appropriate register (registration takes place at a young age due to devotion to the saint and passion for horses, but years will pass before they can be appointed head of race).
The race leader will choose two trusted people who will accompany him, and then the 3 will choose another 3 riders who will have to escort them in the mad race.
The 6 in fact represent Constantine and his men, and will have to fight for not being overcome in the race by the other knights, about 100, who symbolize the pagans.
In defense, they can also use banner sticks.
Other important characters are the fusiliers. It is up to them and their gunshots in fact to accompany the fiery and eventually to accompany the knights in the village, as winners of the battle.
On the last Sunday and Tuesday of Carnival, City of Oristano stops for Sa Sartiglia.
This has happened since the mid-13th century. Moors and Aragonese often challenged each other in equestrian games and the links between the Giudicato of Arborea and the Aragonese Kingdom allowed the importation of these chivalrous practices.
Born in Armungia in 1890, he participated in the First World War as an officer of the Sardinian Brigade in the mountains of Asiago.
In his masterpiece “A year on the plateau” he described the irrationality of the war lived in the trenches.
On 17 July 1921 he founded the Sardinian Action Party, giving voice to peasants and shepherds against wealthy landowners and political parties that supported them.
The political actions focused on the well-being of Sardinia led him to be elected to the Italian parliament.
After the clashes against the fascists during the “march on Rome”, the fascist attack suffered in his home in Cagliari and the suppression of the parties that opposed the fascists, Emilio Lussu was sentenced to 5 years confinement on Lipari. He managed to escape and took refuge first in Tunis and then in Paris.
Back in Italy in 1943 he fought with the Action Party against the Nazi-Fascists.
He was then elected several times in parliament until he retired from political life in 1968, for health reasons. He died in Rome in 1975.
He never hid his Sardinian roots, and he always despised those who denied them.
Almost all the discoveries about the Shardana and the nuragic villages were given to the father of Sardinian archeology.
Born in Barumini, in his hometown he brought to light the majestic nuragic village of Su Nuraxi. Since 1997 the site has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site
Already a world-famous artist, since 1967 he has chosen to return to his land by convincing numerous island and foreign artists to embellish his native country with murals.
There are over 250 works that today make San Sperate a museum-country, open for free to anyone who passes by its streets.
Since 1996 he has devoted his research to the stones and musicality they can generate.
It seems impossible, but he succeeded in what not even Michelangelo had been able to: give a voice to a millennial material, almost to make it become a living being.
Caressing the stones, he gave voice to the mother earth.
His “talking stones” are available to everyone in the Sound Garden of San Sperate and in some places in Cagliari.
Born in Molins de Rei, in Cataloniaperhaps in 1347, for the Sardinians it represents the heroine who tried in every way to realize the dream of an independent Sardinian republic.
Self-proclaimed Giudicessa del Giudicato di Arboreathanks to the ancient Sardinian law, she continued the policy of her father Mariano IV.
She fought both militarily and politically against the Aragonese Kingdom, to be able to unite the whole of Sardinia under a single flag, an independent state.
Her dream, now almost realized, was defeated only by destiny: the plague hit Sardinia heavily, decimating the population and killing the same Eleonora around 1404.
Her strength and her dream, however, continue to live.
She is also responsible for updating the Carta de Logua huge legal system valid throughout Sardinia and including 198 articles on civil and criminal law.
So advanced for that time, it is recognized at the forefront even in comparison to many current constitutions.
The Carta de Logu remained in force in Sardinia until 1827 but many of its laws are still considered valid in the “unwritten” regulation that influences the way of living and thinking of the Sardinians.
GIOVANNI MARIA ANGIOJ
A revolutionary hero of Sardinian independence, he led the riots against feudal privileges (1794 – 1796).
From January to May 1793 the army of the newborn French Republictried several times to conquer Sardinia trying to land both in Cagliari and in La Maddalena, in the latter case under the command of the young Napoleone Bonaparte.
The Sardinians, however, organized and defeated everywhere what was considered a great military power.
For this reason, requests were made to King Vittorio Amedeo III of Savoy that they would bring greater justice and equality between Piedmont and Sardinia, too different faces of the same coin called Kingdom of Sardini.
The king instead showed unknowing and disrespect, humiliating the Sardinians and their representatives.
On 28 April 1794it then passed into history asSa die de sa Sardigna (the Day of Sardinia), that rebelled against the Savoys by driving away the vicere and all Piedmontese officials from Cagliari and the island.
With the rebellion that inflamed Cagliari and now all of Sardinia, the viceroy decided to appoint the magistrate Giovanni Maria Angioj to quell the situation, especially after the stronghold of the feudal lords, sassari, had been assaulted and easily conquered.
However, starting from Cagliari to cross the island, the politician came into contact with the population.
Everywhere he was received with sympathy and gratitude and realized how much oppression, misery and backwardness the Savoys forced the Sardinians.
He openly sided with the people, against the Savoys and their accomplices.
He fought strenuously in Sardinia but, one step from triumphliberation was interrupted by the peace between Savoy and the French.
The sassaresi, rich feudal servants of the Savoys, undertook a defamatory campaign against him that led to his dismissal as Alternos, to a bounty on his head and to the promise of amnesty for those who had abandoned him, siding with the Savoy troops who arrived in forces to defeat him.
Taking refuge in exile in France, he tried to convince Napoleon to free the island and proclaim the independent Republic of Sardinia, under French protection.
Unfortunately he failed and died in Paris on 22 February 1808.
The anthem of Sardinia remains of those years. One of the oldest folk songs of Europe“su patriotu sardu a sos feudatàrios” (“the Sardinian patriot speaks to the feudal lords” is better known as “Procurade ‘e moderare“.
The 47 stanzas and 376 verses highlight the strong identity of the Sardinian people who fight the exploiters, promises revolts and curses the foreigners who oppose the independent Sardinian State.
His name could be unknow to many people, but if the Pond of Molentargius and other wetlands of Sardinia have become a naturalistic symbol and protected area of international importance, the merit is only of this man.
Arriving in Cagliari from East Germany in 1964, the zoology student used the DDR scholarship to protect and repopulate the ecosystem he had recognized as unique in the whole Mediterranean.
It has done so much for Sardinia, that it must be considered Sardinian.