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55/377: Guspini

INSPIRATION

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The morning starts very cold, but sunny. I leave from the Surbiu farm quite early, surrounded by flocks of sheep and lambs that bleat. I go along a nice straight road, pass the wind turbines, with a nice sparkling breeze on me, but as soon as I get back to the provincial road the temperature has increased and makes me sweat, as the traffic does!

I arrivi in Guspini, where my dear geologist friend Gianluca greets me. And geology will be the main theme of the day! He takes out the old yellow Fiat 500 from the garage, we travel to the village of Montevecchio. The road climbs, and runs along the old mining site, where mountains of earthy deposits remain in sight, the tailings of mining, machinery and old buildings now abandoned. Continuing, we arrive in Montevecchio, a very small but still inhabited center. On the main square stands the beautiful building of the direction of the mines. All around very beautiful historical buildings, but also the old public housing where the workers lived. Some inhabited, some abandoned. We walk under the pines that shade the village, between rusty old mining carriages.

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The tour continues along a road that goes towards the Costa Verde sea. We arrive behind the Monte Arcuentu, protagonist of the panorama of these days, which is even more impressive from a close distance. Not far are the other basaltic peaks, with pointed shapes that look like sculptures made by human hands.

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We return to Guspini, following a panoramic road from which we can see a good part of the Campidano plain. In the afternoon, we go to see a famous outcrop of columnar basalts, which are inside a private courtyard, which we find open, and we are scolded by the owner to have entered without asking for permission. We are the umpteenth visitors, and eventually we are authorized to enter the site.

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We continue the tour in the village. Guspini is perhaps the first country I visit whose buildings are really a mix of periods and styles. Many old houses in ladiri bricks, some restored, some abandoned, Campidanese houses with beautiful portals, houses from the ’60s onwards, palaces, and the high tower block of the Montevecchio Company that dominates. Together with the ladiri you can also see a lot of granite used for buildings, coming from the mountains behind Guspini. We pass by the beautiful church of San Nicola di Mira, from the sober façade and the front stairway, then next to the old Monte Granatico palace and to what remains of some historical fountains of the village, to conclude at the beautiful church of Santa Maria.

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SOUND FRAGMENTS

Inspired by the rhythm of the picks of the miners of the past.

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SHORT SARDINIAN STORIES

Even Guspini, like many other villages, is in a phase of continuous depopulation. A sad Sardinian tale that is told to me and that I often find on this trip. In spite of this many people not only remain but decide to put on commercial activities that seem to survive the crisis. I have found this in many villages, and here too in Guspini. One of these activities is the Paola’s haberdashery shop, right next to the church of Santa Maria. Classified as a Historical Store, the Merceria is a little gem for the eyes first of all. Antique wooden furniture, filled with color, bobbins, fabrics, accessories, and a series of original products created by Paola herself. Then one needs to adapt to the times, and so here is the Facebook page online, to promote the activity. But the real strength of this place, as of so many others I have seen around and that resist, is the determination, professionalism and kindness of the owners. Paola is smiling and polite, bestows long advice to customers, and is kind even when at some point must accept money to a customer who pays with many coins, spending several mintues to count them. Small acts of courtesy that do not cost anything. Acts now less and less widespread, especially in large centers. Will this also be one of the secrets for the survival of a business?