It is the end of May and, in the terraced garden, cabbages grow huge and indigo like in fairy-tales. Bastiana wears the traditional long black skirt. ‘My mother used to wear it all the time – the Sunday best and the everyday one – always the same long black skirt, in summer as in winter’. Franca holds the small wicker basket that smells like wood and bread croissants filled with pistachio mortadella. ‘I had some spare dough, so I made bread croissants. I know you had lunch already, but taste one anyway’. Fresh wild-fennel ravioli with milk cream are Giovanna’s secret recipe, and we are already proud of it, even though we have been here only a few hours. To Giovanna (Palimodde, daughter of Pasqua and Peddeddu, the illuminated family who invented and hands down the Su Gologone project), her father was a king (Su Re), but Su Gologone remains a matriarchal reign, as in the truest Barbagia tradition – a village of jolly motherly female presence in a state of grace. Holy water stoups, glazed china, wefts and trimmings, rooms and halls – an ancient charm, like the Sirens to Ulysses. Behind it all, Barbagia, the crude natural stone, the magic Lanaittu valley, a natural spring and then a gate. In the private Mediterranean forest hide fresh white Mediterranean-island dwellings. A succulents garden, a high terrace, a pea-green hammock, all the colours of the rainbow, a skein shop, a roofless summer tavern. I have a feeling I will not be able to really convey what it is like to spend some days in Su Gologone. You will have to become familiar with the persons who live there and with its spaces in order to feel the love it releases. Folklore, culture, free spirit, Italy, for a place that was born, I guess, under the Leo sign.
Words and pictures Meraviglia Paper.