For those wishing to discover the most authentic part of Sardinia, Barbagia is a must for it has remained unchanged for centuries. In Barbagia it seems that time has stopped, perhaps because of the years of isolation that this central area of Sardinia has experienced. It was called Barbagia by the romans because they didn’t manage to conquer it and they didn’t understand the language, so, they called these people barbaros. This isolation has preserved local traditions, but, it has also generated diffidence and introversion in the Sardinian character. However, if you dare to take a second look and spend a bit of time to chat , in Barbagia, these walls will disappear. Eating at a large table and drinking a glass of good wine you will be surrounded by the Sardinia’s hospilitality and will end up listening to stories and ancient legends thousands of years old! Orgosolo is one of the most authentic villages you can find in Sardinia.
The village is famous for its feuds and its bandits and the legends connected with them , but also for the beautiful land and its magnificent murals.
Between 1901 and 1950 the village was averaging a murder every two months as rival families feuded over a disputed inheritance. In her book Colombi e sparvieri (Doves and Hawks), Grazia Deledda describes an effort to defuse the enmities that saw the virtual extermination of these two families. The most infamous son of this village is Graziano Mesina, known as ‘The Scarlet Rose’, Sardinia’s most notorious bandit who spent much of the 1960s earning himself a Robin Hood reputation by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.The violence has now largely died down and the town is attempting, with some success, to reinvent itself as an alternative tourist attraction thanks of the beautiful surrounding area.
You’ll find it all in Orgosolo: WWII, the creation of the atomic bomb, the miners strikes of the Iglesiente, the evils of capitalism, women’s liberation – the town is a giant canvas for emotionally-charged graffiti.The murals tell a story within the story, which combines the 1968 peasant revolts and the ancient agro pastoral tradition. It all started from the mural drawn on a wall of the village by the anarchist group ” Dionysus ” in a youth protest in 1969. In 1975 , the movement was revived by a teacher of northern called Italy Francesco Del Casino, who, after getting married, came to live in Orgosolo.
The styles vary wildly according to the artist; some are naturalistic, others are like cartoons and some, such as those on the Fotostudio Kikinu, are wonderfully reminiscent of Picasso. Like satirical caricatures, they depict all the big political events of the 20th and 21st centuries and vividly document the struggle of the underdog in the face of a powerful, and sometimes corrupt, establishment.The murals tell stories from near and far; the courage of the Orgosolo people during Pratobello events when men, women and children of Orgosolo opposed the construction of a military base in Pratobello, an area used for grazing cattle, or those depicting the war in Yugoslavia and the destruction of Sarajevo. Barbagia doesn’t just have history as nature is also importnant with it’s endless woods , old sheepfolds, smells of cistus and juniper , myrtle and thyme, the picturesque landscape of rocky cliffs , springs, flowers and rare species of plants and animals that lived for hundreds of years among these beautiful landscapes. All this and much more …. Barbagia.