377: How the project was born

377: How the project was born

377 Project is an art project dedicated to Sardinia.

The artist is Sebastiano Dessanay, he will bike across every single town of Sardinia: 377 towns in 377 days.

The very start

It was about a year ago, I’ve got a call from Sebastiano, he was still in Uk at that time:

“Hi Simo, I’d like to do a bike tour across all towns of Sardinia”

Very good.

“I want to spend a day per each single village, so the whole tour will last 377 days, that’s the number of Sardinian towns”

Terrific!

“Well, I don’t just want ride across them by bike, I want to narrate them through my music”

Fantastic, marvelous, enchanting!!!

“Do you really think I’d be able to realize something like that?”

I’m telling you: you MUST do that!

A month later, during a friend’s wedding, the idea started to come to life.

“I’d need a decent bike”

That’s easy, the world is plenty of bicycles. But just in case you have problems, do you know how to fix a bike?

“Ehm…not really”

Well, this needs to be fixed 🙂

The very same day he had a proper touring bike, supplied by Sandro of Dolcevita and a scheduled bike mechanic class with our friends of Ciclofficina Sella del Diavolo. Many friends, little problems, as we say in Italy. We were the very first “sponsor” of this adventure. And very proud too 🙂

The idea becomes a project

It was spring, with Marcello and Sandro we met Sebastiano in Cagliari. He brought a large sheet of transparent paper, with the drawing of Sardinia’s map contour. On the map he appointed all names of Sardinian Villages without the roads. I had a map with me, by the way it was the exact scale of the one he used to draw the contour. We put his map over mine, and the four of us started dreaming like kids about the best roads from a village to the next. That time we’ve had the idea of a tour starting from his ancestor’s town, Nuoro, then ending in the capital of Sardinia, Cagliari.

We designed a tour covering the whole region like a spiral, leaving the coldest areas for the warmest months and the warmer southern coastline for the upcoming winter. We had few dinners since then, the pic was taken in my kitchen just two days before the official start.

Art is about giving

This project shows the whole dedication, planning and pragmatism of Sebastiano, he left his job and invested all his resources on this challenge. As simply as that. He’s creating a piece of art out of a bike tour. A project inspired as well to the beauty of Maria Lai art, since it really unites the communities of the Island.

Well, what I like the most of 377 Project is that Sebastiano is not just receiving hospitality, food, emotions, but he is truly giving back this piece of art to whole Sardinia.

From Vine to Wine: Emidio Oggianu a Sardinian winemaker

From Vine to Wine: Emidio Oggianu a Sardinian winemaker

Sardinia is not, among the Italian regions, the largest producer of wine, but here the culture of the vine and wine is an invaluable asset, intimately tied to our culture and our traditions. 

Emidio

The production of Malvasia di Bosa is emblematic,  one of the smallest but most awarded DOC in Italy, that has always contributed to the development of the wine sector of the island, and still continues to do so.

To tell about this fascinating culture, we introduce you a small-scale production of high quality wine, carried out with great love and sacrifice, just for the joy of preserving their own heritage. We visit the vineyard and the cellar of Emidio Oggianu, a passionate and lively man of eighty, who has dedicated his life to cultivate and pass on the ancient art of the production of this noble wine.

To understand the excellence achieved by the Malvasia, you have to know people like Mr. Emidio and the significance of the wine to the social context of this corner of Sardinia: a precious symbol of hospitality, traditional festivals and special occasions, where to donate relatives and friends a distillation of his affection for this land.

“Surely if we let more bunches of grapes in the plant and we passed less time in the vineyard and in the cellar would be much easier but certainly we will be less satisfied”

Emidio Oggianu

The vineyard is close to our Bosa-Santulussurgiu stage, but you can get there also with the loop tours starting from our bike hotels in the area:

 – Hotel Villa Asfodeli

 – Sporting Hotel Stella Maris

Characteristics of Emidio Oggianu Malvasia di Bosa DOC

Color: yellow gold

Aroma: bouquet long and dense, scents of privet and peach

Flavor: rich, smooth and full of personality. Even when consumed after years of bottling, it is never dry

Serving temperature: 18 ° C

Great sipping wine and dessert. It goes well with confectionery of almond, with foie gras and blue cheeses with long ripening or pecorino cheese at medium / long aging.

Media exam results of laboratory chemical / physical referring to the last eight years

 – Alcohol 17.13%
– Total acidity 5.03
– Dry extract 35.28
– Extract reduced 25.00

Meet the guides: Cristina Manca di Villahermosa

Meet the guides: Cristina Manca di Villahermosa

We keep on telling about real people that “make” the cycling tourism scene of Sardinia. Guides, hotel and restaurant owners, farmers, and leading figures of our island…people you are going to know on our tours. Today we meet Cristina, the classiest guide of the Island:)

Cristina

Mother of two, Francesco and Chiara, and of a third too, a lovely Dalmatian dog called Virgola (tr. comma).
I’m a flight assistant since 1991.
I live in Cagliari by the sea, on a top of a hill overlooking the whole “Golfo degli Angeli” bay.
I’m definitely related also to the more rural Sardinia, my family comes from Laconi, a village right at the heart of the Island, where my father manages the “Genna e Corte”, a marvelous agriturismo. All the area is surrounded by archaeological sites, like the Nuraghe itself located by our agriturismo named after it, and the mysterious “Menhirs” (big stones like the ones in Stonehenge), rising from the countryside.
One of my brothers is Jaime, and he’s the architect that completely restored the Genna e Corte, creating an oasis of charme in the heart of countryside and far from everything.

First steps as a guide

Some years ago I had a kind of sabbatical from my job as a flight assistant, so I started working in a cycling tourism company taking care of the logistics of the tours. Because I loved cycling, I had the desire to be “on the field”, so I started working as a co-guide too. After few tours I was given few tours as a tour leader, and from that moment my life has changed!

What bike represents to you?

Oxygen, light, recharge, energy, joy…bike gives me a perfect balance.
Sometimes the job on the planes can be stressful, so I found on the bike my Mantra, my connexion with universe. I love fast bikes, all my bikes are Cannondale, the mountain bike is the Flash, the road bike is the Six Evo. From time to time i like also racing, but mostly for being with friends and enjoy the final lunch!

A guest you would like to have here

Got it! He’s Hugo, an Australian with German mom and English dad, he’s in love with Europe, that he visits at least twice a year. I knew him on a road bike tour on the Dolomites, he likes also Tuscany and Costiera Amalfitana, but I’m sure he would love our island as much as those beautiful destinations.
Hugo, this is an official invitation to Sardinia!

A place you love, in Sardinia of course

For sure Laconi and our Agriturismo:)
But this is way too easy…but there’s a special place on my heart for the South-West Coast, starting from the wild Costa Verde, then the mining areas of Nebida and Buggerru, the islands of San Pietro and Sant’Antioco, till the astonishing southern coastal road, a never ending selection of little coves and long sandy beaches, with a perfect end in Pula, celebrating with an aperitivo in Piazza del Popolo!

Sardinia, in three things

Well…the fragrance of home made bread while crossing the small villages of the interior, a glass of fresh Vermentino during a warm evening in the summer, and the light of Cagliari during a day with mistral wind.
See you in my Island!

At Moreno’s vineyard, where Hospitality has home

At Moreno’s vineyard, where Hospitality has home

Hospitality, a recurring word on tourism manuals

It may look absurd, this is definitely misused by too many hotel chains, and people involved in hospitality sometimes are missing the deep meaning of this word.

Hospitality is something that can’t be planned, you need the will to open the door, to listen and enter the private dimension and experience of somebody else life.
Few days ago I’ve learned about hospitality more than on my 10 years working for a hotel chain. Where?

Moreno's vineyards

Come with me, I’ll tell you about Moreno and his family

At the big oak on the left, just before the junction to Jerzu, we head towards the countryside crossing the neat rows of a vineyard under beautiful fall colors.
Moreno welcomes us at the gate of his farm, he shakes our hands and pauses to know who you are, while preparing the barbecue. An enthusiastic and curious man, with thousand of skills and an iron will, a man that changed his life to live his own dream.
His house overlooks the valley, a great view point over the Ogliastra region, and introduces us to Ilaria, his wife, the other half of heaven.
They want to know the stories of those who came from the other side the world: Florida, Colorado, Vermont.
Ilaria is the great organizer of the hearth, and she must have an immense strength … for sure with 4 children !! The table is set, simple yet neat, and shows all the dishes they proudly prepared for us. By the way, the sweet and sour onions with honey are just to die for.
Meanwhile in the kitchen Mara, part of the family, is preparing the “culurgiones”, a local kind of Ravioli, stuffed with potato and mint.
She handles the dough and closes each culurgione by pinching it with the fingers, getting each time a perfect shape.
By her hands we see a tradition that has been passed down to her from the past, she manages this art and each Culurgione is a masterpiece. We would like to try, but no one asks Ilaria..she reads our minds and in a moment we have aprons and flour on our hands … of course the result is quite different from the masterpieces of Mara, but never mind, the atmosphere is magical.

A tavola!

We all are sitting at the table, chatting, tasting delicious food and listening about the life of Moreno and Ilaria and their wonderful children.

We talk Sardinian, American, Italian, and we “breathe” hospitality, that was woven during this day of November.
A walk along the rows of vines, while the children hide and steal few grapes, complete and concludes an unforgettable day in Jerzu with its magic atmosphere, a day that may change the perception towards hospitality, helping to grasp its true meaning.
It’s time to go back home with the promise to meet again, even if the ones who say it come from Vermont or Montana, because today is such a good day for everyone’s heart and life.[:]

I’m just a cook: Roberto Petza

I’m just a cook: Roberto Petza

This is Roberto Petza, and he defines himself as a cook, not as “Chef”.
This subtle difference describes him as a modest person that, thanks to his work and his team, really promotes Sardinia.
In a world that has too many Chef superstars , it’s a pleasure to meet somebody not bigheaded.
RobertoPetza_picc
He has a record of challenges and success, certified by the Michelin star award, but also by being known as a pioneer.
His last creation was the opening of S’Apposentu restaurant on the buildings of a former pasta manufacturing plant, in the small village of Siddi, located in the Marmilla region famous for agriculture and its excellent foods.
This choice, plus the exclusive use of local grown food, even from the restaurant vegetable garden, shows a business thats it’s totally integrated in the environment.
S’Apposentu it’s not jsut a restaurant, but a Temple of Taste, a place that teaches the cooking from professional chefs to cooking passionate, sharing a cuisine able to innovate yet respecting the sardinian traditions, never campy and always focused on conviviality.
This is a place not to miss!

It’s not just about cheese

It’s not just about cheese

Salvatore Porcu is a shepherd in Bosa, Sardinia, he keeps alive this tradition and ancient art that is a lifestyle, in spite of those who are now converted to simple farmers and milk producers.
As I said he’s a sheperd, and he does it a sa sarda (in Sardinian way): being so meticulous till the stubbornness, passionate and tireless, sometimes with uneconomic choices that seem incomprehensible and dictated by vagary, but the result returns the full sense of the whole.
Too often we (Sardinian people) forget it, but it’s all in this inclination, which sometimes looks anarchic, the excellence of the Sardinian tradition.
Salvatore Porcu
He divides his seasons between the two farms, one is Badde Orca in the mountains, and the other is located in Cape Marrargiu on the coast. Both are enchanting places exposed to the mistral, which are connected to each other by a short transhumance.
Accordingly with the work in the farm, he loves to share his knowledge with those who are discovering the roads of Sardinia. Last week, he has charmed a group of American cyclists, with the amazing ritual of tranforming milk into cheese. He brought the Labiolu (a huge couldron used to warm the milk) and all his tools,then he made for the guests two fresh pecorino cheese and ricotta, he had also delighted us with a mature cheese and a Casu Marzu, sardinian typical rotten pecorino cheese, in the charming garden of the Hotel Villa Asfodeli, of our dear friends Guglielmo and Maria Cristina.
Serata gourmet a Villa Asfodeli
Salvatore is a traditionalist, he still makes everything by hand, from milking till selling his own cheese, he selects the milk according to the different flowering and according to different pastures, and the “old flavor” cheese, as I said before, it returns all this care and dedication.

“If ever in 3000 years we do not have the memory of a death after eating cheese made traditionally, why we should have to adapt to the standards of the contemporary food industry, that kills more people than war? “
(Salvatore Porcu, Sardinian shepherd)