Giulia, Orosei, the 80’s – by Francesco Porcu (first part)

Giulia, I think that’s the name of the song, the only word I understood anyway since the rest of the lyrics were incomprehensible as English was an unknown language to me.

The juke-boxe at the two bars at the Marina, beyond the canal that led to the Cedrino river, last obstacle before we could reach the shore, played it very loud on the beach. There was always somebody with some spare change; unfailingly they used to leave the table, forgetting for just one moment their ichnusa beer, and insert the fifty lire coin so that Giulia, after a long orchestra introduction which was a very common thing in the 80’s songs, would started again.

In those years Orosei didn’t even know what tourist reception was and while VIP and newly rich people assaulted the not-too-far Costa Smeralda, in this small village at the border with the still wild Barbagia, we stayed cautiously far from the vacationers confusion. People lived mostly out of fishing, agriculture and some livestock. The Cedrino Valley produced a lot of things, amongst the others I still remember the huge yellow peaches, juicy and very sweet. The few tourists around were mainly emigrants coming back to their Mother Land with their families and few Germans looking for new adventures, always hunting for unconventional itineraries.  We also ended up there by chance, driving along the coast on the Orientale Sarda after disembarking the ferry, with the intention to reach Tonara, my father’s village, at the feet of the Gennargentu mountain.

We discovered a town that like its name suggested, was really a golden place, still beautiful and wild and with an amazing sea. The village was far from the water: in the old ages the coast was dangerous, marauders and malaria were enemies to keep far and away. Orosei was separated from the Marina (at the time it was just a open space by the sea with two run-down kiosks,) by two long straight roads, which didn’t stop the shepherds from grazing their lazy cows down at the beach.

The coast seemed endless, not yet splitted by the harbors; it was a huge sandy sweep and during the clearest days one felt like he could embrace the entire Gulf of Orosei. There were very few bathers there and all kept a polite distance from each other. The patrons on the beach were all different; women with the traditional Sardinian costume and the shawl on their heads, men wearing boots and undershirts, laying flat with their big bellies on mattresses they brought from home, and far from where we were (unfortunate thing for a kid like me!) some perturbing nudist. During the weekends, people from the near-by towns used to invade the beach, above all, the young kids from Galtelli who reached Orosei riding in the back of old “Ape”. They used to organize unforgettable soccer games involving everybody around, playing the Italy-Germany final game over and over again, mindful of the world cup we had just won. They only stopped for the afternoon snack and one way or the other they were always able to move the other mothers to pity, so the Nutella marks went above and beyond their lips, sign that they scarfed down the sandwiches obtained with their tricks.


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