On our recent trip to Sardinia super-guide Paola Loi wanted us to meet sculptor Pinuccio Sciola, one of the most famous artists in Italy, let alone the island of Sardinia where he lives. His town of San Sperate is interesting in itself. You'll find it just north of Cagliari, and it's famous for murals and artworks waiting to be discovered on walls and piazze throughout the town. It's called the "Paese Museo" or Museum Village for its artistic features, according to the tourist bureau. Recent excavations date the first settlements around the town to the XVIII century BC.
It's also a place known for its non-political murals and...vegetables.
Pinuccio Sciola doesn't live in an isolated villa overlooking the sea. His house is modest and historic. It's just outside of a town noted for its murals. Between the sculpted rocks in his garden are orange trees (oranges are another of the things San Sperate is noted for) and flowers. He eats the flowers.
We took a drive from his house to his open air museum to hear him "play" his rocks. Or rather, he excited the rocks into giving up their sounds. We climb into his car and he takes off on a dirt road. Soon we are weaving amongst his amazing creations. He looks out the window, eyes something evidently important, and comes to a sudden stop.
"Come here," he says upon approaching a clump of borage in front of one of his singing sculptures. He snaps off a blue flower. "You can eat these! When the Japanese came, they had to take a picture of me eating the flowers; they thought I was quite odd. Here. You take a picture of me eating flowers!"
Pinuccio Sciola, for all his fame as a sculptor and artist, approaches life with humor and the wonderment of a child (as you should when you travel). He also finds soul in rocks and urges songs out of them, as you can see in the video below.
Oh, and if you go in Mid-July to the ten day Peach Festival, the village comes alive with exhibits and events, artist studios and communal buildings are open to the public, and the traditional costumes of the Campidano are worn during a religius ceremony.
San Sperate is just north of Cagliari, Sardinia's capital, and can make an interesting day trip.
Pinuccio Sciola with his colorful sculpture celebrating the famous fruits of San Sperate.
See San Sperate mural pictures in the Wandering Italy Blog: San Sperate.